2 Orchard Turn
#04-11A & #05-01 ION Orchard

Fine BBQ Japanese Wagyu Dining

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 9
Food & Beverage: 9
Service: 8
Value for Money: 7
Spent about SGD $280 per person.



Had one of the most expensive meals of my life thus far, at Magosaburo. A posh Japanese BBQ / barbecue / yakiniku grill restaurant specialising in wagyu beef, Magosaburo is part of an international chain, which was first established in Kumamoto Prefecture, on the Kyushu island of Japan in 2009. Magosaburo opened its ultra-luxurious, swanky flagship store in Ion Orchard shopping mall in December 2012.

Ambience at Magosaburo is posh extravagance, a little intimidating. No dressing down here, you'll actually have to look presentable! Colours of black, gold, and silver abound, resembling a premium lounge, with private booths and quiet corners. While seats are spaced close together, diners are almost never seated next to another group, always 1 table or booth apart... lending a sense of privacy. Extravagant looking chandeliers hang from the ceiling, and the windows offer a view of Orchard Road. Upon nightfall, blue neon lights dance across the facade, like fireworks in the dark. Feels like the high life!

Service at Magosaburo is great, but not quite the standard I expect from a fine dining restaurant. Staff are mainly young Japanese, presentably dressed in business suits, but speaking in halting English. They offered to change plates regularly throughout our meal, but forget to change the plates of 2 diners at one point. However, they did accede to special requests we had, including helping us grill our food away from the table. I did find them knowledgable, able to introduce each dish and describe how it was prepared.

Food at Magosaburo is very good, and the skill in preparing it is excellent. Cuisine is distinctly modern Japanese, with a focus on sourcing the very finest of beef, pork, and seafood, preparing and cooking it with care, then presenting it and allowing the natural flavours to shine on the plate. In fact, it's a waste to visit Magosaburo if you don't eat beef, as the wagyu is the star here. Portions of individual items are small, and come individually priced, but the set meals are substantial and filling. Prices at Magosaburo are high, be prepared to splurge between SGD $150 - $300 per person for a meal here.


The place has a luxurious, bespoke, boutique hotel or lounge feel. You're almost compelled to dress up when dining here, and the long, slow, expensive meals are perfect for the rich to discuss business.

Magosaburo Exterior

Magosaburo Interior

Magosaburo Seating

Magosaburo Lights

Elaborate Lights

Lamp Shadows

The Marine Tartar Cracker - Hokkaido King Crab Meat, Scallop & Mentaiko (only available on the set menu) features fresh, deshelled chunks of king crab and minced scallops, sweet with flavour, dressed in a savoury mentaiko sauce, served on a crisp, non-greasy wonton skin cracker. Garnished with edible flower petals and a sour, sharp, tart vinaigrette, this starter / amuse bouche can be eaten in a decadent bite, or slowly savoured by nibbling. Love how fresh tasting and delicious it is!

Marine Tartar Cracker - Hokkaido King Crab Meat, Scallop & Mentaiko

The Fresh Mizu-Na Salad With Wasabi Dressing Topped With Fried Burdock (SGD $16) features fresh, crunchy Japanese mustard leaves / mizuna, topped with dried seaweed flakes, and strips of fried burdock root, dressed with a umami, slightly salty, miso dressing, with wasabi emulsion on the side. Not overly salty, the combination of crunch and chewy is pleasant, and makes you want to keep eating. The combination of salty, savoury, sweet, and sharp tastes is rather delightful.

Fresh Mizu-Na Salad With Wasabi Dressing Topped With Fried Burdock

The Marinated Wagyu Beef In Kyoto Miso With Caviar (only available on the set menu) is served within a hollowed orange, with savoury strips of marinated wagyu beef in a slightly salty, umami Kyoto style miso sauce, topped with briny black caviar. Incredibly addictive, you get the hit of the miso gravy which is not overly salty, the savoury taste of the meat, which is tender and juicy with a light citrus sweetness, and the explosion of ocean freshness from the caviar. Excellent!

Marinated Wagyu Beef In Kyoto Miso With Caviar

The Chawanmushi Plain (SGD $8) is like a test of their skill, how good can an egg custard be? The version here, even plain, is pretty good, with a soft, slippery, wobbly texture, and good egg flavour. I think it's rather expensive though, and you'll probably get more value for money ordering the other premium flavours.

Chawanmushi Plain

Kobe Wagyu (SGD $240 Set Menu) is the highest grade of wagyu, the pinnacle of beef, sourced from Tajima cattle born in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan, raised and processed according to strict conditions. The premium pricing it commands is evident in the taste, the tender, medium-rare yakiniku / grilled beef with high marbling is heavenly, with a savoury, meaty, fatty flavour, seemingly melts in the mouth and coats the palate pleasurably. Incredibly good, highly recommended!

