"I wish someone had taken me on a dinner date here."
...Those were the first words that popped into my head when I stepped into this restaurant. If you're looking for a romantic hide out away from the hustle & bustle but don't wanna travel too far away from the city, Moonstone is the hidden gem you've been looking for.
I mean... just look at it.
Ambience is so important when you're trying to impress the other party. This certainly impressed me. I fell in love with the open view of Sentosa from the top of Mount Faber!
Lounge sofas facing out into the openness where you can sit around and just chat the night away, beers in hand... a soft breeze in your face, watching cable cars float by. Tell me who wouldn't love having dinner here!!! Now seriously, why didn't any guy bring me on a date to a place like this?
...Oh, that's right. Because I date strange boys I meet from internet games, who happen to live in other countries so that makes this plan kinda difficult.
Moonstone is a quaint little restaurant/bar perched on top of Mount Faber, serving up Japanese cuisine (mainly yakitori) also offering an extensive selection of sake, beers and whiskeys.
The most unique thing it boasts, of course, is this view you won't get anywhere else. It made me happy just sitting there basking in all its prettiness, but when the food came I was all the more pleased.
Warning: Do not proceed if you're vulnerable to sudden hunger pangs, like I am.. For a galore of yummy food photos is INCOMING! I had a truly massive feast here. I know Japanese cuisine is kryptonite to a lot of people so try not to lick your computer screens, its not very good oral hygiene.
Moonstone, let's see what ya got!
This place has a crazy selection of sake & other alcohol, and I was recommended start off my meal with a "floral beer" - Ginga Kogen Beer, $12.
I'd never heard of this beer before and was kinda skeptical about it having a "floral" taste but I was pleasantly surprised by how it does have a distinct floral aroma when you take your first sip! It's not like tea. Tea tastes like leaves. This actually tastes like a fleeting moment of spring, almost. Girls will definitely enjoy this because of its lighter taste. I don't mind normal beers like Hoegarden / Heineken / Carlsberg / Corona but when there's a fruit beer, I'd get it to switch things up a bit. I wish they sold this beer in supermarkets!! It'd be a staple in my fridge!
The first appetizer that arrived on the table was Hiyayakko, $4 - Cold tofu with onions and bonito in ginger sauce
I really liked this! I'm not sure if its because if I was starving or what (indeed I was) but this tofu dish was refreshing, light, and made me even hungrier than before. Which is exactly what appetizers are supposed to do, I guess. The tofu itself is rather pain (duh its tofu) but paired with the sauce and flakes on top, it tasted like agedashi tofu but served cold and more elegant without the sticky chewy skin! Practically zero calories, too.
Aigamo tataki, $12.8 - Smoked duck in sweet sauce and bean sprouts
I was like, "excuse me, where are my bean sprouts?!" and they informed me that they had ran out of bean sprouts. Hmmm. I feel like they should have noted this to me when I was ordering and not after it came, but because I am reviewing this restaurant by invitation from a friend, I didn't want to fuss over the minor details. Do make it a point to ask them about it if you order this, just in case. I liked the well-paired combination of the mildly sweet sauce and salty smoked duck. I don't fancy duck in general, but smoked duck is an exception. Would've been nice with some crunchy bean sprouts but it tasted good without still, and I'd order this again.
Ika, $10 - Squid with sweet sauce
Even the yummy sweet sauce which many yakitori dishes come drenched in couldn't save this dish from the overcooked texture of the squid. I don't mind squid as long as its tender & tasty enough, unfortunately this did not tickle my taste buds at all, and falls into my category of "rubbery squid".
A couple of yakitori sticks arrived next, and I took the liberty of categorizing them into what I thought were hits, and misses.
The hits in my book!:
From top to bottom:
1) Hotate, $8. Well basically, they are scallops.. I love scallops and have nothing to complain about these, they were okay sized and weren't overcooked, however I do think the price is kinda out there for 2 pieces of scallops.
2) Bacon roll, $4 - Pork with asparagus. Essentially a fail proof combination. Everybody loves bacon and although I'm not a big asparagus lover, it adds a nice crunch!
3) Butabara, $4 - Pork belly. Salty, savory, slightly tender and juicy... yes please. So simple & good.
The ones that fell kinda short to me:
1) Ebi, $5 - Grilled prawn. It does have a nice charcoal flavor, but the prawn meat itself wasn't fresh or robust enough for my liking.
2) Kinoko shake, $4 - Salmon and mushroom topped with cheese. Wayyy too salty because of the smoked salmon and cheese combination, and I generally like salty food!
