Shin Kushiya

Shin Kushiya
1 Harbourfront Walk
#02-120 VivoCity

33 Pekin Street
#01-01 Far East Square

1 Maju Avenue
#02-03 MyVillage

3 Temasek Boulevard
#01-031 Suntec City

Trio Of Sashimi - Shake, Maguro, Mekajiki
Trio Of Sashimi - Shake, Maguro, Mekajiki (SGD $24.60)

Decent Japanese Grilled Skewers

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 6
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 7
Service: 7
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $40 per person.


Shin Kushiya is a Japanese Charcoal Grill Restaurant, which prides itself on hand grilling skewers over specially imported charcoal called 'Bincho' (White Charcoal). The more popular items here include the various Kushiyaki Japanese skewers, the Zensai appetisers, Yakimono grilled meats and seafood, and fresh Sashimi.

I find Shin Kushiya to be rather dimly lit, even during the day, as the decor mostly consists of dark brown / wooden colour shades. Not so ideal for photography, but somewhat ideal for dates... provided you visit during non-peak periods. As the tables at Shin Kushiya are quite closely packed, during peak periods, you'll be able to pick up other people's conversations, and the place can get quite noisy.

Service at Shin Kushiya is rather efficient and polite, even during peak periods... As long as you can attract their attention. Thumbs up to them for accommodating our seating requests during our visit!

Shin Kushiya is a good place for light meals, or light bites, seeing as they specialize in skewers. There is quite a good variety available, and the ingredients are fresh. Prices are higher than average though. Will visit Shin Kushiya again to sample some other dishes!


Cod Teriyaki

Shishamo, Pork And Enoki Mushroom, Pork Belly

Chicken Balls, Mushrooms, Teriyaki Chicken

Tofu Cheesecake


Update Jun-2017: Returned to Shin Kushiya after more than 4 years. The other outlets haven't done so well, but their flagship outlet at VivoCity is still going strong, and regularly draws in crowds.

Ambience at Shin Kushiya remains modern, casual, and functional. The place is still dimly lit, neatly arrayed with comfortable cushioned booths and simple wooden furniture in shades of brown and black. Those fortunate enough to sit by the floor-to-ceiling windows will get a great view of the harbour and Sentosa island. And for those seated at the bar counter, the opportunity to watch the chefs at work and engage with them is another highlight.

Service at Shin Kushiya is courteous, efficient, and attentive. Staff move about regularly, making it easy to attract their attention. They accede to requests, and carry them out efficiently. I note that staff also clear away empty / dirty tables quickly. They have decent product knowledge and can explain in simple terms some of the dishes on the menu, which is commendable because the extensive menu has so many varied options.

Food at Shin Kushiya is still focused on Japanese robatayaki / kushiyaki / grilled skewers, though they've since expanded their menu to include other grilled dishes too. Generally, dishes are decently tasty, slightly above average in quality. For what it's worth, I wouldn't travel here just to eat at Shin Kushiya, but I don't mind dining here if I'm already in VivoCity. Portions are nicely sized for individuals. However, prices are relatively higher than elsewhere. Budget about SGD $40 per person for a full meal here.

The Beer Asahi Super Dry (SGD $11) is a Japanese pale lager, brewed by Asahi Breweries in Tokyo, within the Kanto region of Japan. This bright, clear golden yellow brew has a tame aroma of hops, grass, corn, and apples, with a smooth, refreshing, medium body and medium carbonation. Taste is floral bitter sweet, with notes of wheat, rice, malted barley, and lemon citrus, with a super dry, crisp finish. Very drinkable.

Beer Asahi Super Dry (SGD $11)

Found the Onsen Tamago (SGD $3.80) rather unusual here. I loved the rich, sweet savoury eggy, runny soft boiled egg, served in the chilled tsuyu sauce of mirin, dashi / seaweed, and light soy sauce. However, I hated that they included stalks of spinach within, which gave this appetizer an overall bitter vegetal flavour. Skip this.

Onsen Tamago (SGD $3.80)

The Cha Soba (SGD $10.80) here is very good. The green tea infused soba / buckwheat noodles have a light grain flavour, with a bouncy chewy texture, and a hint of green tea at the finish. The chilled tsuyu sauce of mirin, dashi / seaweed, and light soy sauce, coats the noodles in a slippery shiny sheen. Garnish each bite with a little daikon radish and spring onions for added fragrance. Good!

