Any branch of Sun Restaurant used to be my favourite place for a casual Japanese lunch. Little by little, they did small things that irked me. First, they removed from the menu my favourite lunch set of chopped medium-fatty tuna over rice (all branches), meaning a side order of maguro sushi if I had to have my tuna fix. Next, their sashimi quality went down (Central branch). It was stale like the stuff you get at the lesser kaiten chains. Last and probably least since it’s just a matter of indifferent service, I went to the Central branch for lunch on my birthday and produced a birthday discount voucher. They asked for my identity card as proof but did not breathe a word of happy birthday or even give a smile when they presented me with the bill.
Even though Sun Restaurant isn’t a favourite anymore, I thought I’d return to use up a $10 voucher. Good timing because they were having a wagyu beef promotion. My mum chose the Wagyu Sukiyaki & Tomato Salad and I went for the Wagyu Amiyaki Don & Age Tofu. There was also Hamburger Steak & Green Salad, boasting a Wagyu Score of 9+. Avoided that because I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t just drop the expensive wagyu and add a bit more beef fat into the mincer to make the hamburger.
My Wagyu Amiyaki Don & Age Tofu was good. It consisted of grilled wagyu pieces and a “soft-boiled” egg on rice, with a side of deep-fried tofu. The wagyu was excellent: it tasted of charred teriyaki-esque marinade on the outside and oozed decadent wagyu goodness on first bite. It went well with the preserved ginger and seaweed topping. The perfectly-done poached egg was a soft, comforting counterpoint to the well-seasoned beef, a successful pairing. I liked the deep-fried tofu side even though the tofu tasted more like local tau kwa to me. The deeply savoury dashi sauce further balanced the sweet barbecue marinade of the beef and the boiled vegetable topping was crisp and refreshing.
The sukiyaki looked pretty appetising. Only a dollar more than the regular beef sukiyaki set in the menu, it had the same generous amount of beef slices. The wagyu worked well with the dish because one of the main problems I have with regular sukiyaki is that the beef gets too done. With wagyu you want it to be well-cooked so the fat melts unctuously in your mouth. It sure did with this dish. The only problem was that the sukiyaki sauce was a lot sweeter than normal. It was so sweet that it changed the taste of the salad and pickles, marring the meal. We had to down copious cups of tea to cleanse our palates in between.
When I brought this up with the server, she obligingly checked with the chef. The message was that the sauce was normal and at the correct sweetness. The server was apologetic about it and suggested that we order it less sweet for our next visit. She also sent us a free scoop of macha ice cream with azuki sauce. That was lovely of her, an unexpected and extra-nice finish to our meal. That makes the Chijmes branch my almost-favourite place for Japanese lunch.
After a $10 discount from a Citibank voucher, we paid $36.60 for two set lunches that came with fruit and coffee/tea.
Japanese Dining Sun@ Chijmes
30 Victoria Street #02-01 Chijmes
Tel: 6336 3166