Nihon Mura Izayaka Hot
Offering an a la carte Japanese buffet ranging from sushi, sashimi, tempura and so on.
Mediocre Japanese Food
Decided to pop in for a quick meal after realizing that there was probably nowhere else around the Cathay that we could get decent food. Besides Astons, but the queue was way too long on a Friday night.
I had the hot plate beef, and shared a bowl of salmon belly soup with my dining partner. You made your choices by walking around the various food stations and telling the chefs what you wanted - a concept similar to Marche.
For the hot plate beef, I had to cook it myself, including the vegetables. Butter was provided, and I proceeded to carry out my Masterchef duties. The whole dish was a little on the greasy side, and my clothes stank of oil and grease after that as the butter would sputter from the pan every now and then. I tried to use a minimal amount of butter needed to cook my dish, but using a substantial amount of butter to cook the vegetables was required. I had a party to go to after that, so I was none too happy.
The salmon belly soup was enjoyable enough and helped wash down a bit of the greasy aftertaste, so I suppose that balanced it out. I've still had better salmon belly soup elsewhere, though.
Servings are generous enough and if you want to avoid a long queue, this place is alright I suppose. Still, I wouldn't exactly put this on my to-recommend list. I'd rather pay $10-15 for a restaurant elsewhere with a more pleasant ambience despite the price difference.
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Easiest Way To Split Bills
Went over twice in a week for dinner and what can I say? It's become one of my favourite places. Everything for $1.60, you can just grab whatever you want till you're stuffed. Selling mainly sushi and some side dishes, one of the must-haves is their smoked duck sushi.
Cooked to perfect firmness, the smoked duck is always spot on in terms of flavour - not too salty and extremely fragrant. To make it better, the top is sprinkled with spices and coarse pepper, with flavour bursting as you sink your teeth down with every bite. As for the other sushi, they taste pretty good but nothing out of this world. But then again, for $1.60, where else can you get sushi this cheap and good? Another must have is their desserts - particularly matcha ice cream. Initially when I looked at it, it wasn't appealing and looked pretty icy and chunky. I was proven wrong when I savoured it. Extremely creamy and rich, the matcha was strong and aromatic, a perfect way to end the meal.
As for service and ambience, there's nothing much to expect as it is pretty much a self-service thing unless you order something off the iPad menu and the staff just pass you your order. But the simple interior make eating there a casual affair and one that's fuss-free
So far, every meal I had at Nihon Mura was gratifying and I would gladly go back there again to satisfy a sushi crave.
Against my friend's advice, I went for Nihon Mura's dinner buffet at the Yio Chu Kang branch, hoping it would prove its reputation wrong. It turned out to be a dinner of sulks and disappointed palates.
First off, the service staffs were not capable of delivering clear instructions. When questioned, replys such as "not too sure" and "maybe" were given. It was frustrating that we could not even get concise instructions on the ordering. The restaurant was very dimly lit, making it hard to even take a good look at my food. It was about 70% full, and running only with about 5 service staffs.
Next, the food orders were often missed out and we had to give repetitive reminders. They did not inform us of food items that were not available for the day as well. Such irresponsibility was further fueled by the very obvious lack in quality of the food served. The sashimi was tough and poorly sliced. The sushi was not kneaded properly, falling into pieces upon pick up. The worst part was that we were given COLD and hard fried salmon skin! That completely turned me off. Even after requesting for it to be re-fried, it tasted so bad I didn't even swallow it.
The decent food items we tried were: Grilled enoki/asparagus with bacon, salmon/kani mentai sushi, chuka idako, yasai tempura and the mentai mussels. However, the desserts too, were a let down. The pathetic scoop of ice cream was of junior size, and the cream puff was 3/4 puff. The mochi we ordered never arrived. They did refilled our cups of green tea with hot water though.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, they billed an extra person to our table. The meal definitely was not worth $30, and I am so not subjecting myself to such terrible Japanese food again. If you plan to visit them for a dinner buffet, perhaps giving other outlets a go might be a wiser decision!
Good buffet place for an afternoon chat
This place was one of my favourite haunts when it first opened.
While the buffet was cheap with the quality and range of food being offered, it was indeed reasonable. However, over the years, the price of the buffet has risen and the value of the buffet is now so-so.
One of the favourite must-trys would be the barbecued golden mushrooms wrapped in bacon - a really heavenly combination. Once seated at the table, the service was not only good in terms of repeating orders, it was also fast and prompt. The food that we ordered was served to our table shortly after ordering.
The quality of the food is usually better when the place is packed. Try to order the types of food that have to be made on the spot in order to avoid stale sushi that has been left on the moving belt for awhile.
Order as much salmon as you want!
For a Japanese buffet, Nihon Mura would be considered very cheaply priced as compared to other options like Kiseki & the like. Despite that, for its very affordable price, it offers a considerable spread of variety for you to choose from.
Since their typical sushi is medicore (honestly, how creative can it get), I'd advise you to just go straight for the sashimi because it makes whatever you've paid for it worth it in itself. Their fried stuff is forgo-able in my opinion because you can't exactly go wrong with fried stuff like karrage and ebi fry anyway. Their salmon sashimi is fresh, thick and importantly, chilled. I never like salmon that's not chilled, so I was glad that theirs were. Eat as much Omega-3 as you want! A portion of salmon sashimi would already cost pretty much elsewhere, and you would find that Nihon Mura's salmon is actually of acceptable quality as well. Us 4 girls polished up at least a good 60+ slices of salmon sashimi that afternoon.
Now I know why there's forever a queue for their buffet dinner during weekends there. Light on your wallet and good for your palate. What's not to like?
Reasonably good Japanese Food in the Heartland...
