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Saturday, January 31, 2009
Himawari Japanese Restaurant
991 Alexandra Road, Blk 4
After reading some rather good reviews about this place, I decided to bring my family here to celebrate my mom's coming birthday. Himawari was featured in Channel 8's "Buffet Buffet" variety show some time ago but I didn't manage to catch the show as I was in New Zealand. A real pity!
Of course, I've done my research online before deciding on the place. Given the variety of food, I think that the buffet price of $34.80++ per person (weekend lunch) is quite reasonable. One thing I didn't like was the laminated menu which looked cheap and unprofessional.
One strategy I always practise when eating buffet is not to waste my calories on any other food beforehand. With a growling stomach, I started ordering and soon, our table was laden with plates and plates of tantalising food! First off, my favourite edamame! These were steamed so long that they were real easy to pop. They were so addictive that I had several orders of them!
I started liking wakame (seaweed) after tasting it at The Auckland Food Show in New Zealand. Then, I had it again at the famous Sydney Fish Market. Finally, I got to try it in Singapore! This was very well seasoned and so healthy that I didn't feel guilty ordering it thrice. However, I didn't like the kurage (jellyfish) which was seasoned with an overdose of vinegar.
The ubiquitous chawanmushi was silky smooth but a little too bland. I like the gingko nut embedded at the bottom of the egg custard.
Oh my, the salmon sashimi was so fresh that we had more than 4 servings of it! The fish was perfectly sliced and the thickness was just right. I'm craving for this even as I'm writing this! Unfortunately, I can't say the same for the tuna sashimi. It was so bad that I couldn't bear to swallow it and had to spit it out. Word of advice: just stick to the salmon sashimi!
The agedashi tofu was ordinary and nothing special.
Another unexpected star was the deep fried squid legs. They were crispy and well seasoned. These could be very addictive!
The sanma shioyaki took a long time to be prepared. But the wait was worth it as the salt grilled pacific saury retained much of its natural juice and flavour.
My parents ordered the common teriyaki chicken which I didn't try.
Another dish I didn't try was the chicken yakitori which my parents and sis liked more than the previous teriyaki chicken.
The ebi tempura was rather disappointing. The batter was light and crispy enough but the prawns used were so small and slim that they were overwhelmed by the batter.
The seafood harumaki (left) were filled with chopped squids and prawns. Not too oily, these were quite good with a nice bite to them. I didn't try the gyoza on the right though.
Like the sanma, the saba was prepared shioyaki-style to retain its natural juiciness. The oily, off-white flesh of the mackerel tasted strongly of the sea!
The buffet also offered shabu shabu and sukiyaki. We had the sukiyaki which consisted of white cabbage, tofu, carrots, mushrooms and spring onions. The broth was extremely sweet (in a good way) and tasty!
The family chose beef slices to go into the sukiyaki.
It was so amusing to see my family trying the grilled shishamo (pregnant fish) for the first time. Especially my mom, who was quite freaked out at the idea of eating so many pale yellow fish eggs at one go. These were delicious!
The soft shelled was average tasting but a tad too skinny to my liking. On the other hand, all of us loved the pumpkin croquettes which were packed with sweet pumpkin!
Like all the other fish dishes, the teriyaki gindara (cod fish) was fresh and cooked just right.
Another highlight for me was the unagi! I don't understand why the rest of the family don't seem to like it as much as I do. I can never say no to unagi and I think I ate a whole long eel that day!
I always think that California rolls are not "real" sushi since they are not normally found in any sushi restaurants in Japan or in recipe books for Japanese cooking. As such, I would never order or eat them voluntarily.
The teriyaki salmon which was slightly overcooked so the flesh was a little tough.
The buffet does not include any desserts which was a shame as it would be nice to have something sweet to balance out the savoury food at the end of the meal. Nevertheless, I think that the quality of food was surprisingly good for a buffet. Service was also excellent and the staff were attentive. I would definitely recommend this place to anyone who loves Japanese food!
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