Santaro Japanese Restaurant was one of the ‘untouchable’ Japanese restaurants – those you wouldn’t dream of stepping into for fear of ripping your wallet open. Today, they proved their point to me – at a costly price, no less. After spotting a Groupon deal for the Amara outlet, my girlfriends and I snapped up two $30-for-$60 vouchers for our birthday girl’s dinner treat. Apparently, what I learnt was that $60 wouldn’t buy you anything more than a sushi platter.
The sushi platter (S$50) was… foreign-looking. Apart from the Ebi (prawn) sushi and the Sake (salmon) sushi, I couldn’t recognize anything else, like the various sorts of white fish we were served. The Maguro (tuna) was slimy-looking and far too red to be true. And if you hate your sushi withwasabi, then it’s advisable to ask the chef to do without it, because there’s about too much in each piece. What was most disappointing was that the sushi rice disintegrated so easily, and the rice grains were less than fragrant.
Inaniwa Udon ($12) was probably the more palatable of the lot we had tonight. This udon differs from the usual udon you get at other Japanese restaurants, in the sense that it’s flat and thinner, and has a much more slippery texture. Apart from the mochi mochi texture of the noodle, nothing else was particularly memorable about this main course.
I’ll do an estimation of each piece of cod on the plate for my readers – simply open your palm and half it. Besides, no one bothered to explain to us what three flavours the cod came in – were we supposed to play the guessing game?
If you read the chinese print on the menu, it’s translated as ‘seafood and tofu cooked in clear soup’. Now, can you see the seafood? Or is your definition of ‘seafood’ a small graft of tasteless cod? After realizing that this pot costs $18, I guess I’m better off with yong tau foo at the hawker centre near my home. I could buy 6 bowls of yong tau foo with that money.
If you wanna eat teriyaki chicken cutlet, try ToriQ. They probably make a more palatable-looking yakitori than this. I haven’t tasted this, but if you’re going to visit Santaro just to eat this, I’d advise you to just skip it all.
Conclusion: From the perspective of someone who’s tasted really good Japanese fare and experienced Japanese hospitality, this still has a long way to go, despite its location at the Amara and the hefty prices. I wouldn’t go back there again, until the next time I chance upon a positive review of this restaurant.
Location: 165 Tanjong Pagar Road, #02-26 Amara Hotel Singapore