Affordable and fuss-free charcoal-grilled meat at Washoku Goen
Having started its operations since the beginning of January 2015, Washoku Goen is centrally located within Vivocity’s Food Republic. The stall is rather hard to miss – you can easily identify it through the long, snaking queues in front of it.
An authentic Japanese establishment, all of the staff working in Washoku Goen hail directly from Japan. Other than the more normal dishes on their menu like Japanese Katsu Curry Rice and Tonkotsu Ramen, Washoku Goen places a higher emphasis on their charcoal-grilled meats (sumibiyaki).
All meats are marinated in homemade sauces overnight before being subjected to charcoal grilling by the chefs at Washoku Goen; you can be sure to sink your teeth into some flavorful, tender and succulent meat when you order from the establishment’s BBQ menu.
As previously mentioned, Washoku Goen can be found right smack within the compound of Food Republic in Vivocity so don’t expect too much of an ambiance there other than crowds. It felt very much just like an air-conditioned hawker center where you basically have to fight tooth and nail to secure a seat for yourself during peak hours.
Make sure to reserve seats for yourselves before heading to purchase any food: do not end up like us – we had to circle the tables like vultures with heavy trays in our hands. Boo.
Sumibi Yakitori Juu (Charcoal-grilled Chicken Rice, $6.80 + $1 for egg and soup). This was a highly enjoyable dish: as a general chicken meat lover, I was satisfied with how the grilling had managed to lock in the flavors of the meat really well. Furthermore, the charcoal-grilled meat was succulent with just the right amount of smokiness to it. If you’re a fan of sweet BBQ sauces, keep a look out for this: I was left clamoring for more.
This was perhaps our favorite dish of the entire meal.
Yaki Beef Donburi (Charcoal-grilled beef, $7.80 + $1 for egg and soup). While the beef was excellent – very umami and tender with the ideal distribution of fats to lean tissue within each slice, there wasn’t much sauce to coat the rest of the rice. After you’ve finished the beef, all you’ll be left with is a whole bowl of very dry and bland-tasting rice. Perhaps Washoku Goen could give an extra scoop of sauce to this dish?
Special Original Curry Rice ($14.80) – Half-boiled egg, Tonkatsu, Chicken Katsu and Croquetto. Ah, the curry. Washoku Goen’s homemade curry tastes slightly better than the Golden Packets which you can buy from supermarkets but it’s nothing too fantastic. The texture reminds me of the curries commonly found to be paired with pratas.
This dish was average at best – with slabs upon slabs of fried meat and miscellaneous items, the Special Original Curry Rice is great for dirty bulkers and fans of fried food but for the rest of the population? I’d suggest giving it a go.
Overall, I feel that the dishes at Washoku Goen are kinda hit-or-miss. I love their BBQ meats and the affordable pricing but I hated the crowds and the fried items. The next time you happen to be around Vivocity and find yourself craving for some Japanese Charcoal-grilled meat, you can pay a visit to Washoku Goen during the non-peak hours.
Expected Damage: $10 – $20 per pax