Is there a sight more alluring than marbled meat all laid out for your enjoyment? This is certified A5 Miyazaki wagyu and Iberico pork belly sliced thinly and placed around a shabu-shabu hotpot almost volcano style.
This is Kyushu Taki Nabe from Shabu EN, the fourth dining concept from EN Group (which also operates EN Sakaba, EN Japanese Dining Bar and Monster Curry). This Japanese wagyu and Spanish pork combo (S$38.80) feeds two and makes a pleasant, interactive shared meal.
The fact that is Japanese wagyu makes all the difference. You know how Australian and other wagyu doesn’t quite taste the same, even if they try to breed or cross-breed the same kind of cattle. There is an aromatic sweetness that is unmistakably the essence that makes wagyu the prized meat it is.
The Taki Nabe features a 40cm hotpot and introduces a new way of enjoying the steamboat dish. The wagyu and pork are layered over cabbage and garnished with spring onions, circling the pot of boiling stock. Simply push in a stack of ingredients, swish them around for a couple of seconds and enjoy!
There are three different broths to choose from. The Dashi Bonito and Kobu soup, which is the best for making porridge with at the very end. Head Chef Tatsuya Nakayama has also created a Paitan Collagen Chicken soup and a Spicy Kara Miso soup using spices from Okinawa.
There are three dipping sauces:
- a ponzu (above) enlivened with shiquasa or shikuwasa limes from Okinawa (it’s super citrusy and really cut through the fat): I really liked this one although some may find it a little too tangy
- goma-dare: the sesame staple with soy and vinegar
- chili sauce: Monster Curry’s spicy and garlicky chili given a touch of sake and ponzu
See that umami broth brimming with flavoursome wagyu and Iberico fat at the end? You simply MUST finish off with a porridge add-on (S$2.50). The friendly wait staff very kindly helped us cook and stir the porridge. Takes about 15-20 minutes but it is so WORTH waiting for!
The other highlight we found is their Jyubako (or “treasure box”) Black Box Bento and I’m referring specifically to the Miyazaki Aburi Wagyu Don Set (an absolute steal at S$22.80) which gives you torched Miyazaki wagyu with sweet soy steak sauce. You can choose your preferred level of doneness, but you can also trust the staff to get the perfect slightly rare grill level. This set is so good, you’ll want another one almost immediately.
The bentos come with miso soup, a supremely delicate ikura chawanmushi, salad and dessert (we got a purple sweet potato ball coated with sesame seeds). Kyushu is well-known for its sweet potatoes.
Other options for the bento include Unatama (grilled eel), pork belly shogayaki, wakatori teriyaki, premium beef yakiniku, chicken/pork katsu tama, and tendon. Prices range from S$13.80 to S$15.80 for these sets. They are also available at Monster Curry Downtown Gallery.
I’m so lucky Shabu EN started this first outlet at Parkway Parade just across from Monster Curry. We are regulars there and the staff already know us well, so we always get fabulous service. My girls and I love hotpot, so we’ll definitely be back for this and the Jyubako Aburi Wagyu!
Meanwhile, there’s a promo going on: get a free plate of Iberico pork belly with every Taki Nabe hotpot (prices start from S$28.80).
#01-11 Parkway Parade
80 Marine Parade Road
tel: +65 6348 6171
Open daily 11am – 10pm
Thank you, Shabu EN for the the invitation and hospitality!