Aburi sushi at sen-ryo

If you ever want to walk into a luxurious Japanese restaurant without having to burn a hole in your wallet, I’ve got just the place for you.

Hailing from Japan, sen-ryo is opening its first outlet in Singapore at ION Orchard, serving nigiri sushi, sashimi and bentos.

Don’t let its daunting disguise fool you (this statement is only applicable to the bourgeoisie). Sen-ryo was originally a kaiten (conveyor belt) sushi chain from Tochigi, Japan. Over time, it was transformed into a cavern with communal and private dining rooms, a sushi and robatayaki-style counter, and a sake bar. ‘Robata’ is short for ‘robatayaki’, which translates to fireside cooking.

You can spend anywhere between $30 to $80. But if you’re on a budget, head down during lunch for sen-ryo’s affordable lunch sets.

Set lunches from $15.9

The price goes as low as $15.9 for their Tori Nanban Set and $18.9 for the Unajyu Set.

If you’re a fan of nigiri sushi, you can opt for the sen-ryo Sushi Set ($20) for assorted sushi such akami (tuna), sake (salmon) and hotate (scallop); the classics. It also comes with a side of croquette, chilled zaru inaniwa udon and tomato salad.

The udon is the star of the set. Originated from the Akita prefecture, it is a flat-shaped udon with a silky smooth texture.

To indulge in their seasonal fishes and prized cuts, opt for the Deluxe Sushi Set ($30.5) instead. And if you’re really willing to splurge, the Deluxe Sashimi Set ($42) comes with eight types of sashimi including chutoro (tuna belly) and uni (sea urchin).

We got the Assorted Aburi Sushi Set ($18.8) which comes with aburi hotate, sake, unagi (eel), akaebi (Argentine red shrimp) with a side of chilled zaru inaniwa udon, tomato salad, croquette and ebi fry maki.

Searing the fish was supposed to add a layer of texture and flavour, marinating the buttery flavour of sashimi with the smokey essence of a grilled fish.

While the sushi was pleasant, the aburi did little to enhance the fish.

Sen-Ryo special bento 

For $29.5, the sen-ryo Special Bento consists of nine of their best dishes: croquette, grilled fish, tamago, akami, suzuki (sea bass), sake and chutoro sashimi, calamari, warabi mochi, ebi fry maki, croquette, and tofu with sesame sauce. It’s also paired with a large bowl of rice with a measly topping of thinly sliced cucumbers, fried eggs and fish roe, salad and miso soup.

While the price is justifiable, with the precious slice of chutoro in the middle of the nine-grid tray, I personally feel that the other sets might be a more worthy choice. Regardless, let’s just skim through a short review of the dishes.

Surprisingly, the best dish there wasn’t the chutoro. Don’t get me wrong. It was an above-average piece of chutoro for the price you’re paying. You can’t compare them with omakase restaurants that start from $100. However, they’re definitely better than other conveyor belt restaurants in Singapore.

And did I mention sen-ryo gets fresh fish from Toyosu Fish Market twice a week?

Instead, the best item on the platter was their tempura. The ebi tasted like the ocean and the salty nuances paired well with the semi-buttery, oily fragrance of the batter that flaked apart in my mouth with a satisfying crunch.

The sweet potato croquette was also fried perfectly. A light coating of batter that was just as aromatic as the tempura, with a generous portion of filling. 

Meanwhile, the dishes that fell short were the grilled fish, which had a too firm of a texture and the warabi mochi, which was way too soft and had an excessive amount of kinako (nut powder) that yanked out dreadful memories of the cinnamon challenge.

Verdict

I have this weird principle where I would either eat dirt-cheap sushi (those that go as low as $0.5) or higher-end restaurants such as Shinzo Japanese Cuisine because the prices of the middle-end establishments aren’t always justifiable for the quality they’re serving.

It’s really a hit or miss. But sen-ryo has earned a special spot in my heart. The food itself is high quality and it’s a bigger steal if you factor in the luxurious ambience. We’ve actually only dined at their bar counter because we couldn’t make a reservation. But even that was a great dining experience.

They’re currently fully reserved until 16 May 2021 as of now. But you can still be placed on a waiting list if you walk in. The waiting time was 30 minutes on a weekday noon, which honestly wasn’t too bad.

sen-ryo

Location: 2 Orchard Turn, #03-14, Singapore 238801
Tel:
+656974 6782
Opening hours:
11am- 10pm

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