With most of the construction along the F&B section of Mapletree Business City complete, some of the tenants such as Paik’s Bibim/Coffee, Starbucks Coffee, Cedele and others have already renovated their shop spaces and started to open their doors for business.
Located in between the yet-to-be-opened Guzman y Gomez and Paik’s Bibim/Coffee at Mapletree Business City is Kaisen Ichi, a new establishment which serves up Japanese donburi for lunch and dinner hours. Occupying a small shop space, it caters for up to an estimated number of less than 50 pax. Offering the same menu for both lunch and dinner, there is a soft-opening week promotion where a limited selection of Donburi available; expect the full menu to consist of basic donburi dishes such as Beef Steak Don, Una Don, Salmon Teri Don etc., with also a couple of Udon dishes here. The signature item of Kaisen Ichi would be their Chazuke series, which is a Donburi dish served with a green tea soup at the side to be enjoyed by pouring the soup into the rice bowl; a pretty unique experience to Kaisen Ichi.
(Kaisen Bara Chirashi Don)
We initially wanted to order the Chazuke, but we just could not give the Kaisen Bara Chirashi Don in the menu a miss. Coming with an assortment of raw fish, the fish were lightly marinated in a savoury sauce for more flavour. This was, in contrast, lighter than the marinade used in the Chirashi Don that Sushiro, Teppei and DSTLLRY uses to marinate the raw fish, though this helps to bring out the freshness and the quality of the raw fish used in their Kaisen Bara Chirashi Don instead. Ikura tops off the bowl, which sends a burst of umami flavour while being eaten with a scoop of rice and chunks of raw fish. The portion of fish also seems pretty balanced with the rice, which makes it a delightful bowl of Donburi for both lunch or dinner.
On the day of our visit, the Beef Steak Don was at a discounted price of 50% off, which we had also decided to try. At its usual price of $16+, this comes just solely as rice bowl alone and was no-frills; no fancy truffle oil and anything of that sort but beef steak, sous-vide egg, ume pickles, shallots and caramelised onions. A pretty well-balanced bowl, there is a lot to be enjoyed given the various amounts of condiments that come along with it; caramelised onions were a little crunchy and subtly sweet, ume-pickles gives it a tasteful contrast of tangy flavours and the fried shallots helped to give it a little crunchiness (though I thought it could be a little more crisp for they were partially limp). The beef, though carrying a slight gaminess, was absolutely tender with a pinkish centre, and perhaps one of the most tender ones I have ever had from a Beef Steak Don by far; not even a single bit that required chewing and was absolute melt-in-the-mouth goodness. The sous-vide egg comes all runny with a yolk eager to burst its way out with a touch of the fork while Dashi broth sits at the bottom to help flavour and moisten the rice beneath.
While we missed on trying their signature Chazuke dish, having tried the regular Donburi dishes I find Kaisen Ichi a pretty good option for Japanese rice bowls in the southern part of Singapore, especially if one works around the Labrador Park/Pasir Panjang area. That being said, Kaisen Ichi fills up quite easily for lunch, although it could be for the fact that we visited them on their opening week where they were having 50% off selected Donburi/Chazuke dishes; a deal that definitely sounds too good to miss. Be prepared for a little squeeze if you head down; the ordering point’s queue may snake towards the aisles along the tables (which is quite narrow) and it can be quite a trouble to head to the collection point to collect the food when they are ready, and its even more claustrophobic when patrons stand by the side of tables do chope seats. That being said, Kaisen Ichi’s Donburi dishes are pretty decent for the price range, although there may be sexier Donburi within the price range though out of the area; these are simple and honest rice bowls done well for the intended market that they are meant for. If you do work nearby and do not fancy the squeeze, there is also an option of takeaway; definitely a more convenient option in my opinion. A place that to head down to especially if you work in the area and love Donburi.
Kaisen Ichi Restaurant & Bar
Mapletree Business City
40 Pasir Panjang Road
Web Page: http://www.kaisen.com.sg/