The Cathay’s newest addition to its eateries, The Bettership, serves up fresh sashimi “boat” dons that not only look Instagrammable, but also hits the spot if you’re craving for delicious and affordable Japanese food.
The place looks seemingly normal on the outside, but if you look closer, the entire wooden bar counter is in the shape of a ship, with the cashier at the bow and the kitchen counter in the centre.
My dining partner and I took a seat near the section where the sashimi was prepared, and it was close enough that we got to chat with the owner, Shaun, who was walking us through the ingredients as he assembled our first dish.
The friendly staff served up our drinks while we waited, a Momo Calpis ($6) for my dining partner and a Melon Cream Soda ($5) for me.
The peach flavoured Calpis drink was topped off with canned peach slices, and was my favourite, as it had enough tartness and wasn’t too sweet. In contrary, my dining partner enjoyed my melon soda more because of its fizziness and authenticity to its melon taste.
The first dish we had was the Kaisen Don ($17.90) that came artistically arranged on a pretty wooden boat bowl, the very vessel that inspired the shop’s name and main counter design.
It came with thick slices of Norwegian salmon, tuna, swordfish, yellowtail and scallop, topped off with kizami nori (shredded seaweed) and tobiko. A fluffy bed of Japanese rice was hidden beneath the raw fish, and the don was finished off with seasoned jellyfish, sweet tofu skin, tamago and ginger.
I’d say this bowl is not only a delight to look at, but you also get to taste an array of fresh sashimi and side dishes, which is super worth it, in my opinion. It isn’t easy to find great swordfish sashimi around, but I particularly loved the swordfish in this dish as it was fatty and had a wonderful fibrous texture.
The Burnt Mentaiko Salmon Don ($13.90) was a favourite between my dining partner and I. Sitting next to the preparation counter also meant we had the best seats in the house to witness the flame searing of the salmon and the mentaiko topping.
We were in for a surprise when we dug in, to discover that there was also an onsen egg hidden beneath the generous slices of salmon. The creamy mentaiko sauce is made in-house, and complemented the seared salmon well, making this an incredibly rich and satisfying dish, especially if you’re in the mood to treat yourself.
A couple of downsides though, we were disappointed by the onsen egg because it was overcooked and the yolk had taken on a gelatinous consistency. I felt that the salmon could use a little more searing, and was taken by surprise when I bit on a piece of eggshell while chowing down on the food, which I thankfully did not ingest.
The last dish was their Truffle Beef Don ($21), which is a popular favourite amongst the lunchtime crowd and my dining partner alike. Black Angus ribeye was used as the cut of beef to avoid any beefy gaminess in the meat and was cooked to a nice medium, perfumed with lashings of truffle oil.
Once again, the onsen egg, didn’t have a runny yolk, and felt that the dish could have use a little more gravy to flavour the rice at the bottom of the bowl.
While there were a few hit-and-miss with room for improvement, the Bettership is a great place to dine at if you’re looking for affordable sashimi bowls in town, with their Kaisen Don being the most value for money and offering up great variety as well.
It can get very crowded during lunchtime so do pop by early to get a seat and enjoy their value-for-money lunch sets. It is also an affordable dining spot to walk in and grab dinner before heading up to the cinema for a movie.
Expected Damage: $16 – $20 per pax