Inochi Review: Affordable Chirashi Bowls And Sushi In Balestier |
Japanese Restaurant Reviews

Inochi Review: New Japanese Restaurant With Wallet-Friendly Chirashi Bowls At Shaw Plaza

27th June 2023

Inochi has affordable chirashi bowls and lunch sets at Shaw Plaza


I consider myself a huge lover of Japanese food, so I was super excited when I was tasked to review Inochi, a new Japanese restaurant in Balestier specialising in donburi and chirashi bowls. The casual eatery occupies a space on the second level of Shaw Plaza, and has been receiving rave reviews online thanks to their yummy food and affordable prices. They boast an impressive 4.9-star rating on Google Reviews at the time this article was published, which,  in my opinion, says a lot.

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Food at Inochi


Once I got my hands on the menu, I immediately started hunting for donburi. My eyes were drawn to their Bara Chirashi Don ($15.80+), which featured an assortment of marinated and diced seafood crowned with salmon roe, topped with a gooey salted egg yolk.

The restaurant also has a daily lunchtime special between 11:30pm and 3pm, where patrons can enjoy a free appetiser, miso soup, chawanmushi, and free-flow sencha with the purchase of any donburi.

Whet your appetite with the savoury miso soup, which was served piping hot and filled with wakame, tofu, and green onions. I liked how the soup wasn’t too salty and made for a good palate cleanser.


The chawanmushi was another delightful treat, densely packed with bouncy fish cake, crab sticks, and mushrooms. I don’t usually enjoy chawanmushi as it tends to be too fishy for my liking, but this one was light on the palate, so I gobbled up every bit of it.


Now, onto the bara chirashi don. This bowl of goodness was rather generously packed with ingredients, which was a plus considering the affordable price point. The salmon cubes were smooth and chunky, and when consumed with the ikura, offered a burst of umami with each bite.

I found it interesting that this chirashi don came with salted egg yolk—perhaps it’s meant to offer some savouriness and creaminess to the dish as the rice was quite dry on its own. All in all, this was a decent dish that managed to fill me up quite a bit, despite its unassuming portion.


If you’re not a fan of raw seafood, try their katsu don instead. We had the Chicken Katsu Don ($13.80+), featuring deep-fried breaded chicken with egg, drizzled with a light dashi-based soya sauce. I loved how the chicken slices were thick and tender within. The breaded chicken skin was uber crispy too, and remained this way throughout the rest of our 90-minute shoot.


As I was quite full from the bara chirashi don, I skipped the rice and enjoyed the fried chicken on its own. Taste-wise, the dish is best described as a savoury oyako don. The soya sauce wasn’t too overpowering, and I did not feel jelak even after devouring all the meat.


My colleague and I were craving sushi, so we also had a plate of Omakase Sushi (10Pcs) ($31.80+) to share. This item gives you 10 kinds of nigiri sushi, which are specially hand-pressed by the chef.


I was impressed by the selection, which included two pieces of uni sushi. The uni was incredibly fresh and creamy, and literally melted in my mouth. I loved the scallop sushi too, which tasted fresh and had a hint of sweetness.

I wouldn’t say the sushi here was fantastic, but they’re definitely better than the ones you’d typically get from conveyor belt restaurants. The seafood tasted fresh, especially the tuna and salmon sashimi that were also on the fatty and thick side—a big plus in my books.

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Ambience at Inochi


Inochi is located on the second floor of Shaw Plaza, right next to the escalator. The restaurant is spacious, with ample seats for large groups, along with a couple of counter seats for solo diners. The staff were attentive and friendly, and have good taste in music too—I appreciated the upbeat K-pop tunes that accompanied us throughout our meal and lifted our spirits on a gloomy weekday afternoon.

While the restaurant seems to be popular among the office crowd, it isn’t too crowded during lunchtime, so you won’t have difficulty securing a seat even during peak hours. 

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The verdict

When it comes to Japanese donburi, I always appreciate two things: affordable prices and generous portions. At Inochi, you definitely get both. Everything we tried here was decent, with highlights such as the chawanmushi, chicken katsu don, and uni sushi. Plus, the lunchtime special is an absolute steal.

The restaurant is quite out of the way—the nearest train station, Novena MRT Station, is a 25-minute walk away—but I can see myself coming back here if I’m craving Japanese food and happen to be in the area.

For more food near Novena MRT Station, check out our Velocity@Novena Square food guide. Otherwise, read our Cafe Gui review for creamy dalgona latte and affordable Japanese-Korean rice bowls.

Address: 360 Balestier Road, #02-13/14, Shaw Plaza, Singapore 329783
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 9:15pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am to 9:15pm
Tel: 6539 9219
Inochi is not a halal-certified eatery.

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Photos taken by Tan Jia Hui.
This was a media tasting at Inochi.

Inochi Review: New Japanese Restaurant With Wallet-Friendly Chirashi Bowls At Shaw Plaza
  • 7.5/10
    Inochi Review: New Japanese Restaurant With Wallet-Friendly Chirashi Bowls At Shaw Plaza - 7.5/10


– Food is affordable
– Dishes come in generous portions
– Lunch set is value for money

– Location is out of the way
– Rice is quite dry

Recommended dishes: Bara Chirashi Don ($15.80+) and Omakase Sushi (10Pcs) ($31.80+)

Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 5:30pm to 9:15pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am to 9:15pm

Address: 360 Balestier Road, #02-13/14, Shaw Plaza, Singapore 329783

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