Where are you meeting for after-work dinner with the crew? We’re a sucker for the Japanese skewers, comfort food and cool vibes at Panko…
Haji Lane stays strong as one of Singapore’s hip hangouts with the recent addition of Panko – a casual Japanese dining spot with a cracking menu of kushikatsu and comforting dishes that make you want to be a regular. Frankly, the lunchtime deal is so damn good that you really don’t have an excuse not to come here with the crew over and over again…
First up, Panko brings a bit of a Blade Runner vibe courtesy of well-placed neon and an animated short that projects across a wall. Squeeze through to the bar area and you’ll take in an impressive mural, anime-style. By day, it’s warmly glowing; by night its gets a bit more intimate. So far, so cyberpunk, but there’s zero attitude here – all the energy at Panko goes into creating great bites, with Chef Ishikawa at the helm.
Let’s talk about that kushikatsu: it’s a signature dish of Osaka, but chances are you’ve enjoyed this super-casual Japanese treat here in Singapore before. Also known as kushiage, it’s essentially skewers of seafood, meat and vegetables coated in panko crumbs (see what they did with the restaurant’s name?) and deep-fried.
The secret, as always, is in the sauce: each skewer comes with a specially crafted dip designed to create amazing combinations. That’s a lot of thought going into a finger food. At Panko, the kushikatsu starts at $2 – and you can expect far beyond basic: I still haven’t forgotten the Hokkaido scallop with nori dashi foam, incredibly indulgent foie gras with miso blueberry sauce (yes, that combo works) and the amazing depth of the shiitake with chicken truffle miso.
Honeycombers hot tip: Go for the Assorted Kushi Katsu set, which comes with soup, pickles, kushikatsu and dessert for $17 ++.
It doesn’t all have to be about the skewers as Panko has a spectrum of dishes up its sleeve. You can have your udon, chicken karaage or sashimi… or a salad if you’re feeling virtuous. If you want it all, go for the dinnertime only $88 Panko Course Menu, which includes seasonal salad and sashimi, 10 kushikatsu skewers, and udon (with an onsen egg – aaah). Whatever you do, just make sure you start with the chawanmushi – a silky, savoury egg custard that’s pure comfort in a bowl.
As for the drinks, there’s a neat menu of sake, shoyu and Japanese beers including an organic lager. We went for the strawberry mojito, because sometimes you just want to sip on something that matches the decor.
The final say? Panko is brilliant value, with a great vibe. Bring your friends, people.
Panko; 33 Arab Street, Singapore 189197; Second entrance, 4 Haji Lane.
Lunch 12:00pm –3:00pm (last order 2:30pm)
Dinner 6:00pm -12:00 pm (last order 10:30pm)
Sundays Dinner Only 6:00pm –12:00pm
Closed Mondays and Public Holidays
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Where to shop in iconic Haji Lane
Random Ramen in Singapore: would you try whisky or duck confit ramen?
Six must-try cafes in Kampong Glam and Haji Lane
Instagram-worthy spots in Bras Basah and Bugis