3) Shake asparagus, $4 - Smoked salmon with asparagus. I still liked the pork version of this better. Grilled smoked salmon doesn't cut it for me, the texture just becomes all dry and charred instead of the moist and soft texture smoked salmon is known for.
4) Nasu, $3 - Baby egg plant. I couldn't even finish a whole mouthful of this... it was extremely bland, dry and just meh. I try to be as civil as I can when reviewing food but I honestly thought this shouldn't even be on the menu, it insults the rest of the decent to great dishes!!!
Shake, $15- Salmon with sweet sauce
Gindara, $18 - Cod fish with salt
I wish they were a little more creative with the menu names or descriptions since I'm copying them off directly from their online menu ahah.
I'm quite biased when it comes to salmon because it's one of my favorite foods. :P I basically worship this king of all fishes. But I have to say.. the skin was a little too burnt and at $15 with the size of its portion, it is not something I'd recommend ordering. Same sentiments with the cod. A good piece of fish, is a good piece of fish. It's pretty hard to butcher the taste, but at the same time it is also difficult to set yours apart from the others.
Zaru soba, $8 - Cold noodles
I'm no soba connoisseur, I don't eat it often enough to have much to say about it but this yummier than most other sobas I've tried and refreshing in the same way the cold tofu was. I found the process of dipping the noodles into a small bowl of sauce needlessly tedious, but also kinda fun... I'm twisted like that. Lol. Soba fans should order this!
Chasu udon, $9 - Pork belly soup noodles
OKAYYYY this is my favorite item on their menu!!! ♥ I love udon for its chewy texture and this was just perfect al dente slurpy goodness. I've never seen chasu udon served outside before, since chasu is usually found in ramen and not udon... this combination is to die for! Why don't more places have it? The pork belly chunks literally melt in your mouth in a puddle of salty & sweet goodness. Kind of like the ones at Ippudo, but even softer and slightly different.
The thick udon noodles are almost addictive to eat. The soup was perfect to me - not too heavy or light, just perfect. Can I have a bowl of this now pleasseee? If I wasn't so stuffed from all the yakitory & other food prior to this bowl of noodles I would have finished the whole thing!
Garlic fried rice, $5
Definitely one of the more fragrant bowls of garlic fried rice I've had. Each spoonful is light and fluffy with lots of garlic & egg! The portion is also perfect to go with yakitori - neither too big nor small.
Tempura moriawase, $12.80 - Assorted prawn & vegetable tempura
I didn't attack this dish upon first sight because most tempura dishes fail to impress me. I didn't even intend on taking a picture of the tempura or reviewing it, at all. Let's just say I think all fried food is just fried food. Boring, and normally a waste of calories. But after Nicholas insisted 3 times that I should give this a go, this.... this was something else!!!
The batter was super light & crispy, not too oily, and the ingredients underneath that lovely coat of batter were equally awesome. They even had broccoli tempura which was, surprisingly enough, nice. The shitake (mushroom) tempura kinda melted in my mouth the same way the chasu in the udon did!!!
Love it! :)
I think by now it is pretty obvious that I like Moonstone's normal cooked food items a significant bit more than their yakitori menu. I'm really not that big on yakitori in the first place. So if you are, please judge for yourself.
I do wish they served other normal Japanese food such as sashimi and sushi, that would make this a perfect dining destination!! So you know, some stuff I'd totally order again at Moonstone on a whim would be the floral beer, smoked duck, assorted tempura, garlic fried rice, and udon. Ohh the udon! Lucky you guys can't see me salivating. And can I just say at $9 for a generous bowl of udon.. the pricing is at a steal. I know some items I've featured from the menu have been anything but "cheap", but I reckon you can get real value for money here if you know what to order.
Plus anyway..... at the end of the day, this view and the smile on her/his face when they see it will make your trip up to Mount Faber and the prices completely worth it. :)
Moonstone - Yakitori • Sake • Bar
109 Mount Faber Road, Level 2, The Jewel Box, Singapore 099196
Food quality: 3.5/5 (hits & misses)
Service / Ambience: 4.5/5 (the view! waiters were also efficient & friendly)
Value for Money: 3.5/5 (again it varies, so refer to my review)
Most suitable for: Couple dates. Your girl would love it here.. and it's really not that expensive. If she's the weight or diet conscious sort, she can go for the low carb yakitori options! Makes for good dainty meals. Also great for late night hang outs with the buddies & boozeee! This place opens late, with plenty of alcohol options and snacks to choose from. Not exactly a family venue, kids not allowed after a certain timing. It gets crowded during weekends and peak periods so call to enquire or reserve first.