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For the full review and other food reviews, please visit http://shokushisouseikatsu.blogspot.com/In Orchard Road where there is so much human and vehicle traffic, it is often difficult to find a place which allows me to feel relaxed and get some decent tea time treats at affordable prices. There are indeed many famous and good cafes and restaurants along this busy shopping belt but they may be crowded or cramped due to small shop spaces brought about by the high rents. In addition, customers who
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For the full review and other food reviews, please visit http://shokushisouseikatsu.blogspot.com/

In Orchard Road where there is so much human and vehicle traffic, it is often difficult to find a place which allows me to feel relaxed and get some decent tea time treats at affordable prices. There are indeed many famous and good cafes and restaurants along this busy shopping belt but they may be crowded or cramped due to small shop spaces brought about by the high rents. In addition, customers who are on their own like myself tend to be assigned seats either near the entrance or at some far flung corner where it's hard to get the attention of the staff so it does mar the dining experience to a certain extent. As such, having come across Hashida Garo was somewhat like a wish come true for me especially when I suffer periodic "withdrawal symptoms" from missing Japan.

Hashida Garo which is the second restaurant opened by Japanese chef Hashida "Hatch" Kenjiro, is located on the 4th floor of Mandarin Gallery. His first restaurant Hashida Sushi is on the second floor of the same building. According to the staff, there is a waiting list of at least a couple of months so you would need to make a reservation well in advance if you want to go there. On the other hand, Hashida Garo has a very Zen-like simple feel with its pastel colours and relatively simple decor. The best thing is, you should be able to walk-in and not have to make a reservation. Of course, during the weekend, it might be a totally different situation but since my visits so far were on weekday afternoons, I can't say for sure how crowded it might be.
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Before the meal begins, you will be handed the oshibori in a dainty-looking glass bowl which looks very pretty. The Japanese restaurants in Singapore (especially those major chains) tend to put the oshibori in sealed plastic wrappers which I can perfectly understand since they have a lot more customers and it's probably more cost-effective and hygienic to do so. Then when you come across restaurants like Hashida Garo who hands this rolled hand towel to you in a glass bowl with patterns, it makes the experience feel different after all. It's a nice-to-have although not compulsory feature but it sure feels good to start the dining experience with a small treat for my eyes. And a good thing about the oshibori, it does not have a strong artificial fragrance so I'm thankful for the fact that it doesn't irritate my nose.

Note that the items featured from this point onwards were consumed on two separate occasions with the second visit being one I did with my friend so we could order more items than when I was alone. As I was there during the quieter weekday afternoons, there were no meals served other than the beverages and wagashi. Thus, there will be nothing about their lunch and dinner items in this review.
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First up was the yuzu macaron. I must admit that I am no fan of macarons. The first macaron I had was fairly recently at Salt Tapas & Bar where I tried the Japanese purple sweet potato macaron. I guess that somehow set the standard for me so I was looking forward to something like that i.e. light and not overly sweet. However, I found the version here not to my liking. In particular, I thought that the cookies were too dense, moist and a bit chewy that they felt as if they were somewhat sticky. As for the filling, although there was the slight aroma of yuzu which was identifiable, the cream was a bit too sweet for me. Much as there are other flavours which are offered here, I guess I won't be trying any of them soon. Guess it's just my taste buds not being too appreciative of macarons and failing to understand why they are popular. ^__^
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The mizu manju is such a beauty that I couldn't help but take many pictures of it before eating them. The outer skin is made of translucent kanten jelly and wraps the white bean paste and seasonal fruit within. The light blue syrup is made of mint and slightly chilled before the entire dish is served. On hot days, this will be a truly refreshing treat. Visually, it should also evoke squeals of excitement from the customers. Besides its very appealing appearance, I think that the charm of this wagashi is that it combines several different textures together with the jelly being slightly chewy, the soft white bean paste and the comparatively harder fruit cube and yet maintains the uniqueness of each item while allowing their individual flavours to come together in a coordinated manner. This is a definite must-try item if you are here.
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The maccha financier was served in a very special way where the metal plate, sheet or foil (not sure how to term it) was slightly bent at one of the edges. As the financiers are made on the spot, they take at least a 15-minute wait so the staff would actually ask you if you are OK with it before they proceed with the order. The dish is served slightly warm with the 5 financiers nicely arranged and you can see some white powdery-like substance sprinkled on them. I didn't actually ask the staff about this but from the scent and taste, I felt that they were coconut shreds. If you happen to know what exactly the white substance is, please share the information with me. In any case, eating the financiers on their own is perfectly fine but do remember to take it with some of the red bean paste which I think was cooked in some sugar syrup. As such, the red bean paste was slightly moist so it was easier to eat it with the financier which had a nice maccha aroma but wasn't that sweet on its own. Usually, the financier I see tend to be long and rectangular so these little round balls here have won me over in terms of its novelty and unique flavour. Never knew that a French dessert like financier could go so well with the very-Japanese red bean paste.
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Last but not least, I just couldn't resist buying a box of the 6-piece mochi which looked so pretty with its translucent and snowy white skin. It was no doubt pretty pricey at $24 per box ($4 per piece) but given the quality and the appearance, I could understand the rationale behind the pricing. The filling is different from the eat-in version where there's supposed to be chocolate and red bean filling within. Due to the fact that there are no preservatives, the mochi has to be consumed within 2 days. Frankly speaking, I preferred the skin which was chewy and soft but not so much for the filling. I couldn't really taste the red bean and thought that the chocolate was a tad too sweet. Likewise about the mochi mentioned above, I don't have any major complaints about the quality of this item but I need a stronger pull factor to make me a fan of this mochi. For people who prefer sweet mochi like this, you might want to give this a try.

To read the full review, please visit my blog: http://shokushisouseikatsu.blogspot.com/

Other Info. : Only wagashi and drinks are served outside the meal times i.e. from 2pm to 6pm.
(The above review is the personal opinion of a user which does not represent OpenRice's point of view.)
Post
DETAILED RATING
Taste
Decor
Service
Hygiene
Value
Date of Visit
2015-12-17
Dining Method
Dine In
Spending Per Head
$20 (Tea)
Recommended Dishes
  • Yubeshi
  • Mizu Manju
  • Chocolate Yokan
  • Handpicked Sencha
  • Matcha