A gentle breeze brushed across my cheeks as I walked along the riverside of Boat Quay reminiscing my yesteryears. I was on my way to The Container Japanese Tapas and Bar, my used-to-be favourite spot for a glass of whiskey and light bites when past images of the old me resurfaced.
Zipped up in a floral Love Bonito skin-tight dress, the old Felicia—who used to be a banker—would often have a drink to celebrate the end of the day after long-fought battles with her corporate clients.
Having not visited the bar since early last year, one can only imagine how excited I was. I arrived only to see an empty alfresco area and at that exact moment, my heart sunk. Of course, I knew what happened. In dire times like this, drastic measures are often taken to ensure survival. For Aburiya, it was to defunct their bar area to make way for a new dine-in cum takeaway concept: Wagyu Bites.
With a growling tummy, there was no time for tears. Seeing that there was an unoccupied space, I immediately proceeded with my SafeEntry check-in and took the two-seater spot. I knew at the back of my head that the food should be good; after all, Waygu Bites remains managed by the team behind Aburiya, one of the pioneers when it comes to Japanese yakiniku.
What I tried
An unassuming bowl of Tongue Stew (S$17) was set on my table before the entourage of burgers arrived. Thick chunks of beef tongue blended into a brown mess; which at first glance seemed disappointing owing to its lack of colour and vibrancy.
But don’t let that deny you from enjoying this humble dish. Look beyond its appearance and you will be captivated by its bold and hearty flavours. The broth was rich, packing plenty of umami punch. Not to mention the solid pieces of meat that was faultlessly tender. Bring me a loaf baguette or any Gardenia white bread and I’m certain I will be able to wipe this dish so clean that no washing is needed.
Before diving headfirst into the burgers, you should first know that all the burgers served at Wagyu Bites feature the same Japanese A4 wagyu beef patty. Continuing Aburiya’s ‘nose-to-tail’ philosophy, excess cuts of beef are used to create patties to minimise wastage.
Meaning to say, the only difference lies in the additions—toppings that buff up their regular Cheeseburger (S$15). With this clarified, let’s head back to the food, shall we?
My weakness for anything avocado (yes, even socks and stickers) landed the Avocado Cheese Burger (S$18) my favourite for the night. As with all the burgers, the beef patty was nicely grilled, oozing and glistening with juice. It was crusted with the right amount of char exuding a tinge of smokiness that contrasted with its blushing pink centre.
Adding a layer of creaminess were the slices of avocado. In my opinion, this butter fruit worked wonders all thanks to its muted flavours resulting in a delightful potpourri of textures with every mouthful taken.
Then there was the Wagyu Bacon Cheese Burger (S$18). I’ve had my fair share of breakfast pan-fried-till-almost-burnt bacon strips but when it comes to wagyu bacon this was definitely my first.
Sandwiched between freshly toasted premium whole grain burger buns, this burger was so tall I wondered how was I supposed to eat it without making a mess. Later did I realise that my only dining partner was my husband who has seen the worst of me, thus I went on to dig in with my bare hands.
The smoky-sweet flavours of beef bacon were enhanced when eaten with the nutty burger buns. Together with the light yuzu dressing and slightly piquant slices of onions, it was a gorgeous medley of flavours that kept me wanting more.
The Foie Gras Cheese Burger (S$22) was the first thing on the menu I was recommended. Of course, I ordered it without hesitation. I mean, how can I resist this fancy and luxe sounding dish?
As much as I still enjoyed the beef patty, the foie gras somehow got lost in the stack. Apart from the buttery sensation it left in my mouth, it failed to value-add in any other ways. Therefore, I stick to my principal; this luxurious french ingredient should still be eaten alone, pan-seared or as a pâté alongside some toast.
Wagyu Bite’s Onion Rings (S$8) could use a little downsizing to make them easier to bite into. Don’t get me wrong as I absolutely adored the taste of these huge rings. They were evenly coated with batter mixed in with Japanese kelp that enhanced the onion’s natural sweetness with subtle briny notes—perfect bar snacks to go with a bottle of ice-cold beer.
My only problem was with their thickness. Man, I felt my mouth do a downward dog biting into an Onion Ring—that deep stretch which I’ve never really felt before when eating. Then again, my husband totally enjoyed its thickness. ‘This onion ring is super shiok!’ he exclaimed as he stuffed them into his mouth.
Designed to cater to takeaways, be forewarned that Wagyu Bites has limited dine-in space. Thus, I highly advise you to call in and make your reservation if you are planning to pay them a visit.
The price might be on the higher side however, considering the quality of ingredients used (most of which are imported from Japan), it was worth it. Will I ever head back? Yes, definitely, once in a while if I plan to treat myself to some A-grade burger. Otherwise, I think I can make do with the trusty Mickey D’s for now.
Expected Damage: S$10 – S$36 per person
Our Rating: 3 / 5
78/79 Boat Quay , Singapore 049867
78/79 Boat Quay , Singapore 049867