Kaiyo Sushi and Grill – Excellent Japanese fare in a Serangoon neighbourhood

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Kaiyo Sushi and Grill – Excellent Japanese fare in a Serangoon neighbourhood

Kaiyo Sushi and Grill – Excellent Japanese fare in a Serangoon neighbourhood

Kaiyo Sushi and Grill – Excellent Japanese fare in a Serangoon neighbourhood

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Kaiyo Sushi and Grill

#13 Teck Chye Terrace

Kaiyo Sushi and Grill sits at the edge of Teck Chye Terrace, less than a 10-minute walk from Serangoon MRT station.

Kaiyo Sushi and Grill is an under-the-radar authentic Japanese restaurant, helmed by head chef Long-san, who has more than 30 years of cooking experience just in Japanese cuisine! Being a stand-alone establishment, Kaiyo offers dishes with recipes and cooking techniques that sets them apart from the crowd of other chain restaurants.  

We tried a few signatures: Tempura Seiro Set, Spicy Salmon Ikura Mentai Roll, Kaiyo Chirashi and Iberico Pork Collar with Yuzu Miso, and were blown away by how good the food was.

kaiyo sushi and grill

Let’s discuss the sharing starters: first up is the Spicy Salmon Ikura Mentai Roll ($21). This sushi roll is a thoughtful dish, with fried salmon skin and cucumber added for crunch. It’s covered by thickly cut pieces of salmon sashimi and spicy mentaiko sauce, torched to aburi perfection and topped off with ikura.

The salmon roll is actually quite a sizable portion, so it is value for money. 

One thing I want to highlight in particular is the ikura here. I’ve never been a fan of ikura because it usually has a prominent fishy taste. As usual, I was hesitant to try the ikura, but Kaiyo’s ikura is lightly treated with shoyu and they somehow managed to eliminate the piscine odour! The resultant is little pops of mildly savoury, seafood goodness which elevates the texture and aroma of the dish.

kaiyo sushi and grill

We also tried the Iberico Pork Collar with Yuzu Miso ($20). I had high hopes for this dish, but it was not my favourite. It lacked the charred fragrance and slight crispiness, the latter only noticeable on the very edges. The pork, probably marinated in a soy sauce base, was generally chewy. Finally, I did not like how the yuzu miso sauce overpowered the flavour of the meat; to me this largely defeated the purpose of using Iberico pork in the first place.

Now, let's move on to the mains which I am much more excited about! 

kaiyo sushi and grill

We tried the Tempura Seiro Set ($23), which consists of a bed of rice steamed in a bamboo seiro tray, topped off with assorted vegetable and shrimp tempura. At first glance, the dish looks rather typical and I thought the tempura dipping sauce was missing, and even asked the staff about it! They kindly explained that the tempura seiro is drizzled with their house made signature sauce instead (not that dipping sauce can still be requested).

The prawn tempura is a notch above the rest, with the prawns firm and sweet. The pumpkin and eggplants were a tad too hard and oily respectively though. While the tempura was nothing out of the norm, it was easily redeemed by the unassuming dark sauce drizzle, which is savoury with a deep caramel flavour. Compared to tempura dips which sometimes barely has any flavour, this sauce packs umami in every bite without discounting the taste and crispiness of the various tempura. 

The rice is the true ace of Kaiyo’s seiro sets. Digging in, you can expect tender braised mushroom slices atop round, pearly Hokkaido rice, tinged brown from being lightly seasoned. The Hokkaido rice has a natural sweetness and has absorbed a light bamboo fragrance after steaming in the seiro. The rice is also cooked to al dente perfection, making it even more enjoyable to savour every bite. It’s good enough to eat on its own! 

kaiyo sushi and grill

The final dish we tried is their namesake Kaiyo Chirashi ($26). It features different cuts of sashimi and a generous dollop of ikura over a bed of sushi rice. The sashimi cuts are thick and fresh; the yellowtail is crisp and the salmon (my favourite!) is buttery-rich.

kaiyo sushi and grill

I like how it comes with juicy tamago slices that are just a tad sweet, edible leaves and pickled plum bits to zing up the rice bowl. Ikura in here is once again excellent without the fishy tang (I enjoyed it so much I scoured the bowl for every sac!).

On the whole, it was a great experience at Kaiyo Sushi and Grill. With price tags probably only a few dollars above mainstream or chain Japanese restaurants, I’d say it’s worth a try.

I’ll definitely be back for the seiro some day! 

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