Nanbantei has been around for 30 years and the only reason why a place is going to survive that long is because it knows what it does and is great at it. Take the escalator all the way up to the 5th floor and you walk right into the wooden, dimly lit restaurant.
We made reservations for lunch (make reservations, especially for dinner! I’ve heard about how packed it can get). I love sitting at the counter and watching the chefs in action. I learned a couple of things: this place has really good ventilation, none of the smoke gets on to you/ in your face. These are salted extremely liberally. The sauce is also so tasty because of the numerous times sticks of meat and flavourful things are dipped into it.
90% of the people around us were having the Nanbantei Lunch Set ($13.50). Comes with 5 skewers, rice with toppings, miso soup and dessert. Dessert was red beans with mochi, which was a delightful end to the meal.
We commented how the rice reminded us a bit like bak chor mee, with the braised mushrooms and sweet minced pork bits. It was nice though, a gentle contrast with the salty sticks.
I love how colourful this looks! I’m also a fan of bentos because everything is set out sooo neatly. The set comes with quail egg, chicken balls, chicken and leek, asparagus wrapped in pork, and pork with shiso leaf. Loved everything! So superbly charred on the outside but still oozing out juices with every bite. Like the pork: thinly sliced, grilled till crisp, and encasing a soft, sweet bit of asparagus. Better than bacon if you ask me.Chicken balls had crunch from the cartilage, slightly bouncy and smelt of sesame. The shiso leaf lifted the flavours of the pork and made this light, citrusy and with the benefit of a fragrance almost like basil. Funny what herbs do to your dishes. My only gripe was that the sticks weren’t piping hot when they arrived. Oh, and that there wasn’t more.
But I’m not complaining, I’ll definitely be back if I want more yakitori. I remember how I was so happy having sticks of Tori-Q as a kid. This is the grown up’s choice!
Far East Plaza, Singapore
Tel: +65 6733 5666/ +65 6738 7470
12:00-14:30 (last order 14:15)
18:00-22:30 (last order 22:15)