Ayden’s Food review: Kids’ Menu at CocoICHIBANYA 

  

Ayden is Stellar Communications Consultancy’s resident Junior Critic. Since he was 2 years old, he has been occasionally accompanying me on my food reviews for 8days magazine, particularly at restaurants that are kid-friendly. Like all kids, he is brutally honest and gives solid opinions for my articles. (Yes, he works for his keep hahaha??)

Here’s Ayden checking out cat cafes with me.   

       

  

Ayden even has his own name card, don’t play play! 

  

I’ve got to say, the fella has a good tongue. Ayden once surprised the chef at Foodstruck (a fusion food stall at Pasir Panjang food centre) when he tasted a sauce and said, “There’s some mustard in this.” And he was right — there WAS whole grain mustard in it. Whoa… Respect. 

Ayden has even been attracting his own invitations for food reviews. He did an Instagram review for Stewords Riverboat. We brought his buddy Zac along.

 

    
 

This time, Ayden was invited by CocoICHIBANYA to try out their new kids’ set meal menu. Years ago when they first opened shop in Singapore, I reviewed it for 8Days magazine. I enjoyed their food and have been back countless times with my family, as a paying customer. 

The Nagoya-based giant — the largest Japanese curry chain store in the world — has been dishing out the hot stuff since 1978. It’s not fancy fare but it is comfort Japanese food done well, at affordable prices. It’s one of my go-to spots whenever I crave for Japanese curry. 

I like the fact that I can customize my meal, from choosing the amount of rice,  to adding side dishes, and adjusting the spice level from 1 to 5. I usually go for level 2 or maximum, level 3 — no point burning my tongue to numbness. I depend on my tongue for a living!

We had a taste of their different curries, laid out in innocently white gravy pots, ranging from non-spicy Hayashi hashed beef, to a tongue-numbing sizzler (extreme right in pic). That one will host a dance party in your belly and send smoke puffing out of your head. 
  

Although our review was held at their Plaza Singapura branch, we usually frequent this branch at Star Vista. 

   
It’s a cheap thrill, but I love looking at fake Japanese food displays haha.

 

First, a look at the new kids’ menu. There are 4 options for the main course, which come with a fruit juice and a dessert, priced between $11-$12.

 Ayden chose the Kids’ Omelette Mini Pork Cutlet ($12). Mainly because he always enjoys a good tonkatsu and we couldn’t resist that ketchup smiley face ?
This is what his set looked like — pretty similar to the advertised set, but with a smirk instead of a shy smile. ?

 
 

Here’s Ayden’s honest review:

Ayden says: “The curry is not spicy. I like it! My favourite is the pork cutlet. It is crunchy and crispy. I also like the hot dogs and fries. The hotdogs look like little octopus — so cute! But I don’t like corn and tomato so I gave them to my parents. I don’t really like eggs too but they said eggs are good for me so I had to eat a bit. I ate the smiley face part! I also liked the apple juice and mango pudding.”

Stella says: “The serving is pretty generous for a kid Ayden’s age. Good enough for a smallish adult eater. I like the fact that they served a proper Japanese main course like pork cutlet, creamed mushroom or gyoza instead of say, chicken nuggets. I tasted some of his non-spicy curry. Although there’s no kick for a curry lover, it’s fragrant and tasty enough as a sweet-savoury gravy.”

On the plus side, this kids’ curry meal has made Ayden more adventurous to venture into other curry dishes. He surprised me the other day when he ordered a cheese-baked Japanese curry rice at another restaurant. Looks like the spice bug has bitten!

Other notable dishes: 

You can add toppings to your meal. Choose from a huge menu helpfully categorized according to price. We tried some of our old favourites and some new items. 

Grilled Squid with Mayonaise ($4)

  

Nicely grilled with good bite (not too chewy), topped with a generous squiggle of Japanese mayo. We wolfed down every piece.  

Pork Cutlet ($4)

 This is their signature dish and a must-order. Like Ayden said, this was crispy and crunchy on the outside, the panko nestling a thick-enough meat. Fried Pork cutlets are a hit and miss sometimes. Over fry it and it’s dry and hard (as I’ve sampled at other branches). Thankfully, today’s still retained some juices.

Wagyu Beef Steak Curry ($18.90) 

  
This was surprisingly disappointing. Our Wagyu beef steak was so fatty (and not in a good way) we cut out a good 20% of the steak off. Think we just got unlucky with the day’s cut. The meat itself is nicely pink and tender though our first bite — of a mouthful of chewy fat — did feel very jelak.

Grilled Garlic Prawn Curry ($13.90)  

 
Good-sized firm prawns, lightly grilled with garlic. I enjoyed it for its simplicity. A nice change from the meats I usually pick with my curry. 

Grilled Pork and Kimchi ($4)

I love my tangy dishes and I don’t know why it took me so long to discover this at CocoICHIBANYA (probably because I always order the same thing — Pork Cutlet). The refreshing sour-spicy kimchi helps cut down the gamey flavour of pork. 

Dessert

  

Not house-made but still good. I like the (left) light Chocolate Crepe cake and (right) Matcha Azuki tofu cheesecake (available in good Japanese supermarkets too). The frozen cream puff is usually a kids’ favourite but Ayden only had eyes for this:

  
   

Yes, just 3 plain scoops of ice cream. So gleeful was he at having it all to himself, he couldn’t even wait for a spoon and dove right in. Ahahaha!

One last look at our favourite page of CocoICHIBANYA’s menu. Look at all that variety! 

    
  
Get your Japanese curry fix here:

313@Somerset

13 Orchard Road #B3-25/27 (S)238895

Phone: 6636 7280 Fax: 6636 7280

Operation Hours: Sun – Thur: 10am to 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm

* Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.
BUGIS+

201 Victoria Street #01-10 (S)188067

Phone: 6341 9978 Fax: 6341 9836

Operation Hours: Sun – Thur: 10am to 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm

* Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.

THE STAR VISTA

1 Vista Exchange Green #02-06 (S)138617

Phone: 6570 2457 Fax: 6570 2084

Operation Hours: Sun – Thur: 10am to 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm

* Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.

WESTGATE

3 Gateway Drive #01-02 (S)608532

Phone: 6710 7062 Fax: 6710 7073

Operation Hours: Sun – Thur: 10am to 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm

* Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.

(Alfresco Dining Available)

PLAZA SINGAPURA

68 Orchard Road #03-73 (S)238839

Phone: 6238 7539 Fax: 6238 7540

Operation Hours: Sun – Thur: 10am to 10pm; Fri – Sat: 10am to 11pm

* Last order is 30 minutes before closing time.

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