Underwhelming Pork At Butahage

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The medium sized grilled pork rice bowl with added egg  

So my friend and I were in the Clarke Quay area and when it came to dinner, we decided to pop over to Liang Court instead. As I’ve never tried Butahage, we decided to try out their Grilled Pork Rice Bowl since they’re supposed to have 80 years of tradition and that “the taste has never changed”. Besides, I think you guys ought to know by now but I’ve got a soft spot for yummy Japanese food. Especially stalls that specialises in a particular dish or 2.

Butahage hails from Hokkaido and all the marketing leads you to think that the pork comes from Hokkaido but alas, this is not true. All the pork is from the US with exception to their Premier Set (S$22.80++) where they use Japanese pork and comes with extra serving of tofu salad. Their special Yumepirica rice from Hokkaido is supposed to be sweeter than usual but that’ll be an additional S$1++.

My friend and I opted for their medium sized Grilled Pork Rice Bowl (S$13.80++) and added an ontama (S$1.50++) each. We didn’t have much choices. It was mainly grilled pork in small (good for children)/ medium/ large with only 1 set that contained both a small grilled pork rice bowl with udon noodles (S$16.80++). If you want chicken, you can only get it as a side dish under ‘karaage’ (S$4.50++).

The place was really empty and we were the first 2 diners there for the evening and I think we brought the crowd in but that said, the kitchen staff and wait staff were still quite relaxed. That said, the food came really quick.

Don’t you just love how there are just 5 peas in my bowl? Very decorative. Very tasteless. But that’s not the highlight. The pork is grilled at 850 deg C and was very tender but taste wise, it was like my mum’s pork loin (which is also super tender)! With each bite, I couldn’t help but think that this tasted too much like my mum’s dish although my mum uses a lot more dark soy sauce. It’s tasty. Just not mind blowing orgasmic grilled pork which was expected since they kept harping on their 80 years of history and “the secret sauce perfected and passed down over generations which is still handmade by our expert chefs, paired with our unique blend of pork nurtured in the Hokkaido climate and bliss, as well as our time-tested cooking method”.

Good thing is that there was enough of that sauce in the bowl so that when you reach half way through the bowl, it’s not dry as a bone. That’s when I mixed the ontama with the rice and gobbled the rest of the rice. I liked how the ontama came with some sauce too, so if you happen to reach a dry spot in your rice, the sauce from the ontama will suffice.

My friend’s verdict was similar, not in the sense that it tastes like her mum’s cooking, but rather that there were many different ways to cook pork and to bang only on 1 dish seemed like something you’d expect at a food court or street stall instead of a casual restaurant. She also felt that there were more ways you could cook pork and throw in some choices for diners. I felt that the sauce could’ve gone perfectly with chicken too. Not everyone is a fan of pork. Maybe it’s the spoilt Singaporean speaking…since we have an overwhelming amount of choices when it comes to food.

I don’t think I’ll go back to Butahage again. It’s really not worth the price tag. I must really crave grilled pork on rice before I fork out $20 for another bite of this.

177 River Valley Road
#02-32/33 Liang Court
Singapore 179030

Opening hours: 11.30am to 3pm; 6pm to 10pm (last order at 9.15pm)
Website: http://www.butahage.com.sg

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