The students from CNM Camp had played a game during one of the nights and there found out that a few people had never been to Marche. While a trip to Marche was underway, many protested against the less than impressive food (since its heyday at Heeren) and plans were made to go to Shokudo instead. It turned out that even more people had never stepped inside Shokudo before, so it was a good switch. Or so we hoped.
Shokudo does not have the practice of accepting reservations during dinner, which probably explains for the snaking long queues you see everytime. Whether or not this is because of the relatively slow pace of bringing customers in or a marketing ploy to impress upon others that there is something inside worth queueing up for, it can be a pain trying to get a place for 30+ people and some of us had to come at 5.30pm to reserve seats. Even so, the management had to continuously warn us that they would have to offer the seats around our area to ordinary customers if less than 80% of our group were present by 6pm. You can imagine how some of us were so tired of waiting, especially those who came as early as 5pm to make sure there weren't any complications. Still, they needed 50% of our group to be around before they let us in. At 5pm, there wasn't even a queue to speak of, but they mentioned that they had reserved a small area for all of us, so even if we wanted to walk in as ordinary customers, we couldn't go anywhere near that.
If you have never been to Shokudo before, it's very much modelled after Marche (even the fonts on the glass panels look alike), where you use a cashcard-like card (given to you upon entry) to purchase your food and then pay on check-out. There's a myriad of stalls spread out across the area, so do take some time to walk around and think about what you want to eat. If you're planning to stay for a long while, it would be good to really start with appetisers, then main courses, then sides, and then desserts, one by one, rather than ordering everything at one go.
The reason is because you have to collect your food immediately after it is done, and if you find yourself delayed waiting for your other dishes, your food will actually turn cold pretty fast even if it's still there at the stall. This was something so many of us found out as we were busy walking around looking at the other things on offer and mulling over what to order next, before eventually remembering that we had to collect our food!
Plain Rosti: 6/10
We thought Marche's at Vivocity was bad, but this wasn't much better to be honest. The rosti, pan-fried fine-sliced potatoes, was slightly crispy on the outside but was too oily for our liking.
Another one of our friends had this, and we heard that the pork sausage was quite good, eventhough she had the same complaint that the rosti was oily. A tilt of the plate was all that was needed.
And if you're wondering about price, there you go =)
Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl: 5.8/10
I was really intent on eating a donburi - Japanese rice bowl, but was disappointed to find that while they could have a pork katsu (fried cutlet) rice bowl, the chicken one on the other hand could only be chicken pieces rather than from a crispy cutlet. Still, I went for it, but even at the end I'm sure it would have tasted better with a chicken cutlet. To think that the connecting stall sells chicken cutlet, and is the stall where they get the pork cutlet from! I liked the egg, but I felt that the rice below was too dry and not moist enough. I was initially complaining about the oversized bowl, but surfing through the Net made me realise that it was meant to be served in such a way, characteristic of a donburi.
Tempura Rice Bowl: 7/10
Daphne had this, and contrary to mine, found her rice too soggy. The tempura was crispily good though.
Here you go for the prices.
Mushroom and Cheese Japanese Style Omelette: 8.3/10
After seeing how many others were praising their omelettes, me and Daphne decided to share one, and chose the mushroom and cheese filling. This turned out to be really good, and truly saved the dinner for the both of us. The omelette was soft and really matched the smooth fillings inside, which tasted great as well. It was quite interesting watching the chef cook this, you should do it as well, and perhaps try it at home!
And if you're thinking what other combinations they offer, they also have fillings like ham and cheese as well as bacon.
Omu rice with Hamburg / Omu rice with Chicken Cutlet
Xiaowei and Gaia had these, but they found it all average. "Omu rice" is really just rice in ketchup wrapped in plain omelette and "hamburg" is, as the name suggests, like a hamburger beef patty.
Generally, the food at Shokudo is really nothing to shout about, it's really average, but at least it isn't that pricey. We didn't have enough room for dessert, but if you're wondering what's good, we strongly recommend the Homemade Cheesecake.
It was quite irritating going back and forth with the reservations, and all that useless explanations about "company policy", but the service indoors was quite good and friendly. The clean-up ladies weren't as friendly though, they appeared quite angry with our big group and actually pushed their way through insisting on clearing our tables as fast as they could.
$4.80 for the plain rosti
$6.80 for the chicken and egg rice bowl
$7.80 for the tempura rice bowl
$5.80 for the mushroom and cheese omelette
$2.50 for a can of coke / sprite
Even when it's all pretty much self-service, the 10% service charge still applies, as well as the usual 7% GST.
Raffles City Basement
If you like Japanese food, I urge you to try Ichiban Boshi! =)