Monday, August 20, 2012

Restaurant at the top of the hill

Went back in time to one of the few places left that still rings a bell in my crumbling memory. Hill Top Japanese Restaurant was where I got my first taste of Japanese food, oh, many decades ago, but I've not been back there since. Situated at the peak of Jurong Hill, it's not exactly immediately accessible, and not quite the first name that pops to mind when anyone suggests going Jap.

Was pleasantly surprised to stumble upon it on and see that it's been going strong after all these years. I just had to go back to relive that first memory.

I recall sitting at the teppanyaki table back then, but today I opted for the regular menu and ordered this beef steak teishoku. This set seemed like a good compromise as what I really wanted was to swim in sashimi, but I wanted to get my teeth into some proper red meat too. This decently sized slab of beef didn't disappoint. Though not rare as I like it, it was still chunky, beefy and tender enough.

This was what I was back for: the salmon sashimi. Way back then, when they told me I was going to eat raw fish I was like, oh, um... brave face and all. My first mouthful of salmon oil, fat and, holy cow... what was that toxic green stuff that sent such noxious vapours racing through my head and respiratory tract??? But wouldn't you know it? After they pulled me out from under the table, I was hooked for life.

June ordered this teriyaki beef ramen on a recommendation. She ate half, and as usual, gave me the rest. Now, that's what I call a beef soup. Drained the bowl. Need I say more? After this, I couldn't go back to my miso. For once, I left my miso barely touched.

Ok, before you get the wrong idea, what I'm describing isn't necessarily what you might expect from fine, exotic dining. The impression I get from the taste and presentation is more down-to-earth and honest; like grandma pottering around the kitchen and cooking from the experience of the family kitchen. That, above all, is the most charming aspect of this odd location. The food tastes of the goodness of home.

Parting thoughts: very reasonably priced. Just a hair over $40 for everything above. Parking is limited (free parking after 1700 hrs!), unless you park at the Bird Park and climb the hill -- now THAT would work up an appetite! Otherwise, just aim to arrive early.

Back to May's for dessert. Along with the wontons of yesterday, she'd also brought back genuine HK custard buns. Here Pebbles photobombs this shot with a sneak attack on my plate.

A custard bun close up. It tastes more eggy and slightly salty, and a lot less gelatinous than the local variety. It's still good, but a day old by now. Should have eaten it yesterday when it was still fresh. Heh. Greedy.

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