The dish which makes me miss Japan so much is definitely the Okonomiyaki as there are not many restaurants offering this in Singapore. Even Japanese restaurants that serves this dish often did not taste as authentic as those in Osaka where it is made fresh in front of you. When my friend mentioned this specialty Okonomiyaki restaurant which is ultra popular, we immediately made a booking.
Located at a location which is not so common for a Japanese restaurant, the restaurant is nestled along a row of shophouses along Dunlop street. Standing out like a sore thumb amongst the other Indian shops, cafes, eateries and pubs, the restaurant is decked with your typical Japanese white lanterns and sake drums.
As you step into the restaurant, you get semi transported to a small cosy Japanese restaurant which is not so different from those in the alley of Osaka. More sake drums, wooden hanging plates for best wishes typically found at Japanese temples adorned the walls of the reception area.
Pass the reception area and you are greeted with the familiar smells of smoke and oil which is common for any barbeque or grill restaurant although but the plus point is the floors and furnishing are not oily at all. The space on the first floor is relatively small and you are immediately immersed in the atmosphere with walls plastered with retro Japanese posters and the Japanese pop songs playing in the background. The 2nd floor is catered for bigger groups with up to 3 tables for parties of 6 or 8.
On top of the regular Okonomiyaki items, Seiwaa actually serves a variety of Teppanyaki dishes as well as some common Japanese dishes like ramen, udon and fried rice. For the full menu, you can click here
At Seiwaa, you can choose to cook your food yourself or get the assistance of the staff as most tables have an installed hot plate within the table which is extremely hot and those with young children will have to be very careful. As the tables are not huge, you can be sitting quite near to the hot plates thus no escape for the smoke and odd splatter of oil when the food is cooking in front of you. I would not recommend coming here in your best delicate clothes.
First thing to order is definitely the okonomiyaki and we ordered the seafood version. The server brought out a bowl of chopped cabbage, egg, batter and other ingredients.
The pork was separately fried on the hot pan first before the rest of the ingredients are poured onto the hot plate and mixed together.
With skillful hands, the server managed to mix all the ingredients and form this perfect round shape on the hot pan. Totally glad that we did not opt to do this ourselves or we will end up with out of shape okonomiyaki.
We ordered octopus legs and was served this very cute butter shaped like a dinosaur. Another day I visited, the butter was shaped like a pig
The poor dinosaur was melted to cook our octopus legs while the okonomiyaki was cooking on one side of the hot plate.
The legs were cooked perfectly in front of us with all the sizzling and the end results are slightly charred flavour outside near the tentacles part but soft and tender inside. The octopus legs were served with a dollop of mayonnaise sprinkled with Japanese chili pepper which provides the legs with an additional creamy taste.
After close to 8 mins, the okonomiyaki was finally done and the server drizzled sauce and mayonnaise in perfect symmetry across the pancake. The pancake was neatly cut into quarters before the server left the table for us to help ourselves. The surface of the okonomiyaki was crispy with nice charred taste while the inside of the pancake was full of umami flavours from the ingredients. This is pancake is as good as it gets compared to the ones in Osaka.
We also ordered this Monjayaki which personally I have not seen before even in Japan. It is apparently a more watery and lighter version of the okonomiyaki so it has less batter and is mostly filled with just cabbage and other ingredients.
We ordered the seafood monja and after a whole 1 mins of chopping and mixing the ingredients on the hot plate like seen in the video, the server formed this large flat pancake and topped it up with cheese ( additional top up)
We were told to eat the monjayaki by scooping the cooked pancake with these tiny spatula. Personally, I really do not like this as it was quite a mess to eat as most of the pancake stuck to the hot plate so scooping them with force made them into a blob of soft mass on the spatula which is hardly appetizing. We tried to cook it longer so that the pancake is less wet but ended with more charred bits and serious sticking to the hot plate. The overall taste was also too salty with a too mashed up texture for me.
The other dish ordered which was not cooked on the grill was the scallop with mentaiko mayonnaise which was quite nicely done with an overly generous serving of mentaiko sauce.
One of the highlight was their Japanese soufflé pancakes which would be cooked on the grill as well. There was both the cheese and original version to choose from and we took the cheese version.
The pancakes took quite a few minutes to finish cooking and it has a small wobble once it is done. Since I had hunted down many Japanese soufflé pancakes, I personally found their version too dry and not fluffy and light enough. Maple syrup was also provided for those who likes it with their pancakes. The pancakes has a strong egg flavour which reminds me of those from Flippers.
Overall, I really like their okonomiyaki as they reminded me of the tasty ones from Osaka with just the right flavour and texture. The server also cooked the food very well and is a pleasant sight to watch while waiting for your meal. For fans of okonomiyaki, do make a booking and try them here.
Address: 72 Dunlop St, Singapore 209400
Operating hours: 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 11 pm ( closed on Sun)