With the opening of Eagle Wings Cinematics and other F&B establishments within the mall, KAP Mall had finally turned into a bustling mall that was a far cry from its days of being a barely occupied shopping gallery.
Moving into KAP Mall fairly recently, Gaijin Soul Food is the latest F&B establishment to have opened their doors within the mall, being neighbours of The Wild which we had visited sometime earlier. Taking up a unit which bears a similar layout to that of other mix-use developments such as The Midtown, the shop occupies a duplex unit much like The Wild (which is not very much different from Tiew Mai Thai Boat Noodles, Otoko and now-defunct The Foxhole Cafe at The Midtown). Gaijin Soul Food makes good use of the small floor area of the first floor; following an open-concept kitchen design, the first floor contains bar seats for those who prefer to watch the action going on in the kitchen. Patrons who wish to stay away from the smoke and fumes can dine at the second level which features proper dining tables and seats, though rather limited. Offering mostly mains, Gaijin Soul Food serves up a variety of Japanese cuisine, from Donburi to other dishes such as Ramen and Udon. Whilst not listed in the menu, Gaijin Soul Food also serves up a small variety of sides such as Gyoza, Karaage, etc. as well, while beverages is limited to hot or cold Barley Tea (the hot variant being free-flow) or soft drinks.
Skimming through the menu, an item that caught our attention was the Gaijin Tendon; a signature Tendon offering which features “Black Tiger Prawn & Mixed Vegetable Tempura drizzled with Special “Oishi” Tendon Sauce.” The Tendon also comes with other tempura items, such as baby corn, chicken fillet and pumpkin apart from the Ebi Tempura that was mentioned in the menu; all Donburi items also come with a side bowl of “Double” Miso Soup as well. Digging into the Tendon, we felt that the Gaijin Tendon was one of the few Tendon that did not felt unnecessarily overwhelming; no doubt it does come with quite a variety of components, that being said, the Tendon does come with a reduced portion of rice compared to that of the likes of Tendon Kohaku, Akitmistu, TenTen, Don Meijin, etc. (just to name a few of the Tendon specialty shops that had opened during the Tendon craze back in 2017), resulting in a portion better suited for an individual of an average appetite. Apart from the Black Tiger Prawn Tempura which was served in two pieces, the other Tempura items came with a single piece. Sinking our teeth into the fried components, we noticed that the Tempura items were sufficiently light and crisp, with the batter being not too overly thick nor thin and holds its crunch well. The Tempura pieces were also surprisingly not too overly greasy, whilst all being pretty well-executed considering how they had seemingly retained their textures well; the pumpkin being soft and carrying its own natural sweetness, while the baby corn retaining its crunch and the chicken still being pretty tender within. We also noticed how the prawns were also pretty fresh, and carried its own natural sweetness as well. Sitting atop a bed of pearly short-grained rice, we also enjoyed the Oishi sauce; essentially a sweet-ish savoury sauce that comes with dried bonito flakes and Furikake, the rice carried an umami flavour without being particularly dry or hard to swallow. The “Double” Miso Soup, whilst coming only with small cubes of tofu and seaweed, was extremely flavourful with its punchy bean-ny notes that was earthy and savoury; pretty rich and thick compared to the usual miso soup served in typical Japanese establishments of similar price range. A pretty well-executed Tendon at S$12.00; perhaps not the one with the most variety of Tempura pieces nor the most generous in portion size, but certainly one that pays attention to detail and is worth the price tag it carries.
We also gave the Gyu Don a try, which is described as “Premium USDA Angus Beef Slices sauteed with Onions and Special blend Yakiniku Sauce topped with Negi and an Onsen Egg”. Again, yet another dish that is pretty value-for-money at S$14.00, the Gyu Don is immensely delicious and absolutely comforting; the slices of beef were tender and did not require much chew, whilst being extremely flavourful given how it had absorbed much of the savoury and almost umami Yakiniku sauce; all that without carrying any distinct hint of gaminess that may be undesirable to some. The sauteed onions helped to provide yet another dimension of sweetness to the Gyu Don, while the onsen egg helped to add a silky texture that binds the pearly short-grained rice with the sauteed onions and sliced beef together. An item that looks simple on paper, yet so satisfying.
Having tried just a few items of what Gaijin Soul Food has to offer, we felt that Gaijin Soul Food serves up pretty underrated Japanese cuisine that is well-executed and value for money considering the quality of the food served. Straying away from the usual sashimi bowls and focusing more on cooked food, Gaijin Soul Food is pretty much unlike other Japanese establishments of this price range which serves up trendy Donburi, but rather, more of the comforting sort that is simple yet satiating — perhaps the reason why the term “soul food” is in the name; a terminology used more to describe Southeastern American cuisine that brings similar vibes. With its rather wallet-friendly prices, Gaijin Soul Food is certainly off a good start; a place that would be well-appreciated by residents in the vicinity, and a great dining option at KAP Mall.
Gaijin Soul Food
9 King Albert Park
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/gaijinsoulfood/