Newly-opened in October 2020, the cosy 9-seater Japanese restaurant House of Chirashi is situated within the buzzy East Village mixed development at Simpang Bedok filled with interesting independent F&B concepts. Offering six sushi counter seats in front of the chef as well as three bench seats which look out into the corridor of the mall outside, House of Chirashi offers a variety of Chirashi, Bara and Donburi rice bowls, sushi and sashimi, appetisers, soups, luxurious chawanmushi options as well as seasonal specials.
My journey with House of Chirashi began with their Bara bowls. With edible flowers, flying fish roe, citrus peels, sakura ebi, fried fish skin and tamago blocks which bear the restaurant’s name in Kanji (日丼), their Bara bowls are obscenely gorgeous, vibrantly-coloured food kaleidoscopes to behold, and would not look out of place at an upscale Japanese joint like Fat Cow, Tatsuya or similar. The smorgasbord of textures from all those different ingredients in the bowl makes for a genuinely fun mouth feel experience, and the ratio of fish to rice is simply remarkable – you get the feeling that you are having a generously-portioned serving of sashimi topped with a smattering of rice rather than the other way round, with every spoonful likely to comprise two to three fat cubes of sashimi and just five grains of Hokkaido sushi rice. While many restaurants in Singapore tend to botch up the amount of sear applied which then lends to an unhappy balance between raw and cooked, the Aburi Bara Don plays its torch game with oil-slick finesse, while elsewhere the spicy-sweet Korean-style Spicy Bara Don plies a different type of sear, a lingering chilli padi-esque burn which never escalates to something that requires emergency dousing.
The aura of fine dining that comes through from the exquisite plating and presentation is likely attributable to local chef Kevin Wee’s past experience at Japanese restaurants Syun at Resorts World Sentosa as well as The Sushi Bar‘s upscale sister concept Kaunta. However, instead of the prices you might have paid at those restaurants, the entry bowls for each category are priced in a manner that, after having tried the bowls, truly beggar belief – the Chirashi Don costs $21.80, the Bara Don/Aburi Bara Don costs $16.80, the Spicy Bara Don is priced at $18.80 and the Aburi Salmon Don costs $10.80 (?!). I have never been so startled by the pricing of quality dishes since my first encounter with the Bara Chirashi Don from Omote all those years ago. For those who wish to take advantage of House of Chirashi’s attractive pricing strategies, their donburi bowl menu offers Salmon Don and Kajiki Don, both of which are available in torched form (aburi) at no extra charge. Mentaiko and cheese fetishists can choose from the Salmon Bara Cheese Mentai Don, Aburi Salmon Cheese Mentai Don and the Aburi Kajiki Cheese Mentai Don.
From the Chirashi selection, the entry Chirashi Don showcases a medley of seafood such as crab claw, prawn, eel, aburi salmon as well as as sashimi cuts of salmon, mekajiki (swordfish) and hamachi (amberjack) which possess the sort of pornographic thicknesses observed at The Sushi Bar and Chikuwatei and will likely efficiently stave off all sashimi cravings for at least one month. Featured in the Donburi menu, the Ohtoro Don is all silky folds of emperor-worthy, almost bovine-meaty ethereal oral pleasure. The Unagi Don provides fleshy, smoky eel pleasure with additional support from fried eel bones which play it all Marvel Comics ikan bilis with their superior crunch as well as sansho pepper which add a dash of citrusy, sour numbness to the proceedings. The richest and most indulgent bowl I had from House of Chirashi to date was their A5 Wagyu Don, an earthy and decadent feast for the senses featuring a star turn from incredibly buttery cuts of Miyazaki A5 wagyu.