Cha Soba (SGD $10.80)

The modern fusion dish of Buta Kimuchi (SGD $10.80) features thinly sliced pork loin and pork belly strips, pan-fried along with Kimchi Baechu / Kimchi Pickled Cabbage, garnished with chilled shredded daikon radish. The sauce had completely coated the pork, giving it a savoury sour spicy flavour. Personally, I find it too intense for my liking, but she found it very tasty.

Buta Kimuchi (SGD $10.80)

Loved the Gindara Teriyaki (SGD $19.80), which has a nice medium sized, fresh cod fish fillet, in a sweet savoury teriyaki sauce. The cod fish has a tender, moist, flaky texture, with a buttery creamy mouthfeel. There is a hint of smoky aroma in this perfectly grilled dish. Highly recommended!

Gindara Teriyaki (SGD $19.80)

Gindara Teriyaki
Gindara Teriyaki

The Shishamo Maki (SGD $12.80) is perfect for sharing, though I felt the sushi rice portion was a little too much, and could have been reduced. But it's definitely tasty, the crunchy juicy cucumber, earthy seaweed, sweet savoury crab meat, salty savoury smoky bacon, and briny salty sweet shishamo / capelin fish stuffed within. Nice layers of flavour and texture, very innovative. Highly recommended!

Shishamo Maki (SGD $12.80)

Shishamo Maki
Shishamo Maki

Shishamo Maki

Being a Japanese robatayaki / kushiyaki / grilled skewers place, they naturally offer a wide variety of grilled items on the menu.

Selection Of Skewers
Selection Of Skewers

Love the bright and juicy Cherry Tomatoes (SGD $2.20) skewer. Provides a nice refreshing contrast of zesty sweet to counter the heavier grilled meats and the bold savoury Tare basting sauce.

Cherry Tomatoes
Cherry Tomatoes (SGD $2.20)

The chewy Shiitake Mushrooms (SGD $2) skewer is a tad dry, but still palatable. The earthy savoury flavour is decent enough.

Shiitake Mushrooms
Shiitake Mushrooms (SGD $2)

The Zucchini Miso (SGD $2.40) skewer is so juicy, bursting out when bit. The miso sauce lends a touch of earthy savoury flavour, complmenting the natural vegetal sweet flavour here. Good!

Zucchini Miso
Zucchini Miso (SGD $2.40)

The Shoyu Yaki Onigiri (SGD $2.20) skewer features grilled Japanese short grain white rice, basted in a light soy sauce glaze. The texture is slightly crispy, slightly glutinous sticky, with a fragrant aroma and a sweet salty flavour. Very nice.

Shoyu Yaki Onigiri
Shoyu Yaki Onigiri (SGD $2.20)

The Miso Yaki Onigiri (SGD $2.20) skewer features grilled Japanese short grain white rice, coated with an earthy savoury miso sauce glaze. The texture is slightly crispy, slightly glutinous sticky, with a fragrant aroma and a sweet earthy savoury flavour, plus you get a light hint of grain. Very nice.

Miso Yaki Onigiri
Miso Yaki Onigiri (SGD $2.20)

The classic Yakitori (SGD $2.20) skewer has moist, chewy chunks of boneless chicken thigh meat, coated in a light soy sauce glaze. Good flavour notes of savoury salty, but I felt the chicken could have been more tender.

Yakitori (SGD $2.20)

The Negima (SGD $2.40) skewer has moist, chewy chunks of boneless chicken thigh meat, along with fresh crunchy sliced leeks, all coated in a light soy sauce glaze. The vegetables lend a sweet vegetal contrast to the savoury salty flavour of the chicken. Worth ordering!

Negima (SGD $2.40)

The Uzara Tamago (SGD $2.20) skewer has a trio of quail eggs, hard boiled then basted in a light soy sauce glaze. Texture is soft and bouncy, with flavours being eggy sweet salty.

Uzara Tamago
Uzara Tamago (SGD $2.20)

The Tsukune (SGD $2.40) skewer features hand-formed chicken meat balls, all made in-house. Texture is moist bouncy chewy, with a bold savoury salty flavour, underpinned by a light sweetness. I noticed they added small carrots within to bind the minced chicken meat tighter. Pretty alright skewer.

