A badass izakaya in the basement
Fans of Japanese cuisine, you’re in luck – there’s a new izakaya in town just 2 minutes away from Telok Ayer MRT, and it’s not just any izakaya. Opened by the same folks behind the popular bars Sum Yi Tai, Mona Lounge, and Eliza, Chi Kinjo is just as impressive in terms of decor and food offerings, and also connected to them via a mysterious tale that’s set in old-school Kyoto when “chaos was the mandate and danger was foretold”.
A bold feature wall made out of Japanese canned fish. Source: @marietangxl
Boasting flashy Japanese-inspired decor and an underground bar hidden in the basement, diners can expect refreshing spins on traditional Japanese dishes by Head Chef Lamley Chua, who used to work in the kitchens of Michelin Star restaurants such as LP+Tetsu.
80’s Spicy Tuna Roll ($16) a popular dish in the 70’s with a modern sprinkle of bonito flakes. Source: @life_as_chikinjo
Serving everything from starters and hot small plates to maki, aburi nigiri, and hot big plates, some of the menu’s unique items include the homemade Ming Dynasty Egg Tofu ($12) with crab, Crab Kimchi Mung Bean Pancake ($16), and Truffle Scallop Aburi Nigiri ($12 for 2 pieces).
Smoked Wagyu Steak. Source: @justinfoodprints
Other recommended highlights are the Smoked Wagyu Steak ($28), a value-for-money sharing plate with wagyu steak drizzled with charcoal oil and black garlic onion cream for a stronger and more addictive smoky aftertaste, and the Crouching Tiger Roll ($20), which incorporates 3 different types of prawns – a crunchy tempura prawn centre, steamed tiger prawns exterior, and a pinch of sakura ebi for added crunch.
Crouching Tiger Roll. Source: @life_as_chijinko
Food aside, Chi Kinjo’s underground bar is a highball den, and those bored of the usual cocktail selections can opt for interesting concoctions like Sweet Pear & Rosemary ($16), Shiso Watermelon ($14), and Blackcurrant Oolong ($14).