IKO Restaurant and Bar located at 65 Neil Road is a contemporary Japanese dining restaurant that opened on 22 April 2021. It is an all-new Mod-Jap restaurant that serves six categories of food including raw, cold, small, robata, rice and noodles, and sweet. Diners get to indulge in Robata-grilled bites, Mod-Jap creation savoury dishes, an exclusive selection of liquor and Japanese-inspired cocktails.
IKO is an abbreviation for ‘let’s go’ in Japanese, while its emordnilap (a word that becomes a different word when read backwards) refers to the word okinami (OKI), meaning ‘offshore wave’ – a nod to Japanese influence on the restaurant.
The restaurant has 55-seat space that has a vibrant neon logo sign with a nine-meter mural of swirling ocean waves and cranes, which are popular elements of Japanese art. The space is also enclosed by concrete walls with plush booth seats and a marble bar.
Helmed by Singaporean Chef Jeremmy Chiam and his friends from the defunct Le Binchotan. Chef Jeremmy is known for his signature European culinary flair and love for Japanese ingredients. Moving on are some of the highlight dishes from the menu of six categories.
Uni S$28.00++We started with this gorgeous Uni creation that serves on top of purple cauliflower pudding. The vegetable is simmered in dashi broth on low heat to accentuate its natural nutty flavour, blitzed then combined cream. A layer of homemade dashi jelly made with a combination of kombu (kelp) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes). What a great way to start the night!
Pink ume-infused Japanese noodle served in a light bisque foam and the whole praws are oven-roasted till caramelized, sauteed with mirepoix, dried Japanese scallops, dried shrimps, and dried anchovies then simmered in stock for up to 8 hours for the aromatic base. The dish is complete with green chive oil and shiso oil, two torched botan ebi, ikura and purple viola flowers. This cold somen dish presentation totally elevate the visual and our appetite as well.
Tai ‘Crudo” S$23.00++
Fresh Tai (Japanese red snapper) is cured with salt and sugar, then served with a citrusy sauce made from ponzu, sudachi zest and shoyu. Aji Amarillo paste (yellow pepper) is added for that extra punch, while shiso oil lends an herbaceous aroma. The firm-flesh white fish excels in this crudo dish with every ingredients used to enhance the flavour and texture.
Burnt Aubergine S$12.00++
Charred eggplant is slathered in rich sesame yoghurt sauce, while wild rice, toasted white sesame, La-Yu oil and shichimi gomma add a touch of nuttiness and heat. The eggplant itself becomes more mild, soft, and creamy texture once cooked and with a good mixture of the seasonings, this turns out flavourful.
Small here refers to IKO small plates that recommended for sharing and pairing with sake to chill and relax after work. As for this bowl of Asari, it is cooked in sake broth and dashi with enoki and butter. The addition of butter gives the beautiful depth in flavour of the dish. We enjoyed the light and slight buttery taste of the broth.
Robata section consists of prized seafood and meats that are chargrilled over binchotan. It is a traditional Japanese white charcoal that exudes high heat and requires deft skills on the grill to control.
Iberico Pluma S$36.00++
Glistening slab of pork loin served atop a bed of house-made carrot puree and raisin. Pluma refers to the special cute taken from the neck end of pork loin. The meat is grilled to a satisfying char, while retaining a tender and succulent interior. The fat rendered in reduced into a rich and flavorsome mustard jus, with a hint of heat to complement the prized cut.
Angus Short Ribs S$38.00++
Featuring the meat that is tenderized in kurozu black vinegar, then sous vide for up to 14 hours before resting in an ice bath. To serve, it is lightly charred on the Robata, then drizzled with port wine jus and garlic confit.The short ribs explode with flavour and every bite is umami indeed.
Japanese Black Cod S$38.00++
My top favourite dish of the night comprises a thick fillet that has been meticulously cured in saikyo miso for up to 72 hours for maximum flavour, then grilled till tender and buttery; fresh sudachi zest brightens the dish.Oiishi neh!It is a good portion of black cod as you rarely see it in most restaurants and the price point is reasonable too.
RICE AND NOODLES
Mushroom Donabe S$30.00++
Umami bowl of velvety and silky Japanese rice cooked in shiitake broth with fresh shimeji and king oyster mushroom, served with a dollop of aromatic black truffle paste. It is also a vegan dish option in the menu.
74% Dark Chocolate S$18.00++
Lastly, we had the treat of decadent dark chocolate cremeux, raspberry white chocolate meringue, beetroot jelly and freeze-dried yogurt bits, served atop crushed caramelized hazelnut.
And not forgetting the bar that offers exotic selections of sake, wines and cocktails like vegan sake Nanbubijin Junmai Daiginjo Omachi (S$118.00 per 720ml) and Ki No Bi Tea (SS$23.00 per glass), a gin made with Tencha and Gyokuro teas and Grace Gris de Koshu (S$22.00 per glass), a crisp, light-bodied white wine with subtle citrus and white peach flavours and more.
IKO Restaurant and Bar
Address: 65 Neil Road
Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30AM-2:30PM | 5:30PM-10:3-PM
Tel: Reservation 8866 5218