Met up with an ex-colleague the other day and as we both love to try new beers and Japanese food (not necessarily in that order), we decided to go to JiBiru Craft Beer Bar @ 313 Somerset. The bar been around for quite some time and I have always wanted to try its yakitori – its other specialty other than its wide selection of Japanese craft beers – but every time I would deemed it too expensive to try them out on my own.
Well, even with the two of us, we still felt that for $3.50 (thereabouts) for a stick of yakitori was just not worth it. So we figured we’d stick to the beers and other a la carte food items which comprise many Japanese favorites.
We were keen to try their draught beers on tap and they have a cool system going at JiBiru. Every day/week, they will have a different set of six featured draught beers on the menu. On our visit, there was Sapparo Lager and Sambrooks’ Black IPA, and 4 varieties from Japan’s Hitachino Nest. There are also different prices for half/full pints (ranging from 7.50 to $15.90) for different time periods – from opening to 6pm, between 6-8pm, and after 8pm.
What caught our eye was a special Draft Tasting Set ($24.90) that allows you to order four draft beers from the menu and they will be served in 200ml glasses and in order of their appearance in the menu so you know which one you are drinking. Blooming cool.
We opted for the four Hitachino Nest drafts. As you can see above, from L-R: we had the Craft Lager (using New Zealand hops with sweet malts, it’s fruity with a bitter aftertaste); Endless Summer Saison (German hops offering a dry and fruity flavor), Pale Ale (full bodied and rich like an English-styled pale ale – my favorite among the lot); and lastly, Dai Dai Mandarin Ale (has a refreshing fruity flavor, brewed with organic oranges from the Hitachino region).
It was great to be able to taste as much as four different beer types in small portions. Only slight problem is that as JiBiru is open-air – it’s situated in the the 313 building’s food courtyard opposite Bedrock Bar & Grill – the beer does get warm relatively fast. Luckily, the evening we were there was rather cool but still, it would be great if there’s a way to keep the beer chilled for a longer period rather than us having to gulp it down as quickly as we possibly can…
Food-wise we ordered maybe a tad too much for two persons but amazingly we managed to clear most of the plates at the end. To compliment the beer, we chose traditional favorites such as Kawaebi (crispy fried river shrimp, $9.50), Tebasaki (fried chicken wings, $12.50) and Tempura Moriawase ($13.50). There was a Green Salad ($8.90) as well just to make us feel that we have something healthy in the mix…
The food items were on the whole nice and tasty. In fact, as we still have beer left after we finished the other dishes, we decided to order yet one more for the road. We settled on Arabiki Sausages ($11.50) which sadly was a disappointment. We thought it would be some kind of Japanese specialty – considering they are not known for sausage items – but basically what came was not unlike slow fried sausages from the can. Edible but certainly not worth its price tag. If there was any consolation, it did go well with the beer…
Total damage came to about $62 per person which is decent considering the amount of beer and food we had. So all in all, a great experience. Especially the draft tasting set. Will definitely make another visit again.
JiBiru Craft Beer Bar is at 313 Orchard Road, #01-26.