Japanese food with an Italian twist at Shio and Pepe
Every year, my fam grants me a wish by letting me choose the restaurant to go to for my birthday dinner. Before making steamboat at Hai Di Lao my annual go-to, there was a period of time where I had my celebrations in Marina Square due to its convenient location. Nowadays, one of my favourite spots to hit at Marina Square is Emporium Shokuhin, which has a live seafood market, a Japanese supermarket, and a handful of restaurants. Among the latter lies Shio and Pepe and its unique take on Japanese and Italian fusion cuisine.
Food at Shio and Pepe
As one of the more popular items on the menu, Chicken and Mushroom Omurice ($17.90++) carried a strong fragrance that reminded me of carbonara. The dish had a fluffy egg blanket lying atop tomato fried rice, and was accompanied by a house-made cream sauce with chicken and shiitake mushrooms.
The egg was to die for. It was so runny and soft I felt as though I was munching on pillows. It was seasoned well, and one bite of it with the steaming rice underneath was enough to create an explosion of flavours in my mouth.
As a self-proclaimed rice bucket, I was excited to see the large portion of rice. In terms of taste, however, it really disappointed. Unlike several omurice dishes I’ve had in Japan, this was incomparable in flavour.
A good plate of fried rice to me is all about having distinct grains so you can appreciate its texture, but the rice for this dish was unpleasantly mushy and came in chunks. It would have been tastier if they added either carrots, onions, or even a handful of spring onions for a contrast in texture.
Usually, omurice dishes are paired with either tomato, okonomiyaki, or a heavy demi-glace sauce, so I was initially quite skeptical about the cream sauce in this. It reminded me of a thick and creamy carbonara sauce, with a mixture of shiitake mushrooms and chicken pieces.
The mushrooms were soft and packed a punch in terms of flavour, while the chicken, on the other hand, was slightly dry. Overall, the individual components of this dish struggled, but worked well together.
We got Hamburg Steak With Oroshi Ponzhu ($19.80++) next. The hamburg was topped with white radish, and it made a sizzling entrance on a hot plate with sides such as carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and a few pieces of sweet potato.
The hamburg was made with a mixture of pork and beef, and was about the size of a fist. Excited to dig in, I plunged my fork into it. I expected it to break apart easily, and for a glistening and moist centre to greet my fork, but that never came.
The hamburg steak was overcooked and tough, making it difficult to chew or even cut through. For a moment, I even felt like I was King Arthur when I tried to get my fork out of the patty. I doused my hamburg with the ponzu sauce, hoping it might as least be the saving grace of this dish, but it was equally disappointing.
Even though the flavour combination of yuzu, chilli oil, ponzu, and their house-made secret sauce sounded great, it was way too overpowering. And with such a steep price, I’d definitely not order it again.
Ambience at Shio and Pepe
Situated in Marina Square’s Emporium Shokuhin, this restaurant is great for get-togethers. Shio & Pepe is decorated with modern furniture and was well lit. We were able to get a table easily when we visited at around 3pm on a weekday.
The closest MRT Stations are Esplanade, Promenade, and City Hall, where you can walk and reach approximately in 10 to 15 minutes. The staff members were also friendly, patient, and treated every customer with great hospitality.
Overall, considering its prices, the food was underwhelming. As Shio & Pepe is a Japanese-Italian restaurant, I was expecting the dishes to be packed with flavour. For other restaurants in Marina Square, check out Hifumi and iSteamboat. Hamburg lovers, check out Hamburg Steak Keisuke!
Address: 6 Raffles Boulevard, #01-11, Marina Square, Singapore 039594
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 6812 2174
Shio & Pepe is not a halal restaurant.
This is an independent review by Eatbook.sg.