While the entry Chirashi Don and Bara Don/Aburi Bara Don are undoubtedly the star attractions from their respective categories, the restaurant does offer an extensive range of more indulgent bowls which either showcase premium seafood (e.g. abalone, tuna belly, negitoro) and meat (e.g. Miyazaki or Hokkaido A5 Wagyu, Iberico black pork) or involve the addition of luxurious toppings such as truffle and foie gras. The rice bowls which are priced from $38.80 are listed below:
Hotate Foie Gras Chirashi Don
Truffle Bara Don
Akami Shoyu Zuke Don (marinated lean tuna)
Iberico Black Pork Foie Gras Chirashi Don
Unagi Anago Foie Gras Chirashi Don (sea eel and river eel)
Ohtoro Foie Gras Chirashi Don (torched fatty tuna belly)
Chu Ohtoro Don (medium fatty tuna belly)
Premium Bara Don (fresh truffle, sea urchin)
Premium Chirashi Don (fresh truffle, sea urchin)
Hokkaido Chirashi Don (abalone, oyster, botan ebi)
Negi Toro Don (chopped fatty tuna belly)
Ohtoro Don (fatty tuna belly)
Awabi Don (simmered abalone)
A5 Wagyu Don (Miyazaki or Hokkaido A5 Wagyu)
A5 Wagyu Foie Gras Chirashi Don (Miyazaki or Hokkaido A5 Wagyu)
Those seeking the ultimate indulgence can order their Signature Chirashi (S$160 for 2 pax/S$238 for 3 pax), a multi-tiered seafood extravaganza which showcases premium seasonal ingredients such as akami, chutoro, ohtoro, lobster, botan ebi, awabi, Murasaki and Bafun uni alongside Hokkaido uni rice, truffle rice, toro rice, sakura ebi rice and ikura rice as well as your choice from soup options such as tuna belly soup or lobster miso soup.
Naturally, the restaurant offers Sushi and Sashimi menus, with respective omakase experiences available from S$50 onwards. For those seeking a bit of izakaya nosh to go with their bowls, the appetiser selection comprises Kaki Yuzu Ponzu (oyster with citron sauce), Anago Hone (fried eel bone), Salmon Skin with Teriyaki Sauce, Horukiko Ama Ebi Karaage (deep fried pink shrimp), Ika Shiokara (marinated salted squid), Tatami Iwashi (grilled dried young sardine), Engawa Mentai Yaki (torched flounder fin, cod roe) and even Truffle Edamame (green bean with fresh truffle). The menu also offers clear and miso soup options – think Salmon Belly Miso Soup, Lobster Miso Soup and the dashi-tastic Tai Soup (sea bream).
House of Chirashi’s extensive Chawanmushi selection pairs the comforting savoury egg custard dish with each of the restaurant’s different premium ingredients (fresh truffle, uni, foie gras, ikura etc), but one should definitely go for the show-stopping, walking-with-legs-wide-apart Signature Chawanmushi, which has the chutzpah of an Ah Beng with a Rolex and modified sports car to feature each and every one of the above and, just to really impress upon you the cut of his jeans, adds gold dust, caviar and crab claw to the mix, just because. That being said, the Signature Chawanmushi is probably the most cost and portion-efficient way to enjoy the truffle, uni and foie gras combination that graces most of the upper-range bowls.
Beyond what is stated in the menu, House of Chirashi’s Facebook page is regularly updated with season specials available such as Taraba-gani King Crab, Amela Japanese Tomato and Inago Kanroni grasshoppers (?!).
Trying to land seats in this 9-seater space may present a Sudoku-level challenge, but the gustatory and value-clinched satisfaction hits you in so many unexpected ways. My visit(s) reminded me of my first ever visit to Omote at Thomson Plaza when it was in its earliest incarnation as a humble space within the ground floor food hall, and I do think that with some fine-tuning of their menu, House of Chirashi has much potential to emerge as one of 2020’s breakout stars if they play their cards right.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Japanese fine-dining chirashi bowls at wallet-friendly prices at East Village.
The must-orders (if any): Chirashi Don, A5 Wagyu Don, Ohtoro Don, Aburi Bara Don, Spicy Bara Don, Signature Chawanmushi.
House of Chirashi
430 Upper Changi Road