Robatayaki in Singapore is often hailed as one of the more expensive types of Japanese meals. So imagine my surprise when I chanced upon an affordable robatayaki restaurant located at B1 of Plaza Singapura.
Let’s Meat Up specialises in robatayaki, which literally translates to “fireside-cooking”. Expect a selection of skewered meats here, slow-grilled over hot charcoal.
Besides skewers of meats and vegetables, Let’s Meat Up also serves side dishes like soup, salads and light snacks.
There are eight starters listed on the menu and each one is great to share. What’s interesting too is that almost all of the dishes come served with a homemade sauce on the side.
While I was initially skeptical of the idea of having so many dips, I have to admit that a few really paired very well with the flavours and I then couldn’t imagine having the dishes without them.
For starters, we had the Cheesy Pork Fries ($6.80), a twist on the usual cheese fries. It was a messy affair as we dug into the fries from the bottom up.
Each mouthful was sinfully filled with the creaminess of the cheese alongside chunky bits of the pork ragout and boy, was it worth it.
If like us you can’t get enough of fries, order the Sweet Potato Fries ($4.80) as another starter. The fries were interestingly dusted with sour plum powder, which really brought out the sweetness of the sweet potato, contrasted against the sourness from the seasoning.
Gyoza disguised as spring rolls? You’ll probably only find them here.
The Pulled Chicken & Vegetables Gyoza ($6.80) were like flat dumplings, pan fried on both sides and delicious when dipped into the accompanying soy sauce. We would have preferred more filling inside but other than that, the contents were moist and tasty.
A testament to the good quality of the batter used is when the coating still remains crispy even after the dish has been left out for a while.
The Crunchy Mushrooms ($5.80) were fried to a golden crisp stack and remained that way throughout our incessant photo-taking. The best part was that it came with a truffle goma (or sesame) sauce that made it even tastier.
We also had The Bacon & Quail Egg Skewers ($6.80) which were a steal! Two skewers of three quail eggs came served with grilled leeks stuffed in between.
Something like this would cost much more in other restaurants but here there was no compromise on quality and quantity. You can choose to dip the skewers in the homemade miso sauce, which had a smooth and sweet texture.
Chilled Cabbage Salad ($5.80) might seem like a very simple dish, but I assure you that the taste was no disappointment. Cabbage by itself is pretty tasteless, so this dish was all about the condiments.
Squeeze some lemon juice over the cabbage and dip it into the Yasai Miso. The different flavours came together so perfectly, and transformed this simple cabbage dish into one of the highlights for us.
We were getting full from the starters but there was no way we were going to leave without trying the mains. The Pulled Pork ($10.80) is a Power Bun set. A generous amount of pulled pork, cranberry coleslaw and melted cheese sauce came sandwiched between two fried mantou buns.
This was an excellent dish and I loved the buns for their crunchy exterior and departure from the usual burger buns. The pulled pork was moist but could have been more tender, while the coleslaw was a refreshing accompaniment to the meaty burger.
Served with a portion of fries, greens and orange salad, this would certainly fill you up.
You can also choose between rice or soba as carbs to be paired with your choice of protein. The prices may differ slightly depending on what the combination of your choice is.
Some grilled items worth mentioning are the Shioyaki Chicken Mid Wings (Rice $10.80, Soba $11.80) and Char Grilled Fresh Salmon (Rice $14.80, Soba $15.80).
How about trying the Grilled Boneless Chicken Leg (Rice $9.80, Soba $10.80)? The teriyaki-marinated chicken was grilled to perfection such that the chicken skin retained its crispiness, while the meat was tender and succulent.
The soba was topped with furikake for extra flavour and you can even add a Sunny Side Up Egg ($1.50).
The BBQ Wagyu Beef Minute Steak (Rice $14.80, Soba $15.80) is another must-try. At only $14.80, the portion was quite generous, with a sizeable medium-well steak and a heap of soba noodles.
Both the rice and soba are also imported from Japan, so the quality is really not compromised even with the affordable price tag.
If you choose soba as the carb, the sides that come with it include pickled vegetables and truffle-infused tofu. Opting for rice on the other hand, will get you coleslaw and orange salad instead.
Do leave some space for desserts! The Sweet Potato ($6.80) arrived in a sizzling pan, layered with grilled Japanese sweet potato, a scoop of coconut ice cream and chopped nuts.
The sweet potato was cooked to the right texture; perfectly soft and ‘fluffy’. Even after the heavy meal, the dessert really hit the spot.
Let’s Meat Up is a great place to head to for a quality meal at pocket-friendly prices. It can get really crowded during meal times though, so you might want to arrive extra early for lunch or before 8pm for dinner.
Expected damage: $10 – $20 per pax