Off goes the old, in comes the new. It was definitely a sad moment for us when Department of Caffeine left their home at Duxton, and all that was revolving around my mind was, would Ninja Bowl be the hero we need at Duxton road? With the tough competition in the area such as the likes of Pince and Pints, Drury Lane, Meatliquor SIN and countless of Korean restaurants, how would Ninja Bowl be able to sneak (it’s more apt for ninjas) to the top?
Helmed by former Power 98 DJ, Darren Wee, who is also the founder of the Astronauts group, Ninja Bowl is his THIRD baby in Singapore. The first being Chillax Cafe and the second, Babette.
It doesn’t come as a surprise to me that Ninja Bowl largely serves up items similar to a grain bowl, on top of their options of sandwiches and all day breakfasts. Each dish is made with a slight twist and executed with Japanese touch, just like their other concepts. This is because of Darren and his wife’s LOVE for visiting Japan and that beautiful place has held many memories and they’ve drew many inspiration from there. Aww.
To me, the place still pretty much reminds me of D.O.C because of how the it is shaped. You know.. Long long one. Narrow-ish aisle and opening up to a slightly bigger space at the back. We especially liked the industrial take of its interior with the black tables which make a good flatlay background for MY pictures.
Here’s the background story of why Ninja bowl is named as such. Besides the nice looking place, the only thing that caught all of our eyes was.. OMG THEY GOT DAMN NICE PLATES. MARBLE ONE LEH. OMG. I don’t know if it’s a food blogger/ instagrammer thing, but that was what we all noticed first. HAHA! Jokers. I loved how the counter looked with the wooden table top and the various “hipster” magazines, i.e. Cereal and Kinfolk for your enjoyment and photograph purposes. Heh heh.
The BEST thing to note about their menu is… They are NETT prices. For the ingredients they use in their bowls and their location, it’s kinda hard to believe that they are of nett prices. And the next best part? None of the items cost above $20!
Coconut Lemon Mint ($8)This came in an unexpectedly HUGE glass. SO HUGE my straw couldn’t reach the bottom of it. This was what it is, coconut juice with lemon wedges and mint leaves. A slight lemony taste to the coconut juice for a refreshing touch, and yay to the generous slices of coconut flesh for me to devour after my meal. HEHE!
A good alternative if you don’t want to get coffee, like ME!
Ninja Bowl offers EIGHT different kinds of bowls. Each of which are served CARB-FREE for those who are anal about their carb count (like me) or just don’t like carbs in general, but you will also have the option to choose add-ons like their Ninja rice, Orzo Pasta or Garden Greens for an additional $2, or quinoa for $3!
Their ninja rice is a blend of vinegared Japanese pearl rice and brown rice with seaweed flakes. Pretty good and low GI, still healthy. I personally LOVED the Orzo rice – it’s a rice-shaped pasta which is tossed with honey, multigrain mustard, miso and chili! The texture was very niceeeeeee! Last of all, garden greens are veggies lor, and quinoa would be great for those who are looking for a high protein option!
1. Yasai ($16) This is the bowl in the foreground. A polynesian-inspired bowl (Polyneisan = ~hawaiian + a few other countries), this one consists of salmon poke mixed with soy and ponzu sauce, as well as balsamic tomatoes, mixed sultanas and an onsen egg. This was well balanced, and not too salty like some of the poke bowls I’ve had previously, drenched in soy/sesame sauce! Haha! This was great and had generous amounts of poke chunks! I’d totally go for the quinoa add on for the low carb option! 😉
2. Kabuki ($14) I really liked how the bows are all so prettily.. Umm.. Bowl-ed. Hahahahaha! Cannot say plated cause it’s in a bowl. The Kabuki is the chicken option! Looks like gyoza to me honestly. HAHA! This consisted of deboned chicken thigh marinated in miso, soy sauce, garlic and honey, then sous vide before it’s seared to give the crisp finish. But due to the amount of time we took for photography and the sauces, the skin of the chicken was no longer as crisp as it should be!The accompaniments of this bowl were the ones that elevated this dish. The baby corn added to the sweetness, while the pickled beetroot gave the savory and tangy finish, and both the beetroot and taugey gave the additional crunch to the dish. Have the components altogether for the amazing burst of flavors in your mouth!
