You could say I was a little curious about all this fuss and gush surrounding Watami, and having gave up once standing in line I was more then determined to make my way back here. If you need to know, the time to beat the queue comfortably would be 6.15pm.
Service is nothing short but impressive. You've got to hand it to the Filipino service crew - all dutifully uttering Japanese greetings as you enter the restaurant, presenting a complimentary wet towel to you personally as though it was a medal, telling you politely that they'd be taking orders for complimentary iced or warm water or green tea and then going through your orders in fluent English. What's there not to like, seeing how they would have managed to win the heart of any Singaporean in the first few seconds:
Thought process of typical Singaporean: Complimentary towel? Complimentary drinks? Free? Wow!
For me however, not having to grapple with a bumbling Chinese staff (who may occasionally have trouble understanding simple English) is good enough. Having polite and friendly Filipino waitresses would be a bonus. A tick for service for Watami surely :)
Kani and Hotate Cream Croquette: 4/5
It's interesting to see how fellow food bloggers SistaFood and MyFoodSirens have enjoyed these same little delights as much as I did, and it seems all three of us share similar thoughts on the crab-scallop filling - there wasn't enough of it!
Still, the golden crispy crust and the smooth hot cream combined makes this a simply delicious bite-sized treat. Hold back the temptation to put it all in your mouth though, it's hot! :)
Chicken Katsu Tamago Toji: 4/5
When they placed the little stove on the table I was thinking what a cute little gimmick this is - getting customers into the glee of "cooking" their own food. All you have to do really is to heat the pan, break the egg over it and let it cook and sizzle for a while. I was told that leaving the fire on for too long would make the dish salty, so I just stirred the egg around for a bit before shutting it off.
On taste, it was quite good actually (thanks to my culinary prowess) though the one from Ichiban Boshi would still come out tops for me. Comparatively, the chicken from Ichiban is a wee bit more moist and tender. Portion is slightly larger too, though admittedly it comes with a higher price tag ($10.90++).
Out-of-bounds territory for me, but Daphne thought it was not too bad. Another place that is worth trying would be Tampopo at Liang Court, just in case anyone has any craving of sorts.
To wrap up,
Affordable and decent dinner: $29.60
Excellent and attentive service: $2.50
Satisfaction of seeing the long queue outside: Priceless.
$5.80 for the kani and hotate cream croquette
$7.80 for the chicken katsu tamago toji
$1.80 for a bowl of rice
$9.80 for the chashu ramen
* Prices subject to the usual 7% GST and 10% service charge.
ION Orchard, #B3-23.
Also: The Central at Clarke Quay, #03-82.
First picture source here.