On the second floor close to the end of Telok Ayer Street, lies O-KU, a Japanese tapas bar that's going to blow your mind away.
O-KU is brought to you by the awesome people from The Flying Squirrel (TFS), which we reviewed a little earlier on. Compared to TFS, this place has a much more “atas” feel with a countertop sushi bar inviting you to watch your food being prepared right in front of you.
If high stools aren’t your thing, there’s also an area by the back where you’d have more privacy.
After a long day at work, it was really nice to wind down with a glass of Tokyo Sour ($26). Similar to the usual whiskey sour, it’s a whiskey based cocktail with a citrus-y juice. Fair warning though, this is a pretty strong drink.
For those of you who’re cutting back on your alcohol intake, there’s the Earl Grey Fizz ($8), a new addition to O-Ku’s menu. What you’d get is a nice mix of earl grey tea, mint and fizzy bubbles. Very refreshing indeed.
What’s Japanese food without some sashimi?
One of the chefs here is Angelina and just look at how she handles the knife! It was a surprise for me to see that she, who is also Jack’s wife and the co-owner, is so hands-on in TFS’s business.
We started off with the Sashimi Deluxe Box ($65). I know you’re probably thinking this is a little on the pricey side, but have you seen what is offered?! It’s a beautiful platter of super fresh sashimi such as the Scottish salmon, Hokkaido uni with caviar and gold flakes, sea grapes and much more other super fresh sashimi.
If you get a seat by the bar counter, you’d get to see the chefs slice the sashimi and fill up the platter.
Since this is a Japanese Tapas restaurant, we had to get some of their interesting fusion tapas to try.
One of which was O-Ku’s Kueh Pie Tee ($10) which has minced sashimi along with their in-house spicy sauce. This definitely gave the local traditional dish an interesting twist.
Another interesting Japanese fusion tapas was the Wagyu Scotch Eggs ($13). Minced beef was wrapped around a boiled egg and fried to a crispy perfection. Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside, this instantly became my favourite dish for the night.
O-Ku’s menu comes with an array of tempura dishes. I personally love ebi (prawn) tempura and so the Tempura Tiger Prawns ($12) was another dish that caught my attention. The tiger prawns used instead of regular prawns were a huge difference! You’ve got to try it for yourself to know what I’m talking about. I only wished that there were more of the dipping sauce, because I personally like to drench my tempuras in it. But I’m sure if you’d like more, the friendly staff over here will be more than willing to accommodate.
Add some carbs into you meal with O-Ku’s selection of Dons or Japanese rice bowls. I would absolutely recommend O-Ku’s Unagi Don ($27). Just take a look at the amount of unagi in that bowl! You can hardly even see the rice under it. Definitely worth it, I must say. If you’re ordering from the a la carte menu, you’d be served pickled radish rice instead of plain white rice that is served in the lunch meal.
For dessert, we tried the Cinnamon Pear ($15) which is a new addition to their menu. I think that this is an “either you like it or don’t” kind of dessert as I know many who aren’t fans of cinnamon. I personally liked how it taste but would have preferred if the pear was softer.
I really liked the Green Tea Ice Cream with Red Bean and Caramalised Fig. You won’t be able to find this on the menu but this is usually served in the Dessert Set ($15) for lunch or part of their Omakase Sets. This is the first time I’ve tried red beans INSIDE the ice cream, which are usually served on the side instead. That way, the green tea and red bean flavours come together more evenly with every bite.
If you’re overwhelmed by all the amazing stuff on the menu and not sure what to order, you can consider opting for a seven-course Omakase set ($128) or seven-course Omakase Tapas Set ($80) and let the chefs surprise you with their culinary wonder.
If you’re working around the area like me and you want to end your night at somewhere quiet with good food and nice ambiance, I’d highly recommend you to come here to O-Ku.