3. Buta ($14)
This was the dish I was most excited for. Pork chashu which have been blow torched to give a smoky finish, and then accompanied with balsamic tomatoes, ume-pickled apples and roasted pumpkin! VERY NICE THE UME PICKLED APPLES! This one was served with the orzo pasta. VERY NICE. HAHA, and generous amounts of pork chashu too, although I had imagined it to be of thicker chunks with more bite. Still very satisfying.
My favorite bowl has got to be the poke bowl because classic is always good, but the Buta bowl came in a close second with that ume pickled apples. Other bowls would include the unagi, tuna, pan-seared scallops and mussels with mushrooms. I’d totally go for the scallop bowl next!
Besides their bowls, they’ve got a menu of all day brunch items with a twist like how the otherwise usual eggs benedict is made with an aburi chashu pork belly and melted cheddar toast, of course topped with poached eggs. Ah I CANNOT
The first look, I really thought the scrambled eggs looked a little lackluster from the ones we are so familiar with in the other cafes. These scrambled eggs look less creamy and paler than usual. BUT taste wise, it was great, and even had that silky mouthfeel. The beef cheek was obviously oh so tender and flavorful, but could get a little too salty if you have it on its own. Best to have it with the eggs and toast. DAMN SHIOK.
5. Ebisu ($18) This is heaven for seafood lovers. FOUR fat and succulent Hokkaido scallops and mussels cooked in the umami cream sauce. VERY VERY VERY ADDICTIVE and umm.. fattening. HAHA! The toast is there to help you soak up every bit of the creamy goodness, and this will really satisfy the tastebuds of any seafood lover!
This pretty plate consists of a thick cut homemade brioche stuffed with homemade fig jam, then drizzled with honey infused umeboshi (pickled plum) and then finished off with a slab of homemade hazelnut butter and an array of unique fruits that you don’t usually find on your french toasts. Not berries, not bananas but FIGS, PLUMS, GREEN GRAPES and EDIBLE FLOWERS. This was probably THE favorite dish of the night. Each of the ingredients were made from scratch in this one, and was invented by Cecilia Wong, the beautiful wife of Darren! That honey infused umeboshi made all the difference in this one. Instead of just a one dimensional sweet dish, the umeboshi added elements of umami into the thick fluffy brioche, and the brioche was just the right amounts of fluffy and thick. I CANNOT. I WANT MORE. I wish they would have an option of the addition of an ice cream though. Like a fig flavored ice cream or something. HEHE!
Do be prepared to wait for 20 minutes if you were to order the fancy french as the components are all made to order! Speaking of waiting time, I’d say you wouldn’t have to worry about waiting too long for your meals at Ninja Bowl as prep time is rather short for their bowls! 😀
It has been a really long time since I’ve enjoyed all the offerings on the menu I’ve tried. I liked everything. The bowls were so hearty and I liked how the healthier and lighter options are made available because it sure is tough finding something that is carb free out there and yet at such affordable prices!
The brunch menu were also a refreshing change from the otherwise usual brunches we get in other cafes. In fact, all their offerings on the menu entice me so much, I was already making plans for a return visit while having my meal there. HAHA! If you’re in the area, Ninja Bowl is definitely worth a try; if you’re not, make a trip down to try them. The hype I’ve heard about this place since its opening were definitely not just a case of overhyping. It is really good.
I think I’ve found my favorite cafe of 2016 in Ninja Bowl.
How to get there?
15 Duxton Road
Monday to Friday: 9.30am to 7.30pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am to 6pm
Dinner service will commence at the END of May!