Tsukune (SGD $2.40)

The Buta Bara (SGD $2.40) skewer has fatty juicy strips of pork belly, carrying a light smoky aroma, and a beautiful savoury salty flavour. A soft crunch on the exterior, while the interior is nicely tender. Good!

Buta Bara
Buta Bara (SGD $2.40)

The Enoki Maki (SGD $3) skewer has thin strips of salty savoury pork belly, wrapped around sweet earthy enoki mushrooms / golden mushrooms. There is a nice juicy crunch when bit, and a hint of smoky aroma. Good!

Enoki Maki
Enoki Maki (SGD $3)

The Aspara Maki (SGD $3.20) skewer has crunchy stalks of earthy vegetal sweet asparagus, wrapped in thin strips of salty savoury pork belly. Flavour is decent.

Aspara Maki
Aspara Maki (SGD $3.20)

The Gyu Karubi (SGD $4.40) skewer has a tender yet meaty slab of prime beef. Done till medium, it has a satisfiying juicy chew, with a good salty savoury peppery flavour. Good!

Gyu Karubi
Gyu Karubi (SGD $4.40)

The Prime Black Angus Ribeye (SGD $6.80) skewer uses a premium cut of black angus beef, and the quality shows. Done to your preference (I suggest medium rare), it has a tender chew, yielding easily when bit. The natural meat juices just coat the palate the delicious salty savoury fatty flavour. Good!

Prime Black Angus Ribeye
Prime Black Angus Ribeye (SGD $6.80)

The Hotate Fry (SGD $5.60) skewer has a trio of small but meaty Hokkaido scallops, lightly breaded. This gives it a slightly crisp, grainy texture, while the scallops retain their bouncy texture and sweet flavour. However, I note that they've used frozen scallops instead of fresh, so both taste and texture aren't as good as it could be. Decent.

Hotate Fry
Hotate Fry (SGD $5.60)

The Kaki Fry (SGD $5.80) skewer has a duo of lightly breaded oysters. The exterior is nicely crisp with a grainy mouthfeel, while the interior is moist and creamy, with a delicate briny salty sweet flavour from the oysters. Decent.

Kaki Fry
Kaki Fry (SGD $5.80)

With the Ika Sugatayaki (SGD $14.80), they've basted a whole squid in teriyaki sauce, then charcoal grilled it. The squid has a bouncy, chewy texture, with a light smoky aroma. Flavour is derived mainly from the bold savoury salty teriyaki sauce, the squid itself has little flavour on its own, seeming to me like the air-dried then rehydrated version, instead of being fresh. Not spectacular, but not terrible, it borders on average.

Ika Sugatayaki (SGD $14.80)

Ika Sugatayaki
Ika Sugatayaki

The Tosei Saba Yaki (SGD $12.80) features a whole fillet of Japanese mackeral fish, deboned and marinated in a light soy sauce, then grilled over charcoal. This makes the exterior crisp, taking on a smoky aroma, while the interior of the fish remains moist, tender, and flaky. Each bite has a bold sweet savoury flavour, though I would have liked it to be a little more salty. Worth ordering!

Tosei Saba Yaki
Tosei Saba Yaki (SGD $12.80)

Tosei Saba Yaki

The Grilled Chicken Teriyaki (SGD $11.60) features charcoal grilled chicken thigh, in a home made teriyaki sauce. The chicken meat is tender and moist, with a delightfully crispy skin, and a savoury sweet flavour. The teriyaki sauce is properly robust in taste, with notes of salty sweet savoury. Pretty alright dish, thought I felt it could have been better if the chicken was basted and grilled with the sauce.

Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
Grilled Chicken Teriyaki (SGD $11.60)

The Satsuma Imo (SGD $6.80) features charcoal grilled chunks of sweet potato. Nice soft texture, with a smoky savoury sweet flavour. This pairs well as a side dish, and is best shared. Good!

Satsuma Imo (SGD $6.80)

Satsuma Imo
Satsuma Imo

Loved the Trio Of Sashimi - Shake, Maguro, Mekajiki (SGD $24.60), with its thick, meaty cuts of fresh salmon, tuna, and swordfish. Each slice of fish is clean-tasting, with a light sweet savoury flavour. The thickness allows for a nice texture, very satisfiying. Not the best in quality, but good enough. Worth ordering!

Trio Of Sashimi - Shake, Maguro, Mekajiki
Trio Of Sashimi - Shake, Maguro, Mekajiki (SGD $24.60)