The best Okonomiyaki in town?27 August, 2010 by Chad
As a fan of Yakisoba and Okonomiyaki, I’ve been lamenting the lost of my previously frequented and much beloved Pachi Pachi at Cuppage Plaza. One day, Yan reported finding an alternative in a cozy little shop house at Prinsep Street called Sumomo Okonomiyaki. We had a satisfying first visit in March before returning again last weekend for another fix.
Unlike the ramen fad, okonomiyaki had never quite caught on in Singapore. The poor response of yesterday’s post is proof of that. While they are more than willing to pay top dollar for bones locals seem to have a certain stigma of having to pay $12 for a mere “pancake with meat”. As a result, there aren’t many okonomiyaki stores around and even fewer who manage to do it right but Sumomo does.
Online, reviews for Sumomo have been mixed. Many have had pleasant experiences but others gave negative reviews citing ridiculous complaints such as “the curry nice not good” and “the nabe (hotpot) is a let down”. My favorite review though was how one guy complained that his salmon sashimi platter only had salmon. Granted these are the same people giving places like MOF positive reviews so it is not unexpected.
Despite being an okonomiyaki place, to make things more acceptable, Sumomo also tries to cover a little bit of everything else that Singaporeans have come to expect of a Japanese restaurant. It’s not their specialty, so most should know better.
Apart from the occasional Japanese salaryman, the two floor shop house was pretty deserted in the past times we visited the place. You can take your time here and the quiet ambiance makes it a great spot to simply chill out. Despite the mood lighting, there’s a very nice homely feeling to the place. One of the customers was just there to read his book.
Though it functions like a laid back Izakaya, the service as Sumomo is immaculate. We’ve never had trouble with any of the staff there. Sometimes, the young Japanese lady owner even tends to the tables personally. Yan says its because of this that he feels bad not ordering anything more than just the okonomiyaki so here are some of the other items on their menu we’ve tried.
As expected, most of the other items were simply average. The Omurice was surprisingly good though.
Not forgetting the main purpose in visiting the place. There’s the standard choice of pork, squid or prawn okonomiyaki or a more expensive mixture of all 3 meats. It really makes the most sense to go with just the regular mixes. Those expecting a noticeably larger serving from the mix will be disappointed to learn that you’re really just paying for the variety.
At first glance, menu items might seem a tad pricey. And some certainly do seem a little ridiculous (more on that below), but for the most part, their main items are affordably priced. In fact the Okonomiyaki could even be consider cheap for its large servings at only $12. Bare in mind also that the extra dollar goes toward fresh top grade ingredients all of which are imported from Japan. It’s not going to be any cheaper if you tried cooking it yourself with ingredients from Mediya.
Sumomo follows one unwelcome tradition though, which is that refreshments are served at hugely inflated prices. With the exception of alcohol or tea, expect to fork out double or triple prices for drinks. The pub-like nature of such eateries might surprise first time visitors and subsequently put off repeated visits.
One item that had been pinpointed by bloggers is the $15 Japanese cheesecake and milk combo. Yan commented that the lady owner probably likes cheesecake and is mainly importing it for her own consumption. He might be on to something, the emotional attachment might explain the high price. Not particularly fans of cheesecake, so the first time we went we had ice cream instead.
She explained that it was from Japan. Not that that made any difference. It’s hard not to enjoy ice cream but like their beverages, it was a little too pricey.
Still, with Pachi Pachi gone, Sumomo fills the void as the cheapest place you can go for an authentic okonomiyaki experience. It’s also the only place other than Nanjya Monjya that lets you cook it yourself. Part of the fun definitely comes from taking your time to cook, eat and chat in the relaxed atmosphere.
As such, Sumomo comes highly recommended to those who already love okonomiyaki or are willing to put aside all preconception of the dish. I for one definitely intend to return again. Hopefully, the place will be staying around for good.
44A Prinsep Street, #01-01 , Singapore 188674
Tel: 6884 4742
For more pictures of Sumomo, check out yesterday’s post.
Supermerlion's Webmaster and Editor-in-Chief. Singaporean Nikkeijin with over 12 years of experience in the media industry. Producer at a Japanese entertainment company. Former Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Multimedia Programmer, Manager and Consultant. Shoots with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Sony RX100-2.