Last Updated: April 16, 2018
Situated on the third floor of Fortune Centre, you’d hardly expect to find a bustling lunchtime queue snaking around the corner, leading up to Japanese Curry Express. They started about five years ago, serving up delicious and affordable sushi rolls, sashimi and rice bowls.
One wouldn’t expect much from a unassuming family-run restaurant located in a dingy old shopping centre, but trust me, the food is superb. So good that we could wait out the long queue, and overlook the fact that we were perched on stools at a foldable table outside a couple of shops, away from the actual dining area.
I couldn’t contain my glee when the Chawanmushi ($13) arrived at our table. It came in a large bowl, similar to the kind that Japanese dons use. The steamed egg dish was drizzled with chilli oil, and topped off with a generous heap of bright tobiko.
I had to be careful not to burn myself while slurping up all that eggy goodness– the steamed egg custard had a smooth, velvety consistency and was flavoured very well, with the chilli oil adding just a hint of heat. I was also surprised to see that it also contained a variety of fillings, including scallops, crunchy prawns and chicken.
Never in my life have I seen such thick slices of Salmon Sashimi ($9.50 for 5 slices) before, and would have never expected it from a place like this either. The glistening sashimi was slathered with soy sauce and tasted super fresh.
What I loved most was how meaty each slice was, and there was indeed something almost primal about sinking your teeth into such a huge slab of salmon. I wish the wasabi had more of a nose-burning kick to it to cut through the jelak feeling after a couple of bites.
One of the best sellers on the menu, the Ebi Mango Maki ($11) was a sight to behold with a taste and price point that rivalled that of a famous sushi chain in Singapore.
The sushi roll was filled with crunchy fried prawns, topped off with succulent slivers of rainbow mango and dressed with a dollop of tobiko and mayo. The combination worked extremely well, with the fruity flavours complementing the prawns.
I used to order it back in my schooling days, and what impressed me was how generous the toppings still are, and the standard didn’t drop at all taste-wise. Needless to say, it’s an obvious choice who won.
Our last dish was the Mentai Salmon Bowl ($14, upsized portion), which was a delight down to the last bite. We had to be careful not to burn ourselves at the edge of the bowl as it was still hot from the heat of the blow torch.
That aside though, the salmon slices were perfectly seared on the outside, and still had a raw underside. The mentaiko sauce was nicely charred and smoky, I just wished that they spread it more evenly so it covered the entirety of the salmon slices.
All in all, Japanese Curry Express serves up food of quality standard at affordable prices. Their sushi rolls and Mentaiko Salmon Don are must-tries when you are here, and don’t miss out on the impressively massive Chawanmushi that is served only during their dinner service.
Large crowds can be expected during the peak lunch hours but I can assure you that it is well worth the wait!
I was delightfully surprised to realise that the standard of their food and quality has not dropped at all since my last visit 3 years ago. They say that food evokes memory, and my recent visit to Japanese Curry Express has definitely brought about a blissful sense of nostalgia for the good ol’ days spent hanging out at this place with my classmates over great food.
Expected Damage: $8 – 12 per pax