You may have eaten (plenty of) wagyu, but have you ventured into the wonderful yet often-overlooked world of wagyu beef motsu (innards)?
Kurohanabi, a motsu nabe speciality restaurant from Sapporo, Hokkaido is here to change the game with a unique hotpot experience that just might have you going back for more.
Despite having originated in 2009, this is Kurohanabi’s first outlet in Singapore, and you can find it tucked away at Eat at Seven in Suntec City, home to a cluster of different Japanese dining concepts.
The space, with its cosy private booths, brick walls, and warm lighting, does kinda make it feel as though you’re dining at a restaurant in Sapporo. Close enough.
We started off with refreshing and tart shochu cocktails — Freshly Squeezed Sours (S$14.80) flavoured with Lemon, Orange, or Tomato. Each glass was thoughtfully served with a unique muddler straw, which could be used to muddle the fruit at the bottom (for extra flavour).
Here’s a heads-up: the tomato cocktail (a first for me), a combination of shochu, syrup, soda, and plain ol’ slices of raw tomato, is an extremely acquired taste.
It was then time for the star of the show, the motsu nabe (a traditional Japanese hotpot, otherwise known as nabemono, prepared with beef or pork offal).
We got to try the Hokkaido Motsu Nabe (S$32), comprising beef intestines, tofu, chives, cabbage, and enoki mushroom in Kurohanabi’s signature sesame miso soup base.
As the hotpot was slowly brought to a boil, the fats from the innards melted into the broth, making it incredibly thick, rich, and naturally sweet (like collagen soup, but way, way better).
Each spoonful of delightfully creamy broth, studded with chunks of chewy and fatty innards, was comforting to the nth degree — I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would.
You can also find a version of motsu nabe with Natto (S$42), or fermented soybeans — bold, earthy, and complex in all the right ways.
One of the most popular street foods, okonomiyaki, is taken to the next level with the addition of meaty innards. The Motsu Okomiyaki (S$19.80), served on a teppan (iron griddle) was fluffy and intensely savoury (thanks to the richness of the beef), topped off with a drizzle of mayonnaise and umami okonomiyaki sauce.
But of course, you can also order non-innard okonomiyaki in flavours like Seafood Tama (S$19.80), Beef Tama (S$16.80), and Pork Kimchi Tama (S$19.80) with a variety of add-ons, from Cheese ($3) to extra Seafood (S$7).
Another dish not to be missed is the Wagyu Motsu Yakisoba (S$21.80), the standard teppanyaki staple of thick noodles cooked in an addictive savoury sauce with smoky beef chunks, extra chewy innards, cabbage, and carrots.
Those who prefer safer flavours can choose from classics like Seafood, Pork, and Beef, with prices starting from S$13.80 for a regular size. Toppings like Cheese (S$3), Bonito Flakes (S$3), and the crowd-pleasing Mentai Mayo (S$2) are highly encouraged.
What’s a hearty Japanese meal without a side or two? The Kamo Hanabi (S$14.80) comprises slices of pan-fried duck breast marinated in a house-made sauce, arranged and served as the house signature logo of Kurohanabi.
Instead of the usual chicken or beef tsukune (meatball), you can also go for the Lamb Tsukune (S$15.80), — a thick patty of minced lamb is mixed with nagaimo, onions and chives, pan-fried, and then topped with radish and fresh egg yolk, before being finished off with a drizzle of house-made teriyaki sauce. Moreish and not too gamey.
Eager to treat yourself to something different for a change? Head on over to Kurohanabi for an authentic taste of Hokkaido in the form of wagyu innards!
For more lifestyle updates like this, subscribe to our Telegram channel at @confirmgood.
Photos by Christabel Tan