I dare say Japanese food is many people fave cuisine in S'pore. But there are not that many great and authentic Japanese restaurants to choose from, in town, let alone in the heartlands. I must honestly say that Nihon Mura does not fall in that great and authentic category of superb Japanese eateries.
Then why do I keep going back to the Nihon Mura branch at Jurong West Sport & Recreation Centre? 2 reason - 1) It's proximity to Jurong West Swimming complex (just take the lift to level 4 at the pool lift foyer. 2) Never need to queue (lol...)
But having stated the above, I must also honestly say that dining at this Nihon Mura branch is quite a cozy affair. The ambiance is one of warm, fast paced Jap eatery. You won't find comfy and cushy chair that lets you linger longer than necessary. Rather, hard wooden ones without back support. For avid food photographers, getting a decent food pics at your table can be impossible without setting to tungsten setting and high ISO. The tinted windows filtered out any natural lights and the lights...those orangey bulbs...can kill the colors.
So what's good ? I strongly feel that they served one of the better pickled gingers, which you eat all you can, with compliments. For your choice of dishes, just take a large "ice-cream stick" labeled with your item name, place it in the cup at your table. The staff will come along, pick the sticks and serve within reasonable time frame.
Or you can take the colored sushi dishes from the conveyor belt and proceed to dine at your table. The prices are reasonable, the food not too bad (viz a viz the price) and if you drive...easy parking. So will I go back again ? Yes...definitely (after a swim at the Jurong West Swimming Pool) Oishi Ne !
Used to be good
I used to frequent Nihon Mura in the past, especially the branch at The Cathay.
Will order some sushi, potato salads and other sides. The concept was interesting in the beginning, where you will have to walk to the stations to collect the 'ice cream sticks' of the food you are ordering. The prices were reasonable then, $1.19 per plate of sushi (The standard ones).
The usual picks were Yakitori, Potato Salad, Potato & Sausage Mentai also some other sushi.
However, one fine day when the Yakitori was here, it tasted so different and awful that i thought the waitress mixed up the order. After checking with the chef, she told me that they've changed the supplier of the meat. Not only that, the food standard dropped terribly and the selections got lesser as time goes by. Nothing is good.
Nowadays, i won't even step into Nihon Mura even if they are going on a 99% discount, not going to waste my stomach space.
Expensive but average food
Nihon Mura used to be my favourite place to go for Japanese buffets, until the restaurant decided to increase the price by a substantial amount. For a buffet which now costs about $35, the quality of food is average at best.
The sushi conveyor belt is often packed with low-cost sushi, and sometimes the chefs make so much that the plates are stacked beside the conveyor belt. Honestly, the sushi doesn't seem to be that fresh. Service is also really slow. All in all, I wouldn't recommend Nihon Mura to sushi or buffet lovers.
Nice ambience but medicore food
I have been to Nihon Mura several times and I prefer the branch at Tampines sports complex, just right beside the swimming complex. I would say the location is a little out of the way compared to the many variety of Japanese food choices offered by three shopping malls at central - 10 minutes walk away.
The times I have been there was less crowded during lunch time. And because of that, my friends and I manage to choose a cozy corner to just chat and stone. We love sushi and the only place that allows us a really comfortable environment to savour our sushi while having girls talk (saving our wallets at the same time) is Nihon Mura. With their orange lights, dark brown wooden furnitures and Japanese style decoration, I will definitely give a thumb up for the ambience.
I must say their sushi is just normal. The choices are really limited and we have to make special orders if we want any other flavours. Well, its good in a way as we will get to make freshly made sushi.
I would recommend visiting the store during lunch as there are not many people there - best for a quiet discussion or catch up. However, at times when you are more incline to eat good food rather than the ambience, Nihon will not be a good choice.
free flow sashimi!
Nihon Mura is often my first choice when it comes to Japanese buffet. Ordering the different types of sashimi is a must. Their sashimis are fresh and the serving is generous. Besides that, there are also cooked food like tako yaki, bacon with asparagus and mussels with cheese. You can also take the plates of sushi from the conveyor belt. They also provide fruits, simple desserts like ice-cream and mochis. Free flow drinks of your choice throughout the buffet too. However, the service here is slightly slow even though there are not much people. After ordering, we waited about 15-20mins for the food to arrive. Some of the dishes we order never came. I will still patronize this place despite the service as the price is still affordable for students.
Cheap set lunch!
Am not sure if every outlet has it, but the Nihon Mura at Hougang Plaza provides a weekday set lunch which, if I am not wrong, lasts from noon till 3pm. Every set lunch costs around $9 comes with a main dish and two sides. For example: a bowl of ramen, a plate of tori karaage and miso soup or ice-cream, which is extremely worth the price you are paying!
Although some people have reviewed before that food at Nihon Mura at Hougang Plaza is not up to their standard, I think that has one of the nicest dons I have ever eaten. I tend to order their chicken katsu don as the main dish, and I love it so much. Although it looks plain at first sight, there is a tasty, not too salty sauce under the katsu. Other ingredients like seaweed, shitake mushrooms, onions and egg also give the dish a lot of flavour.
For the sides, I would either order agedashi or fried tofu, tori karaage, or yasai kakiage. Love these sides. If I came to Nihon Mura with a couple of friends or family members, we would each order different sides so that we could share the different items. For the second side dish, I would choose the miso soup, mocchi or ice-cream. The standard drink would be hot green tea, but if you want other drinks, it costs an additional dollar.
If you want something outside the lunch set menu, you can take sushi or smaller items from their conveyor belt, or order from the a la carte menu, which has quite a lot of dishes, but can be a little costly. Nonetheless, Nihon Mura is a great place for a decent Japanese cuisine!