Kenboru at SMU
I mean, I want to eat healthy. But between the bland taste and hefty price tags of healthy food, it was always easier and more affordable to indulge in my sinful eating habits. That is, until I chanced upon Kenboru, a newly opened eatery at SMU. According to my sources, this place has it all – torched rice bowls, wholesome ingredients and pocket-friendly prices. But was it too good to be true? I had to find out.
Food at Kenboru
Even before we received the food, Kenboru was already scoring points for presentation. All of the bowls were flamed right in front of us, and it was especially impressive how they manipulated the flame to torch the meat without getting any of the other ingredients singed.
The smokey smell of flamed meat got me all excited to dig in. We decided to start with the Smoked Salmon Mentaiko With Fish Roe ($10.90), which is apparently one of the most popular dishes here.
It’s not hard to see why. The house-made mentaiko sauce had a sharp yet savoury taste, and when you add it to the lightly charred salmon and fish roe, the results are super addictive.
My only complaint is that some bits of the Japanese rice was a bit plain. But that was because the owners wanted to achieve a balance between tasty and healthy food, so they didn’t douse everything in sweet donburi sauce. Plus, it was totally our own fault for thinking the food was “too pretty to be mixed”.
No such mistake with our next dish, Flamed Teriyaki Chicken Thigh ($6.90). If you’re thinking of ditching carbs, romaine lettuce is also available as a base. But we decided to try cha soba instead, accompanied by roasted sesame dressing.
Like all the other bowls here, this one came with an array of colourful greens and a creamy sous vide egg. Rich yellow yolk oozed out when I pulled back the egg white – the hallmark of a great runny egg.
After some culinary action with my disposable utensils, I tried a forkful of well-mixed soba and chicken and was pleasantly surprised by how well everything came together. The sweet house-made teriyaki marinade of the chicken thigh was a great complement to the tangy taste of roasted sesame and the springy texture of the soba.
Finally, we tucked into the Torched Unagi ($11.90). At a little over $10, this bowl was less than half the price of most unagi dishes in Singapore. But that didn’t make it any less legit – the meat came apart firmly, and yet melted sweetly in my mouth when I took a bite.
I have to admit, I had no qualms about taking the paiseh piece for this one.
Just like all those atas health food places, the bowls here are customisable with your own choice of protein, base and add-ons. The owners are fitness trainers themselves, so everything here was done with nutrition in mind. In fact, all of the ingredients are prepared without using a single drop of oil.
The shop is pretty new, so they’ve yet to release dishes such as Sous Vide Chicken Breast and Flamed Beef. But that’s no reason not to visit – if you come before 1 June 2018, the highly addictive Mentaiko Sauce topping is free for all bowls!
Ambience at Kenboru
Despite being tucked away in the basement of SMU, Kenboru’s comfortably lit interior was cosy rather than claustrophobic. It can get a little crowded during lunch and dinner hours, but then again, the bowls and utensils are disposable, so you can actually just take your food out and grab a seat anywhere on the university campus.
Even though they’ve yet to release all of their dishes, the current items on Kenboru’s menu are already tasty, wholesome, and healthy for your wallet. I’d go out of my way to treat myself to a bowl here, so their convenient location in town is just another bonus.
Address: 80 Stamford Road, #B1-65, School of Information Systems, Singapore 178902
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am to 8pm
Tel: 9721 7472
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg