With so many incredible fine-dining restaurants on the island, it’s no easy feat to decide which one to book. If you’re a beef enthusiast, however, Fat Cow is an award-winning Japanese omakase restaurant in Orchard serving some of the finest wagyu beef in Singapore. Located in the heart of Tanglin, this contemporary Japanese steakhouse is one of the brands under F&B group Commonwealth Concepts (another is Kinki Restaurant and Bar).
We catch up with Fat Cow’s new Head Chef Shingo Iijima to find out more about his favourite kitchen ingredients, which hawker dish gets his thumbs up and Japanese omakase in Singapore.
Interview with Shingo Iijima, Head Chef at Japanese restaurant Fat Cow
Where are you from and what do you miss about it?
I’m from Tokyo, Japan. I miss experiencing the distinct four seasons over there.
Tell us a bit about Fat Cow, Omakase and Wagyu Beef in Singapore
Fat Cow specialises in serving Japanese wagyu beef in Singapore. In addition to the à la carte menu, we offer a truly Japanese omakase experience in Singapore (where you leave the food choices in the hands of the chef). Our extensive selection of sake and wine complements the menu, making it popular among those who enjoy pairing food with drinks.
What are some go-to dishes on the menu of this Japanese steakhouse?
The Fat Cow Wagyu Sandwich, Charcoal grilled Wagyu Beef Steak, and our Chef’s Table Omakase, which is available Tuesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
What might surprise diners about this Japanese restaurant in Orchard?
We import our Japanese wagyu beef into Singapore from 10 different prefectures in Japan!
Where did you work before Fat Cow?
I was working in a Japanese restaurant at G Hotel in Malaysia.
How did you get started in the industry?
I was greatly influenced by my parents who ran a restaurant when I was a child. Additionally, during my first job, I was fascinated by the Executive Chef’s dedication and passion for cooking.
Most essential kitchen utensil and why?
A knife and fire. Having proficient knife skills is critical since they can affect the flavour, technique and texture of a dish – and, of course, ingredients can’t be cooked without the use of fire!
Favourite kitchen ingredient to use at this Japanese restaurant in Orchard?
In Japanese cuisine, I believe that kelp and dried bonito play a significant role as they are used to create base broths, to cure fish, to season dishes and much more.
How would you describe your cooking style?
I focus on bringing out the natural flavour of ingredients.
What does it take to be a good chef?
It is crucial to be able to assess the condition of ingredients, constantly generate fresh ideas, and have a sharp memory of flavours. Most importantly, a chef should avoid being overconfident and always be ready to learn.
What are some food trends for 2023 or beyond?
Plant-based protein products are growing in popularity. Personally, I feel that traditional Japanese cuisine, rather than fusion cooking, is making a comeback.
What do you like to do in Singapore when you’re not in the kitchen at Fat Cow?
I love visiting cafés. I also like to go fishing when I get the chance!
What does a typical working day look like for you at this Japanese steakhouse?
I begin by handling paperwork at a café in the morning before moving on to store operations. In my spare time, I create new menus.
Quick questions to finish! What’s your favourite…
Dish to cook for guests at home? I enjoy preparing traditional-style sukiyaki and sushi for my guests.
Dish to cook for yourself at home? Niku Jaga, a Japanese comfort food made by simmering pork (or beef) with potatoes.
Singapore hawker dish? Bak kut teh!
Three desert island foods you love to eat? Sun-dried fish marinated in seawater; mixed dishes of fruits, nuts and herbs; wood-grilled oysters and chilli paste.
Fat Cow is at 1 Orchard Boulevard, #01-01/02 Camden Medical Centre.
This article first appeared in the July 2023 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase the latest issue or subscribe, so you never miss a copy!
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