A cut above the rest
Earlier this year, Ninja Bowl’s owner Darren Wee set up shop at Duxton Road where his unique all-day brunch options and healthy ‘Ninja Bowls’ earned a loyal following. Just less than six months later, Wee decided to tap into the immense popularity of Ninja Bowl and expand the Ninja brand with more interesting creations.
While the newly opened Ninja Cut, which is strategically located along Seah Street, also offers an array of hearty brunch items and wholesome ‘one-bowl’ options, it sets itself apart from its sister outlet with a varied menu featuring dishes with stronger flavours and a more robust protein selection.
“With the popularity of Ninja Bowl, which we launched in April 2016, we were looking for a chance to expand the brand. So when this space on Seah Street opened up, we thought that it was the perfect opportunity to introduce our concept to more people. We wanted to bring quality proteins done our way, at an affordable price, thus we came up with Ninja Cut,” says Wee of his newly launched concept.
In this feature, Wee shares with us the must-try creations at his newly opened concept Ninja Cut, his thoughts on upcoming food trends and his thoughts on the local F&B scene.
What’s so unique about the offerings at Ninja Cut?
We create most of our marinades and herb rubs in-house, and we do all the roasting and cooking by ourselves too – to ensure the best quality for our guests. Hence, some items such as the roast beef and crackling pork come in limited quantities of about 30 servings per day. We also make our own sides such as the pickled beetroot and the konbu-dashi bamboo shoots. The dango that’s used in our Marvellous Matcha is also made from scratch.
What or who inspired these creations?
The whole Astronauts kitchen team pooled their ideas together to come up with the dishes for Ninja Cut. We wanted to bring a fresh new take to the concept while keeping the Ninja identity significantly identifiable.
What are some upcoming food trends that you foresee will hit Singapore soon?
With Singaporeans becoming more health conscious, we foresee more restaurants introducing healthier options or more options of vegetable sides. The Ministry Of Health is constantly promoting healthier living through the food that we buy off-the-shelves, so I believe that as a country, we are being taught to lead a healthier, balanced lifestyle. And with more Crossfit gyms and yoga studios sprouting up around the country, I do think that more and more chefs and cafes/restaurants will start to serve up healthy fare that is both delicious and affordable.
What are your thoughts on the local F&B scene?
Singapore’s F&B scene has always been very vibrant with varying concepts popping up ever so often. With many Singaporeans being more well-traveled and educated overseas, we have become a melting pot for many different cultures. Also, with the Government’s encouragement toward entrepreneurship, many younger Singaporeans have come forward and started their own F&B businesses – and many with resounding success. This has given our local culinary scene a huge boost – with many chefs/restaurants this year being awarded Michelin stars to recognise the hard work that goes into running an F&B business.
I do hope that this industry grows to become even more vibrant and more creative because it will only spur us on to constantly improve our culinary offerings and live up to our reputation as a “Food Nation”.
With so many 'rice bowls' concepts popping up all over Singapore, how do you guys differentiate yourselves from the rest?
Ninja Bowl and Ninja Cut have more to offer than just “rice bowls”. We also have substantial all-day brunch items, which have proven to be very popular as well. We also come up with the best combinations possible for the customer so the meals are quick and hassle-free. Our sides and marinade also have a distinctive Japanese touch to them, which sets us apart from the typical bowl place.
And I think most importantly, besides just offering rice bowls, we also offer all our customers the option of having a hearty, substantial meal; or something a little bit lighter with the choice of ‘base’. As all our bowls come carb-free, customers can choose to have a full on salad, healthy quinoa, or even Orzo pasta/Japanese soba as an option.
Which items on the menu are a must-try for first time visitors to Ninja Cut?
All our items are must-tries but the top four dishes every customer have to try are:
What’s Your Beef (S$18): This stand-out dish comes with 150g of succulent roast– cooked to a perfect medium-rare. A whole slab of Australian ribeye is lovingly roasted daily with simple aromatics such as thyme, salt and pepper, which allows the quality of the meat to shine without being overpowered. It also comes with grilled corn seasoned with furikake, sautéed mushrooms, honey glazed carrots, a wobbly onsen egg, golden garlic chips.
The Cheeky Cheese (S$18): Sister outlet Ninja Bowl may have its own version of the 24-hour braised beef cheek, but Ninja Cut kicks it up a notch with its own Japanese curry rendition. The cheek is seasoned with red wine for and braised for a full day in the curry to create a wonderfully full-bodied flavour. It is impeccably paired with an oozy grilled cheese sandwich that is perfect for sopping up gravy.
32 Seah Street