The sidewalk restaurant at Time2 @ Millenia Walk known for its aburi (seared) sushi has opened up a second branch at suburban corporate central NTUC Income Tampines Junction, and it’s a smart joint. Light wood furnishings accented by blue-and-white Japanese cloths stick close to the high-ceilinged walls, except in the bare private rooms – it’s simple and separated by folding walls. As per the ingredients, the furnishings are imported directly from Japan.
Fast forward 5 years later, Rakuzen is now one of my regular haunts when I am in need of a good fix for quality Japanese food. Their prices are no doubt steep, and one look at the menu will tell you that this is not a Japanese restaurant you'd just waltz into and pay to eat at every day. Having dined at their Tampines outlet more than 10 times in this past year alone however, I can say that their food is worth every penny - with the right orders, in fact, their food can even be relatively affordable.
Out of all the items on the menu, my highest recommendation goes to their Sashimi Salad, which is known as the Sushiya Salad ($9 for small, $15 for large). Don't be deceived when they say $9 is small because their serving of both salad, sashimi, and sauce, is extremely generous - hands down beating the salad from any other Japanese Restaurant (for me, that means Itacho, Ichiban, Sushi Tei, and Sakae Sushi). The key ingredient, Sashimi, is not only plentiful - it comes in wide varities, having Salmon and Tuna as well as the more eclectic Swordfish and Octopus occasionally. They also have three sauces available - Wafu, Sesame, and their House Dressing. Their Sesame Sauce, which I have on every occasion, is delightfully rich. If you're a salad or sashimi lover, this is a must order.
The other portion of my meal (yes, salads can be an appetiser) (but also a full meal) is their set menus, which come with the option of being paired with sushi or sashimi. I instead pair their set menus with the salad which is more expensive but I feel gives me more bang for my buck. I particularly recommend their Teppanyaki Zen ($20), which comes with Beef (you can indicate your desired doneness), Teppanyaki Beansprouts, Soup, Garlic Rice, Appetiser, Chawanmushi, and Dessert - the last three of which come with every set. Clearly - a sumptuous meal. Other nice zens include their Gindara as well as their chicken teriyaki (if I'm not mistaken).
All in all, I have walked away from Rakuzen feeling full and satisfied after every meal (except my first). Their food is of a much higher quality than those of other restaurants - fresher ingredients, fuller taste, and just better craftsmanship in general. Their service is also great - waiters and waitresses alike are very friendly and you're provided with a hot towel at the start of your meal to refresh/clean you. Did I also mention they provide free flow hot/cold green tea?
So if you're ever craving good Japanese food but don't feel like busting your wallet out, I'd highly recommend Rakuzen. There's also an outlet at Millenia Walk (the one listed in this listing) which should be convenient even to those who don't live in the East (for the Tampines outlet).
Entering the restaurant, you start to realize how luxe it really is. The exterior itself says “high-end Japanese restaurant” but the interior truly affirms that.
First of all, the seats are either light wood or lined with plush velvet. The place is also dimly but adequately lit, creating a cosy, sophisticated atmosphere.
And of course, the food. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with any dish served here. We had their potato croquettes, beef hotpot and a plate of makimono. Everything was so fresh and good, our chopsticks were reaching out non-stop.
To bring our meal to a close, we ordered their Strawberry Ice, which is basically frozen strawberries with an ice cream center. I ordered a plate for myself first, as my friends were still unsure about it. Once they tried some of mine however, they immediately ordered another plate for themselves. It’s a really unique dessert that I can’t describe in words. I highly recommend trying it for yourself!
Rakazen offers top quality dishes with ingredients directly imported from Japan. I tried the dragon roll, grilled salmon roll, Canadian roll, as well as the Oshokuji Negitoro Don. They had a variety of seafood goodness, but the dragon roll and grilled salmon roll certainly stand up as one of the better ones I enjoyed. However, it’s a little on the pricey side, so if you are going to patronize Rakuzen, you should be prepared to burn a hole in your wallet in trying out various dishes offered at Rakuzen.
Whenever I go to Japanese restaraunts I always try to order a dragon roll i.e sushi roll with soft shell crab topped with avocado. I have to say this was by far one of the best I've ever had. When served, the soft shell crab was the perfect temperature - just warm enough for you to feel it's presence, and I could actually feel the crisp of the soft shell crab permeate through the rice! Definitely a must try, along with the grilled wagyu beef which felt like it dissapeared upon contact with my tongue. I also felt that the onions that came along with the beef really brought the dish together.
I’ve been there three times, and all three times was served by excellent staff that bothered checking if my meal was going along fine without actually making me feel suffocated.
Do note however that the dishes do not come cheap, and I would recommend going in groups of 5-6 in order to try more items.
They've got a wide range of Japanese food, ranging from sushi to sashimi to bentos to ramen. Their sashimi is a must try! It is super fresh and affordable too! I ordered a bento set for myself, which consists of teppanyaki beef, steamed rice, chawanmushi, salad, sushi and desserts! It costs about $25 for a set which I felt was very worth it! The portion of beef was rather huge and it was very tender! All of my friends who tried my teppanyaki beef sang praises!
We left the restaurant feeling satisfied and happy that we have discovered a good yet affordable japanese restaurant
I got introduced here by a friend who decided to give me a lunch treat. We had the sashimi salad, a set of Spider makimono rolls, and unagi makimono rolls. I'm not a fan of unagi, so I politely kept my chopsticks to my side of the table, but the Spider makimono rolls were drool-worthy enough! And at $9 a serving, cheaper than my usual haunts like Tampopo/Akashi. The dollops of salmon roe were substantial enough, and the chef hadn't added too much mayo. Sashimi was average, what I'd expect from a mid-market Japanese restaurant.
For the salad, what more can I say? Just average sashimi with standard Japanese salad dressing, tossed together with a few leaves.
Still, I knew I had to return with my posse. So, on separate occasions, friends/family have also gone for the Gyuuniku Houbay Yaki Zen (beef set), which proved to be a hot favorite among them. I have to say, the beef was really tender and the set was definitely value-for-money.
Try asking the waiter for tips on what the seasonal items on the menu are. I had the pleasure of trying one of their seasonal items once (deep fried fish with accompanying sauce), and it was heavenly. We ordered another platter shortly after the first was devoured.
One dish that left a really bad impression though, was the grilled Ika. I had so much trouble finishing it - it was just plainly grilled - that I ended up drowning it in teriyaki sauce. However, the restaurant was kind enough to give me the sauce at no additional charge.
This is a place great for a dinner date, secluded enough on a Friday night to avoid the long queues in town, though it might be a little pricey if you're a big eater.
The place is slightly dimly lit giving it a warm and sophisticated glow as the light reflects off the mahogany walls and furniture. It is certainly a good place for couples to have special dinners because there is a quiet and exquisite feel to the place.
The service is also good, as the staff is very lively and friendly, and can speak many languages! Japanese, Cantonese, English and Chinese, she certainly did leave us with a sense of awe.
The food was okay to me, I did not like the udon set that I had ordered, neither did I like the eel set that my friend had. Perhaps this is up to individual taste but I think it would have been better to order something else like Ramen. The set meals are quite large, and they give a wide variety of things on the tray including a little alcoholic fruit dessert and salad, together with your main course and rice.
The pricing is understandable for a high-end restaurant, but I do not feel that it delivered in terms of food, hence was a little disappointing.