If you’re lamenting the loss of Chopsuey on Martin Road, casual Japanese joint JYPSY is a strong contender for your new neighbourhood fave…
No lie, we love our Japanese food – but there has to be a good middle ground between the formality of a stellar fine diner and the fab food court finds. Sometimes we just aren’t in the mood for the austerity or theatricality of the former, or the snaking cues of the latter. And we don’t feel like being uber cool in an underground joint either. Enter JYPSY: the new baby of the PS.Cafe group. The concept? Casual, contemporary Japanese that draws on fresh, premium produce. And the vibe? It’s an incredibly easy place to hang out in.
The decor is coastal Japanese meets meets tropical vibes courtesy of some lush greenery. Try to wrap your head around that, but of course it works – if it’s one thing the PS.Cafe group nails every damn time, it’s the decor. This is the kind of place you’ll be happy to chill with friends over shared plates, and no pretense. And it’s also the type of place where you wonder where the waiters got their relaxed indigo outfits from. I’m so shallow, but my enjoyment of a restaurant does go up a notch when I want to steal what the staff is wearing.
But let’s talk about those shared plates. The menu spans sticks, sushi, sashimi, salads, cold dishes and hot stuff: you’ll find casual, playful interpretations of Japanese favourites, and yet it’s all about the produce. Fish is air flown from Japan, and I’m told there’s an almost obsessive amount of consideration taken into the rice used for sushi rolls (it’s Kobuta Hokkaido rice, by the way) and high-quality, original nama wasabi paste is used instead of the commonly used artificial wasabi powders.
JYPSY officially opened its doors to the public just one day before I descended on its menu, and it’s a fun, reasonably priced spread. Sashimi peaks at $31 for 12 pieces, but the second-priciest offering is $22 for the amazing unagi fried rice (that’s eel, in case you wanted to ask). It’s smokey, moreish and incredibly comforting.
We over-ordered, of course: on top of the unagi rice bowl, there was a super fresh Bluefin tuna sashimi, rainbow sushi rolls, tender beef tatake, a crazy crispy chicken karage in curry mayo, and the JYPSY king salmon tacos in a seaweed shell, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil – surprising, but it works so well.
There are desserts too, of course. The coconut matcha panna cotta restores my faith after a glut of matcha-everything dishes and drinks: it’s subtle, silky, and spot on. The watermelon granita with calamansi jelly sounded too irresistible on a hot afternoon, and it’s one refreshing, tangy hit. Its appearance on the menu, I’m told, was inspired by the watermelon wedge often included in Japanese bento boxes.
This is a menu that has its fun, but balances lightness with comfort foods just right (hello sicky beef sliders and nest of fries). You’ll walk out thoroughly fed, and elegantly sufficient. Okay, I wouldn’t go so far as to feign elegance – but you know that elusive feeling I’m talking about, fellow gluttons.
Go to JYPSY, and if you find out where the waiters got their gear from, drop me a line.
JYPSY; No.38 Martin Road, S 239072, open Tuesdays to Sundays from 11.30am – 11.00pm
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