When you feel like having a meaty feast, you may think of heading to a yakiniku restaurant to indulge in the best pork and beef cuts. But there are times when you just want to relax and chitchat with friends over dinner and drinks, instead of having to cook the food yourself. Enter: Yen Yakiniku.
Inspired by the acclaimed Da Wan Yakiniku in Taipei, this modern-day restaurant along Ann Siang Road gives you the full experience of savouring these perfectly cooked meats prepared by the grill chefs themselves.
For a much more personalised experience, the interiors are kept small and cosy with black walls (accented with charcoal décor and paintings) and ambient lighting. The main attraction is the long counter table that fits 24 diners comfortably. Manning it are four grill experts, headed by chef/owner Jones Chen, formerly from the acclaimed Taiwanese yakiniku place.
Having worked for the previous restaurant for eight years, he has curated a menu that brings the best and high quality meats, seafood and so much more in one place.
It’s best to start with something light, and Yen salad is a good choice. It comes as a big bowl of julienned cabbage, drizzled with homemade sesame dressing and topped with fried tofu and sesame seeds. The starter’s freshness is enough to open the appetite for the heavier options.
After this comes the best part: Yen’s specialties. This is where you’ll find the different cuts of pork, beef and seafood. A good way to start is with the ox tongue, thinly sliced by chef Jones. It’s grilled to medium rare so you can still feel the tenderness on every bite, but for an additional flavour, it’s topped with minced onions and scallions.
A good follow-up is the pork jowl with impressive marbling. Chef seasons it lightly with salt and pepper, before it’s cooked over charcoal for a few seconds. The timing is so precise so it’s slightly charred and smoky without losing its tenderness. You can eat it on its own and revel in its rich flavour, or you can squeeze a bit of lemon juice to give it a different character.
Since day one, the popular favourites have been the oyster blade and the Japanese wagyu ribeye. Once you get a taste of these, you will easily know why. The former has the melt-in-the-mouth texture, while the latter comes in two parts: ribeye cap and striploin offering different flavour profiles.
It’s recommended to start with the cap as it’s softer and buttery due to higher marbling. It’s topped with freshly-prepared wasabi to cut through the heaviness. The striploin has lesser marbling but is still good and juicy.
Complete the meal with non-meat options. There are a lot of choices to be had, such as the Hokkaido scallop, grilled medium rare so there’s a slight smokiness that doesn’t overpower its sweetness; as well as eringi mushrooms, asparagus, Japanese yam and corn.
Yen Yakiniku | 15 Ann Siang Road, S(069695) | Call 6221 6380