Shinkei Tasting Session

Shinkei Tasting Session
600 Toa Payoh Lorong 4 #01-06

Opening Hours:
Daily: 11:30am - 2:30pm, 6pm - 10:30pm

This was an invited media review. I did not pay for the meal during the free hosted tasting session, but I did pay the standard price during subsequent visits.
Attended with representatives from HungryGoWhere, and Purple Taste.

Decent Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 6
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 6
Service: 7
Value for Money: 6
Budget about SGD $39 ++ per person.


Established in October 2013, Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant, located near Toa Payoh Library, offers a pretty good Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet. With a variety of over 140 small plates, and pricing comparable to other buffet places, Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant is worth a visit.

Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant Signage

It can be slightly hard to locate Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant, as their signage on the exterior of the building isn't prominent. Ambience within Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant resembles a traditional Japanese forest tea house, with dark colours of wood and bright spot lighting. The wooden furniture is solid and modern, and they even have several spacious private rooms! Japanese sake casks are used for decor, as is traditional Japanese lanterns.

Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant Exterior

Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant Interior

Service at Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant is efficient. Staff are friendly and welcoming, and appear happy and cheerful. Orders are taken, and fulfilled quickly, and I like that staff also come around to clear away empty plates. While they're not too familiar with dishes when questioned, I like that they had the initiative to check with the chef and give us the answers.

Table Layout

Sake Casks

Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant Prices

Food at Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant is generally decent, with full flavours. Seasoning and sauces here tend towards the heavy side, but at least the food isn't bland. There are over 140 various items on the menu, from sushi, to tempura, to yakimono, to desserts. Dishes are served in small portions so you can order a variety of items. Pricing is decent as well, budget about SGD $45 per person for the ala-carte buffet here.

Rarely served elsewhere in Singapore, the Beer Orion Premium Draft has a light, slightly sweet taste with little bitterness. Almost similar to a fruit beer, this pale golden ale is very easy to drink, with a pleasant mouth feel. Definitely worth trying!

Beer Orion Premium Draft

I felt the Age Gyoza / Japanese Pork Dumpling was above average, with a nice, meaty bite to the dumpling, and a slightly firm skin that has a hint of crunch. The pork within is moist, and releases a savoury meat juice that coats each bite. Good!

Age Gyoza / Japanese Pork Dumpling

I like the Ebi / Prawn Tempura in the Tempura Moriawase, which is a mixed basket of tempura. The prawns are fresh and meaty, and the tempura crust is light yet crisp. Also included in the basket is Kisu / Japanese Whiting Fish Tempura, Satsumaimo / Sweet Potato Tempura, and Okra / Lady's Finger Tempura.

Tempura Moriawase

The California Maki With Apple Compote is an off menu, chef special. A basic California Maki roll of crabstick, avocado, cucumber, and sushi rice, is topped with a sweet apple compote, creating a savoury, sweet combination of tastes. Unusual, in a good way, it may take some getting used to.

California Maki With Apple Compote

The Sashimi Moriawase platter has several hits, and several misses. The Shake / Salmon sashimi, the Maguro / Tuna sashimi, and the Tako / Octopus sashimi were very good. Loved the fresh taste, we couldn't stop eating it! However, the Hamachi / Yellow Tail sashimi, and the Ika / Squid sashimi were firmer in texture than normal, which made it difficult to eat.

Sashimi Moriawase

A decent Dragon Roll Maki rendition, though the sauce is a tad heavy. But the taste is good, and the prawn within is well portioned and tightly packed.

Dragon Roll Maki

Loved the Chef's Special Signature Oysters, an off menu item. The oysters are fresh, with the signature briny taste of the ocean, yet clean and refreshing with the daikon radish topping and splash of lemon juice. Excellent!

Chef's Special Signature Oysters

The Seared Tuna Loin is an off menu, Chef's special item. I like that the tuna loin is well seared, and the fresh fish results in a very nice texture. Better than some versions I've had elsewhere, this is worth ordering!

Seared Tuna Loin

The Chawanmushi / Steamed Egg Custard is good, with a soft, wobbly texture to the egg custard. The ingredients of straw mushrooms lend a depth of flavour, but the kitchen should have left out the somewhat dry chuck of chicken at the bottom. Overall, quite good, and I would order this again!

Chawanmushi / Steamed Egg Custard

Love the full flavour of the Yaki Gyuniku / Stir Fried Beef, which is cooked together with strips of bell pepper / capsicum, and onions. The taste of savoury with a hint of sweetness, and a slight kick of spicy from the use of pepper is very good. However, I did find the dish to be a bit too oily for my liking.

Yaki Gyuniku / Stir Fried Beef

The Buta Kare / Pork Marinated In Curry is thick, meaty, and juicy, with a nice slab of fat. The curry marinade results in a savoury, slightly spicy taste, almost similar to Singapore Satay, albeit without the crunchy peanut sauce. Good!

Buta Kare / Pork Marinated In Curry

Staff highly recommended the Hokkaido Green Tea Gelato, and it didn't disappoint! The thick, creamy gelato is smooth, and has a decent amount of green tea flavour, without the powdery taste normally present in other versions of green tea ice cream. Probably one of the best items I sampled here, I would visit again just to eat this! Very good, highly recommended!

Hokkaido Green Tea Gelato

Overall, Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant offers a decent meal, and is worth checking out if you're in the area, and aren't picky about food. I'll likely visit again if I'm nearby, just to try other items. All things considered, Shinkei Japanese Ala-Carte Buffet Restaurant is rather middle of the pack as far as Japanese cuisine in Singapore is concerned, not the best around, but not the worst either.