Little Tokio: Under-HDB Izakaya In Tampines By Ex-Fine Dining Chef |
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Ex-Fine Dining Chef Sells Yakitori And Wagyu Hotplate At This Under-HDB Izakaya In Tampines

28th May 2024

Little Tokio is an izakaya in Tampines run by ex-Lawry’s chef


Under-HDB cafes are not new to us. Just take a look at Daily Mujo in Bedok and Rookie’s Coffee Shop in Queensway! But an under-HDB izakaya is something different, so Little Tokio’s affordable yakitori and teppanyaki set meals grabbed our attention immediately. What’s more, one of the chefs here used to work at the famous Lawry’s The Prime Rib, a fine dining restaurant at Mandarin Gallery. 

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Let’s start with their value-for-money mains. The Ikayaki ($16.90+) meal is very popular among patrons due to the huge size of the grilled squid served with fried rice. We also topped up $2+ to add a salad, miso soup, a side of seasoned seaweed and pickles, and a side dish to complete the set. During our visit, we got a plate of tamagoyaki as our side dish, but take note that this changes from time to time. 


We loved how chunky and chewy the grilled squid was. The seafood was slathered with a caramelly teriyaki sauce, complementing the charred flavours of the grilled squid really well. 


We could also change the carbs for Udon ($2+) or Garlic Fried Rice ($1.50+), so we went with the latter. The intensity of the garlic fragrance was just right, and we liked how the fluffy rice paired with the scrambled eggs too. There was an added layer of sweetness when paired with the grilled squid. 


We moved on to try the Beef Wagyu Steak ($25.90+) after we were done with the grilled squid. The Wagyu steak slices were served on a hotplate, with a sweet garlicky sauce drizzled on top.


Just look at the way the meat was glistening! Each slice was tender and juicy, and the rice was a great vessel to soak up the sweet marinade. The bed of beansprouts at the bottom also added an earthy flavour to the meat, which turned out to be really delicious.


If you’re coming to chill with your friends, we recommend getting the Yakimono + Beer Set ($49.90+)! You get to choose 10 different grilled skewers from their menu such as Aspara Bekon AKA bacon-wrapped asparagus, Tori Momo which is chicken thigh, and Shiitake Mushroom. Do note that this set is served with four glasses of Sapporo beer. 


Out of all the skewers that we tried, our favourite was the Tebasaki AKA grilled chicken wings. This skewer costs $2.90+ if you order it a la carte. It features a fat piece of mid-wing sliced in half, grilled till well-charred, and then covered in a sweet teriyaki sauce. I liked the added chew of the chicken skin a lot.


Else, opt for the Sashimi Moriawase ($14.90+). This affordable plate of raw seafood consisted of sliced salmon, swordfish, and two pieces of fresh oysters. 


Although we felt that just three slices of sashimi were insufficient to fill us up, the plump oysters made up for it. The fresh onions in the soy-based vinaigrette gave the oysters an added crunch, and the vegetable’s raw taste accentuated the freshness of the oysters.


We then ended our meal with desserts. The Signature Tokio Sweet Ending ($6+) is a matcha ice cream dessert decorated with mochi balls, red bean paste, matcha crumble, and a wafer atop the ice cream.

This dessert was a harmony of different flavours. The red beans helped to mellow the bittersweet flavours of the matcha, and the buttery wafer also complemented the milky ice cream well. 

My colleague also liked the Japanese Milk Pudding ($4.50+) a lot! The jiggly pudding was topped with matcha crumble for some crunch. We also drizzled raspberry puree on the pudding for added tanginess.


The restaurant features a large mural, and the Godzilla-like calico cat watches over you as you dine. We also liked that popular anime songs such as SOULSOUP by Official Hige Dandism played in the background. 

For more under-HDB gems, check out Cafe Fufu, an Italian cafe in Redhill with a wood-fired pizza. Alternatively, if you’re in the area, read our Tampines hawker food guide.

Address: 824 Tampines Street 81, #01-22, Singapore 520824
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 10pm
Tel: 6904 0866
Little Tokio is not a halal-certified eatery.

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Photos taken by Maisie Chong.
This was a media tasting at Little Tokio. 

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