When most people think of Cuppage Plaza, it’s usually because of three things – Japanese-orientated KTV, massage and foot reflexology (FYI Sunrise on the 2nd floor is awesome) spots, and Japanese food.
Japanese is my favourite cuisine and I probably eat it at least twice a week. So when I moved to Orchard Road in Singapore, I set out to try every Japanese restaurant in Cuppage Plaza. And I’ve finally succeeded. All 7 Japanese outfits, and now it’s time to report on my findings.
Best All-Rounder – Shinjuku
This place is so consistently good and well-priced that I’ve eaten here thrice in the past month. With lunch sets going from $12 to $25 and a robust dinner menu offering great value, Shinjuku is a casual place great for an easy dinner. Their sashimi is fresh, the sake is cheap and the rest of their menu is fresh and tasty. I particularly like their dashimaki tamago and deep friend dishes. Expect to pay between $30-50 per person for a filling dinner. For a more debaucherous sake-filled night with friends, we recommend calling ahead to book their private room!
Shinjuku is located at #01-01/02, Cuppage Plaza, 228796. Call 6734 8436 to book. Open Monday-Saturday 12pm-2.30pm and 6pm-1am, Sundays 6pm-11pm.
Best for Date Night – Hanashizuku Japanese Cuisine
The slick and classy decor actually deterred my partner and I the first few times we visited Cuppage as we’re usually a little scruffy when out for our weekly sushi-massage date night. However, when we finally bit the bullet and walked through the doors, we were greeted by warm smiles and an inviting atmosphere. The 10 seats at the counter are superb. With luxurious and comfortable leather armchairs, these are the best seats in the house.
With a slightly more contemporary menu, you’ll find that certain items such as ikura, salmon avocado rolls listed alongside classic sashimi moriawase, deep fried dishes and some excellent salads. What really surprised me about Hanashizuku is that the pricing is actually incredibly affordable considering the posh atmosphere and 5-star service. Great experience overall.
Hanashizuku is located at #02-01 Cuppage Plaza, 228796. Call 6733 7498 for bookings. Open Monday – Saturday: 6pm-12am. Closed Sundays.
Best for Casual Dinners – Izakaya Nijimaru
Sitting in Izakaya Nijimaru reminds me of my trips to Japan on a budget, where I have found myself eating in a cheap yet delicious eatery with a menu entirely in Japanese, full of surprises and new tastes. This place is easily the most casual on the list.
During the day, it’s filled with office workers from around the area taking advantage of its quick service, tasty food, and cheap meals. Nights are quieter, and while it might be lacking in terms of atmosphere, the minimalist feel is clearly what they’re going for and they totally make it work. Expect to pay about $20-30 for a good meal here. Their raw fish is alright; you’re having their yakitori or nabeyaki soups filled with udon or soba. Yum!
Izakaya Nijimaru is located at #02-10, Cuppage Plaza. Call 6235 6693 to book. Open Monday – Saturday: 12pm – 2.30pm & 6pm-10pm. Open Sunday 6pm-10pm.
Best Omakase – Kaiho Sushi
This was the destination of my first ever dining experience at Cuppage Plaza. Although not from Japan, Chef Bernand Tang has a very loyal Singaporean and Japanese clientele, and with good reason. Having dined there four or five times over the past two years, I was impressed with Kaiho’s consistently good food, high quality ingredients, and creative menu. The degustation menu for $100 is well worth it. I personally like sitting at the sushi counter. As you’d guess from the name, sashimi and sushi is the main draw here. Be sure to check it out over lunch as the sets are very well priced and quite generous!
Kaiho Sushi located at #03-01/02 Cuppage Plaza and opens Tuesday – Sunday: 12pm-2.30pm & 6.30pm-11pm. Call 9734 9822 to make a reservation.
Best Shabu Shabu – Azmaya Honten
Whatever you do, don’t bring a vegetarian here. The meat (particularly the BBQ pork and their signature Shabu Shabu) wafts through the entire restaurant. This eatery occupies almost an entire side of Cuppage making it the largest Japanese restaurant in the building. With that said, its convival atmosphere is perfect for large, loud groups – think afterwork dinner drinks or Saturday nights out.
Azmaya Honten is open daily from 6pm – 4am and is located at #03-24/25/26/27/28/29, Cuppage Plaza.
Best Sushi – Marui Sushi
In terms of overall taste and experience, Shinjuku and Marui Sushi take the top spots and are the ones I frequent the most. Marui’s sushi is in my opinion not only the best quality to be found at Cuppage but also offers the best value with Chef Katayama offering his sashimi moriawase (which is very generous and included fatty tuna!) for only $38. Aside from that, I love the atmosphere here. There’s counter seating of 5 spots and otherwise only 2-3 other small tables. It’s a small, intimate and very Japanese restaurant in every sense.
Aside from his sushi, Chef Katayama’s grilled fish is also well worth ordering, for example his fresh airflown Kinki fish from Hokkaido is just sensational. Tender and rammed full of flavour. Great place to eat if you’re hankering for some seriously authentic Japanese tabemono.
Marui Sushi is located at #04-01 Cuppage Plaza. Call 6738 6048 to make a reservation. Opening hours are Monday – Friday: 6pm-10pm Mon – Saturday: 6.30pm – 10.30pm. Closed Sundays.
Best Contemporary Japanese – Kazu Sumiyaki
Truth be told, as a non-meat eater (since 2015), your options as a vegetarian here are quite limited. Specialising in charcoal grill, pull up a chair at the counter and enjoy the rich aromas dispersing from the open kitchen in front of you. Be sure to try the foie gras yakitori and okonomiyaki balls! Delicious.
Kazu Sumiyaki is located at #04-05, Cuppage Plaza. Open daily 6pm-10pm. Reservations are recommended at 6734 2492 as they get very crowded after 7pm.
Still craving Japanese food? Check out our list of the best 15 Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Although with all these new discoveries, it might already need some updating!