If you enjoy exploring the side streets of Singapore, boy do we have a treat for you.
Box n Sticks is located on the bottom level of a shop house opposite the Malay Heritage Centre. It’s hard to miss this store with its cheery Japanese style decoration both outside and in. Not a new contender to the Japanese food scene or the Arab street area, Box n Sticks has refreshed its look but kept its delicious menu that fans have come to know and love.
We had to opportunity to drop by for lunch one day and neither our tummies nor our taste buds were disappointed.
Made with fresh, crunchy greens, plump, juicy tomatoes and thick, succulent cuts of sashimi, this Sashimi Salad with Wasabi Yuzu Dressing ($12.80) is guaranteed to fill your tummy which is great for those looking for a healthier option. The house-dressing had a hint of wasabi and yuzu which added a nice tangy and spicy touch to the salad. There was a wide variety of sashimi tossed into the salad which hit all the right notes in terms of texture and flavour.
Next, Box n Sticks took the Singaporean kong bak pau (扣肉包, braised pork sliders) and added its own unique twist. Instead of the regular Chinese-style braised pork belly, their Signature Buta Kakuni Buns ($8.80) were stuffed with Japanese-style buta kakuni (豚の角煮, braised pork belly). The meat was tender, the fat melts in your mouth and the sauce was savoury yet light while the bun was fluffy and chewy. Definitely a sure-win dish for those who are looking for something local with a Japanese twist.
Have you ever had Japanese style carbonara and wondered what was that unique taste that made it “Japanese” ? The secret, according to Box n Sticks head chef, is seaweed. If you’ve got a hankering for that special flavour, pick this off Box n Sticks’ menu. The Carbonara ($13.80) here is thick and hearty with a good heaping of bacon as well as a warm, runny sunny-side up egg. This is one of the heavier dishes they have, so if you need something heartwarming and filling, this is it.
The salad, carbonara and meat bun are available during lunch as part of a set menu and a la carte on the dinner menu.
If you love cheese, avocado and salmon, you’ll love the Aburi Salmon Cheese Maki. This maki has a smooth, rich texture and creamy flavour that comes from the maki’s ideal balance of the three buttery ingredients. The flavours are complementary and surprisingly doesn’t feel too heavy. The grilled cheese on top has a nice roasted savouriness while the generous topping of tobiko (飛子, flying fish roe) gave the maki a fun popping feeling as you chewed down on it.
Just like the last bowl of porridge in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this Tamago Mentaiyaki ($9.80) was just right. The omelette was silky, fluffy and eggy while the mentaiko was creamy and it was grilled to perfection. Although the flavour was light, the tamagoyaki (卵焼き, grilled egg) was moist and just a little sweet, but not overbearingly so. It’s a great pick-me-up in between other savoury dishes.
Box n Sticks takes part of their name from kushiyaki (串やき, skewered meat). In case you’re wondering the “box” in Box n Sticks comes from their previous lunch bento concept.
There are more than 30 types of sticks to choose from. For our tasting, we tried the Tori Kawa Ninniku (lightly salted chicken skin with garlic), Bacon Mochi, Tsukune (teriyaki chicken meatballs) and Gyu Niku Pineapple (Angus beef chunks and pineapple).
We were pleasantly surprised with the Tori Kawa Ninniku ($2.40/stick). We expected a stronger garlic flavour but found that the pieces of garlic were soft and juicy while the chicken skin was crispy and crunchy. The Bacon Mochi ($3.80) was fun to eat as it was chewy yet crispy and the simple grilled mochi complemented the fatty bacon well. The Tsukune ($4.80) was moist and delightfully sweet, salty and meaty while the Gyu Niku Pineapple ($8.80) was tender, well-cooked (medium-doneness) and refreshing.
Do note that the Tamago Mentaiyaki, Aburi Salmon Cheese Maki and Kushiyaki are only available during weekday dinners and all-day on weekends.
Light and fluffy this was indeed THE Very Good Tiramisu ($8). The perfect way to end any meal at Box n Sticks, the tiramisu was creamy without feeling heavy. The airy whipped cream and mascarpone cheese isn’t overly sweet had just the right touch of alcohol to give it that otona (大人, adult) taste. However, unlike most tiramisu, this one was given Box n Sticks’ unique touch – see if you can guess what the difference is when you actually try it for yourself.
Box n Sticks has lots of fans who send them ‘love’ letters in the form of bright, colourful postcards. These letters are kept near and dear right on the store’s wall where diners can have a peek at their contents if they’d like.
Box n Sticks serves a wider variety of dishes during dinner, but their lunch sets are definitely more value for money (you get a drink and side dishes with every set). It’s a cosy space which makes it better for smaller groups. However if you plan to with a bigger group, just call ahead to make a reservation. It does get crowded during lunch, especially between noon-1pm, so if you can afford to, try dropping by after 1pm instead. This diner is also great for dinner get togethers as their dishes are very sharable and go well with beer, sake or whiskey.
5th Anniversary Promotion
Starting 18th Dec
Enjoy 20% OFF all sake and whisky bottles
Tamagoyaki, Tori Nabe, Ebi Karaage, Potato Salad, 2 scoops of ice cream
*Valid for three months or while stocks last
Box n Sticks
28 Kandahar Street