Nothing like the typical temaki, hand rolls at Rappu come with a generous helping of Wu-Tang Clan and gold flakes.
The sushi bar, Rappu, from The Feather Blade Group proves that you don’t have to compromise quality for price. Like its sister steakhouse, the ethos of eating well without breaking the bank applies here too.
Taking up two shophouses along Duxton Road, the first thing you’ll notice about the interior is its stark cement walls and light signage. Loud 90s hip-hop from the likes of A Tribe Called Quest blasts from speakers over a crowd of mostly under 40s. And in the centre of it all is the sushi bar, illuminated by a 20-metre LED lamp that changes colour according to the time of day.
In many ways, Rappu – its name a play on the way Japanese pronounce ‘rap’ and ‘wrap’ – is an extension of the group’s founder, Sheen Jet Leong. As an ambitious 20-something restauranteur, his concepts remain accessible and don’t take themselves too seriously. Rather than splurge on designer furniture and a “top Japanese chef”, he’s put his resources into procuring premium slices of kanpachi, engawa, toro, uni, rice and seaweed.
Hand rolls, Leong insists, are only served to guests seated at the counter to avoid soggy seaweed. It’s a spacious bar where up to eight staff can busy behind assembling rolls, mixing cocktails and pouring sake. With the loud music, it all gets a little overwhelming, but you can’t go wrong if you stick to the set menu and sake pairing that most diners come for.
Six hand rolls are prepared one at a time then placed on a raised ceramic plate by Indonesian potter, Ayu Larasati. Cadence seems to be set by staff who quietly keep an eye on you to make sure you don’t wait too long before the next hand roll appears. There’s also the extra decadent High Roller that is a mouthful of wagyu or toro topped with uni, caviar, ikura and, of course, gold flakes.
To go with each is a flight of sake ranging from a dry Akaeboshi Junmai Daiginjo to a cloudy and sweet Kawatsuru Honjozo Nigori. Drinking sake in shot glasses might be an acquired preference but we’re told that guests take them as samplers then order a bottle of their favourite after.
With everything dressed in the blue glow of the LED lamp and the high-energy atmosphere, Rappu soon feels like a bar, much like what Leong has envisioned for the place. Intended as a day-to-night joint, he has plans for it open for lunch selling wraps then turns up the rap music as it transforms into a watering hole at sunset.
Rappu is located at 52 Duxton Road, Singapore 089516.