When I first heard about this place, I honestly thought it was going to be another run-of-the-mill Japanese establishment serving shabu-shabu simply with a twist.
I soon realised that the “twist”, however, made all the difference and will get you excited to check it out for yourself.
Yuzutei at Pasir Panjang isn’t necessarily the first place anyone would suggest when you’re in the area, even though it’s only a short walk in from the main Pasir Panjang vein.
It’s worth seeking out though, so be sure to walk all the way in and make another turn till you find the entrance (a simple search on Google Maps will help you).
I was pleasantly surprised by the interior of the restaurant, with tables that are sparsely spaced, so you won’t be forced to eavesdrop on your neighbour’s conversation. I also really liked the cosy vibe provided by all the wooden furnishings and warm colours.
My dining partner and I were thoroughly parched coming in, so we immediately ordered the Signature Yuzu Smoothie (S$8.50) (in the background) and the Yuzu Soda (S$5.50).
The former was really creamy and a nice balance of sour and sweet. The latter, on the other hand, was effervescent and bright; great for beating the heat that sweltering afternoon.
If you didn’t already guess from the restaurant’s name, the twist is that pretty much everything on the menu is infused with yuzu, which is a citrus fruit commonly used in Japanese and Korean cooking.
After our yuzu drinks, we started with their Signature Yuzu Gyoza (S$7) which is stuffed with minced pork, cabbage, leek and yuzu peel, served with an aromatic dipping sauce that’s made with soya sauce, yuzu juice and vinegar.
We loved how compact and stuffed the gyoza was, and the meat was really juicy, with a hint of sourness on the finish, which balanced the richness of the pork well.
The skin wasn’t chewy at all, and each bite was pretty effortless. This was one of the best gyozas I’ve enjoyed in a long while.
The dish we were most excited for arrived: the Signature Yuzu Shabu Set (A5 Hokkaido Snow Wagyu) (S$53 per pax). It comes with the signature yuzu soup base, handmade prawn and shiitake mushroom paste, Japan mizuna vegetables, tofu, Japanese fish cakes and rice.
This type of beef is pretty rare; the farm that rears these cattle only produces two heads of cattle per month. As such, Yuzutei is one of only two restaurants in Singapore that serves this limited type of meat.
I was especially looking forward to tasting the unique broth, which uses chicken stock, soybean and yuzu juice.
It only took a few seconds for the beef to cook, once the broth came to a rolling boil. The meat melted instantly upon eating, the fattiness contributing to its buttery texture.
First off, the broth was truly unlike anything I’d ever tasted; it was savoury yet sour. The more ingredients we cooked, the richer the broth became until it was an exquisite and robust blend of sweet, sour and savoury.
I really have no point of reference to compare it to since it’s one of a kind, so best make your way down to taste it for yourself!
We were advised to remove the yuzu fruit (the yellow object in the pictures) from the broth after half an hour, as it can become bitter once you’ve boiled the fruit down for too long.
For those hungry for more, you can also add on more meat, which we did. The Shirobuta Pork Belly (S$11) is just as thinly sliced and tender as the A5 Hokkaido Snow Wagyu.
The fat simply melted once cooked, and it was for sure, one of the most succulent pork dishes I’ve enjoyed in a long time. This unique shabu-shabu experience was undoubtedly the highlight of our meal.
Prefer a one-bowl meal? You won’t be disappointed with the Chirashi Kaisen Don (S$14.90).
Unlike other chirashi bowls, Yuzutei’s has rice mixed in with ginger, onion and soya sauce, while the raw fish chunks (salmon, tuna and swordfish belly) are tossed in soya sauce and yuzu peel.
The result is an easy to-go meal that’s refreshing and full of zestiness! The citrus notes complemented the fattiness of the fish really well, and even after polishing off the shabu set, we still managed to completely devour the chirashi bowl.
Next, we dug into a serving of Yuzu & Mentai Pasta With Garlic Shrimp & Squid (S$15). I have to admit, this was my least favourite dish.
I found that the combination of yuzu with pasta was overly sweet, and there wasn’t a sufficiently savoury element to balance it out.
Granted, the seafood was exceptionally fresh and plump, but I still had a hard time swallowing this one. I mixed in the drops of mentai, just to add a touch of saltiness to the dish, but it did little to ease up the overwhelming sweetness. Stick to the chirashi!
Our last main was the Ishiyaki Hot Stone Grill (Bluefin Tuna Belly, 100g) (S$43). The set comes with spicy okra and yuzu daikon, which surprisingly married exceptionally well with the fatty tuna.
The tuna belly slices cooked really quickly, and oozed delicious natural oils the second they hit the sizzling hot stone. The texture was like butter, strangely slightly creamy; I wasn’t sure if it was entirely pleasant. That aside, the taste was expectedly rich and robust.
Their Mizu Shingen Mochi (S$6.90) is a sight to behold. With a clear jelly holding a single slice of peach (we were told it’s simply made of water!) surrounded by a pool of brown sugar. There are different elements that you will experience with this dessert.
The plate is peppered with three different flavour profiles — matcha powder & icing sugar, peach puree and roasted soybean powder & kinoko (a type of mushroom).
I really liked the soybean powder & kinoko combination as it gave a nutty contrast to the sweet and smoky character of the liquid brown sugar.
Another interesting dessert to try is their Moffle Ice Cream. For a classic flavour, a single scoop costs S$2.50, while a double scoop costs S$4.
Their premium flavours like Matcha Black Sesame and Peppery Kinoko Yuzu is S$3.5o per single scoop and S$6 for double scoops. For an additional S$2, you can enjoy the ice cream with the moffle (mochi waffle).
All their ice cream is made in-house, and we went with the premium flavours. The waffle was certainly an interesting texture, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
Admittedly, it didn’t taste of anything, but with the ice creams (which tasted fabulous!), I really enjoyed this unique take on ice cream and waffles.
Out of the two flavours, I preferred the Matcha Black Sesame more, given my bias towards smokey flavours.
I arrived at Yuzutei not expecting much, but I left with a personal promise to return here in the future. The dishes aren’t just novel; the team has definitely done their due research and have come up with a yuzu-infused formula that is addictively delicious!
Expected damage: S$40 – S$50 per pax