Ninja Bowl Offers Clean Eats at Duxton Road

Once, this used to house a coffee joint. Now, a Ninja Bowl has taken over.  The cafe is comforting enough, renovations kept to a minimal with what Department of Caffeine has left behind. That’s not to say it is distasteful, but its industrial décor does not play a big role in the dining experience, nor does it differentiate from another. It is described by the owners as “bare, yet functional”. Yes, it is.

Ninja Bowl at Duxton Road

Ninja Bowl Exterior, Duxton Road - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Ninja Bowl Interior, Duxton Road - Review by Gourmet Adventures

The menu is extensive, more so than that of the common cafe, inclusive of eight signature “ninja bowls”, an all-day brunch and sandwich menu, and a few light bites to share. All the dishes have somewhat of a Japanese influence, which we appreciate.

The Tsukiji ($16; additional $3 for quinoa) arrives. We half expect a chirashi bowl – after all, sashimi is what Tsukiji is known for – but no, pan-seared yellowfin tuna tataki, asparagus, edamame, pickled cucumbers, balsamic cherry tomatoes and an onsen egg take its place. It seems a travesty to break an egg as perfect as this, gleaming like the radiant sun. But when you do, out pours forth the sunshine, a thick river of rich yolk armoured with generous slices of tuna tataki, and a variety of vegetables that add flavor and crunch, ready for battle (with your tastebuds). We concede defeat.

Tsukiji ($16; additional $3 for quinoa) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Tuna Tataki 2 - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Tuna Tataki - Review by Gourmet Adventures

On the menu is Genki ($16; additional $2 for ninja rice). Genki: a Japanese word used to describe children who are lively and energetic, almost uncontrollable. Rather aptly named, this unagi bowl is just that – flavors dance on the tongue, prancing about full of energy and life, so simply, yet so utterly satisfying. Pumpkin is roasted to the point where it starts to caramelize, a subtle smoky sweetness complementary to the earthy pickled beets, coming together in harmony with yaki unagi. There are sprouts for added crunch, and an onsen egg to bind the flavors together. It is altogether lovely, the best on the menu by far.

Genki ($16; additional $2 for ninja rice) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Unagi Bowl - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Then we have Noka ($14; additional $3 for quinoa) where beef cheek is braised for 24 hours, tender without quite mustering a distinct character. The meat bears no identity, holding no flavor on its own, rescued only by an army of baby corn, Korean bean sprouts, mixed nuts, semi-dried tomato, and an onsen egg. There is an onsen egg in every bowl. We reckon you’d do better with the Genki ($16).

Noka ($14; additional $3 for quinoa) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Braised Beef - Review by Gourmet Adventures

For brunch, there is a version of avocado toast (Tonkotsu Spirit; $16) – Japanese aburi cha, tender and sweet, on crisp sourdough toast blanketed with melted cheddar, smashed avocado and poached eggs. Excitement ensues. It is everything we love on a breakfast plate.

Tonkotsu Spirit ($16) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Avocado Toast, Poached Eggs - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Ebisu holds fond memories in our heart, as does this dish ($18). Hokkaido scallops arrive perfectly seared so that the luscious, creamy scallop is just short of done, achieving a natural heady sweetness while keeping tenacity in check. The same contrast invigorates a cream of miso and butter, a union we hold no contempt with – full of rich umami sweetness and lush, perfect with sourdough toast. This, we’d like more of, but it is time for dessert. And dessert, we must.

Ebisu ($18) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - Mussels in Miso Butter Cream - Review by Gourmet Adventures

We order the Fancy French ($16). Oh, it’s fancy all right. So fancy we had trouble keeping our allegiances straight. Elaborate as it is, this fig jam French toast is captivating, slathered in honey infused with my favorite ume-boshi, and house-made hazelnut butter. Tip: don’t stinge on the butter. Forget the calories, you’ve already come this far. Fresh fig, grape and plum adorn the dessert, almost toppling over, a sight so spectacular we can’t help but gaze in awe – awe that is replaced by wonder the minute we take a bite. It is decadence with a kindling of beauty. Now, who says you can’t have the best of both worlds?

Fancy French ($16) at Ninja Bowl

Ninja Bowl, Duxton Road - French Toast - Review by Gourmet Adventures

Ninja Bowl, 15 Duxton Rd., 6222 8055. Open Mon-Fri 9:30am-7:30pm, Sat-Sun 9am-6pm.

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Categories: Bistro Cafe, Brunch, Casual Dining, CBD, Dining, Family friendly, Fusion, Japanese, Restaurants, Reviews

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