Beef Raw Presentation - Kobe Wagyu

Beef Grilled - Kobe Wagyu

A trio of premium beef cuts presented on a beautiful platter. The Zabuton (SGD $53 / 80g) is carved from the chuck under blade, and as befits its Japanese name of 'cushion', has a tender, very buttery, almost creamy, luscious texture, with a savoury, rich flavour that has a hint of sweetness. Incredibly good, highly recommended! The Kurimi (SGD $45 / 80g) is carved from the chuck tender, and has a tender texture with some chew, savoury in taste, but releases a more pronounced sweetness when bit. The Tenderloin (SGD $108 / 120g) is incredibly soft and tender, but I find it lacks that beefy, meaty pronounced flavour that is present in the other cuts. This was the weakest cut of beef I had here.

Beef Raw Presentation - Zabuton, Kurimi, Tenderloin

Beef Raw Presentation - Zabuton

Beef Raw Presentation - Kurimi

Beef Raw Presentation - Tenderloin

Beef Grilled - Zabuton

Beef Grilled - Kurimi

Beef Grilled - Tenderloin

The Mangalican Pig is a Hungarian domesticated pig that is noted for its thick, wooly coat. These free-range pigs are raised and processed according to strict conditions, resulting in pork meat that has a high fat marbling, exceptionally tender compared to other cuts of pork, and are often called the 'Kobe beef of pork'. The Mangalican Pig Boston Butt (SGD $18 / 120g) cut is carved from the pork shoulder. The tender, medium-rare yakiniku / grilled pork has a delicate savoury sweet, not heavy, elegant flavour, and fat which seemingly melts in the mouth. Incredibly good, highly recommended!

Pork Raw Presentation - Mangalican Pig Boston Butt

Pork Grilled - Mangalican Pig Boston Butt

The Seafood here is very fresh, and large in size! The Hokkaido Scallop Hotate (SGD $12 / 1 piece) is large and fresh, incredibly meaty with a bouncy texture and delicate sweetness. Highly recommended! In contrast, the large King Prawn Ebi (SGD $18 / 2 pieces) is meaty but grilled till dry, and I felt it was a total waste. The deshelled prawn heads, presented separately, are very flavourful though, filled with savoury juice, and possibly the best part of this overall weak ingredient. Still, I think the prawn is not worth the money.

Seafood Raw Presentation - Hokkaido Scallop Hotate & King Prawn Ebi

Seafood Raw Presentation - Hokkaido Scallop Hotate

Seafood Raw Presentation - King Prawn Ebi

Seafood Grilled - Hokkaido Scallop Hotate

Seafood Grilled - King Prawn Ebi

Seafood Grilled - King Prawn Ebi

A sampler platter of Premium Sushi, really fresh ingredients, on perfectly moulded, nicely treated sushi rice that has a slightly sour, tangy taste from the vinegar. The Torched Blue Fin Fatty Tuna Otoro (SGD $13 / 1 piece) has nicely torched tuna fish, meaty and savoury, with a pleasant oily, fatty taste that is the highlight of this cut. The Eggplant With Tuna Fish Flakes Kamo Yasai Katsuobushi (seasonal price) has a firm, nicely grilled eggplant half, crunchy and slightly salty, topped with savoury, umami fish flakes. The Beef Miyazaki Wagyu (only available on the set menu) features a slice of medium-rare beef, sourced from top grade, award-winning Miyazaki wagyu. It's known for its cherry red colour, smooth velvety texture, juicy, non-greasy, and delicate savoury taste that lingers on the palate.

Premium Sushi - Torched Blue Fin Fatty Tuna Otoro, Eggplant With Tuna Fish Flakes Kamo Yasai Katsuobushi, Beef Miyazaki Wagyu

Premium Sushi - Eggplant With Tuna Fish Flakes Kamo Yasai Katsuobushi

Premium Sushi - Torched Blue Fin Fatty Tuna Otoro

Premium Sushi - Beef Miyazaki Wagyu

The savoury, generous portion of Ox Tail Soup (SGD $18) features soft, sweet onions, and meaty, tender cuts of beef. I detect a hint of sweetness, which I suspect is from the use of wine. A hearty, comforting soup / broth, perfect as either an appetizer, or to round off the meal. Worth ordering!

Ox Tail Soup

A decent dessert, the Mago Tiramisu (SGD $10) has good coffee flavour, and is soft and moist. Not the best I've had, although I liked the crunchy caramelised nuts at the side. Weird that a Japanese restaurant would have this on the menu. I think it's not good value for money, and not worth ordering.

Mago Tiramisu

"The other night,
With twinkling lights,
A view from this height,
T'was a nice sight,
But the price,
Not so right,
Is a fright,
Now quite tight..."
- Poem By: Ivan Teh RunningMan