If you are looking for Japanese food that is a bit more "upmarket" than that normally seen at cafes, Ichitaro Dining in Hyde Park is a good place to consider. Many of their dishes are meant to be enjoyed by a single person, but there are some that are large enough to be shared.
The quality of the ingredients used in their Mixed Tempura was excellent. The prawns did not have a fishy taste, and the vegetables were fresh and still had a bite to them. The batter also had the light and crisp texture of a good tempura dish. In addition to the typical tentsuyu dipping sauce, the dish also came with green tea salt to add some bitterness and curry salt to give it a bit of spice.
Mixed Tempura (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
We liked the presentation of their Shio Koji Fish, which gave the dish a fresh appearance. The kingfish that was used had a nice meaty texture and a delectable savoury flavour. We thought the fish could do with a bit more sauce. The soba noodles had enough sauce to bring out its flavour and the refreshing vegetables helped to tie everything together.
Shio Koji Fish (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
To our delight, the pork in their Tonkatsu was very tender and set off wonderfully by its crispy crumb coating. Served alongside the pork was a generous amount of salad that had a bit of tang from the dressing and Tonkatsu sauce to add a bit of sweetness to the pork. There was also what tasted like wasabi paste on the side if you wish to add some sharpness to the dish.
Presented somewhat similarly to the Shio Koji Fish, the Roast Duck was cooked just right. The duck tasted best when dipped in the yuzu zest-pepper paste provided. The dashi poached tomatoes served with the duck were very juicy and the fresh vegetables were of the same quality as that accompanying the Shio Koji Fish.
Roast Duck (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Offered as a special during our visit, the eggplant in the Nasu Dengaku was cooked to perfection, with the miso paste giving it a delightful sweet-savoury flavour. While the dish may look dry, there was actually enough sauce to make it a scrumptious dish.
Nasu Dengaku (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
One of the smaller dishes that can be ordered, their Spicy Karaage is well deserving of its name. The chicken had a good amount of spice to lift its flavour but was yet mild enough to be enjoyed by those not used to spicy foods. To help temper its spiciness, some Japanese mayonnaise was served with the chicken and there was also a lemon wedge for squeezing over the meat if you like to add a bit of tang.
Spicy Karaage (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Aside from their dinner menu, Ichitaro also offers a selection of cheaper dishes during lunchtime. Among them are various lunch sets which consist of a main dish of your choice served with salad, miso soup and rice. The décor of the restaurant gave it cosy feel. It's quite a small place so it is best to make a reservation if you plan to dine there.