Café Natsu: Returning to Roots with Revamped Menu

With the weather in Singapore being at its hottest this month, I’m sure you’re itching to pull out your suitcases and escape from the gruesome heat. And with Japan now in the cool Spring season, that sounds like a good shout! But for now, if hopping on a plane is not in the cards, why not check out and relax at some Japanese food spots here in Singapore? Step into Café Natsu, a tranquil oasis nestled in the heart of Joo Chiat with an all-new menu which brings them back to their Japanese roots.

The nature-inspired interior, adorned with forest green booths, tan chairs, off-white walls, and light salmon accents, instantly transports you to a serene Japanese garden. The modern yet uncomplicated menu perfectly complements the calming atmosphere, making Café Natsu the ideal spot to recharge and indulge.

Cafe Natsu: Interior
It feels as if time stands still when you step into Cafe Natsu

Previously, the cafe prided itself on its brunch-style menu, which seamlessly melded the flavours of the East and West. Now, it has undergone a tantalising transformation, bringing more authentic Japanese influences right to you.

Embark on a culinary adventure at Café Natsu with their new menu, offering a wide selection of small plates for group-sharing and individual main dishes. From delectable sandos to mouthwatering pasta and filling rice bowls, each dish is a testament to the authentic Japanese influences that await you. Join me on this gastronomic journey that rivals a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun!

Small Plates

For starters, Café Natsu offers a huge variety of small plates perfect for sharing in groups, with various tastes and textures. These new additions have already got my attention!

First, for a more refreshing start to your meal, you can try the all-new Hiyayakko, a Japanese cold tofu dressed with sesame and decorated with crispy egg floss. You can choose from two variations. The first is the House Goma Salad, which serves the Hiyayakko with fresh, mixed greens, puffed seaweed, and a wasabi dressing that makes for a crunchy and spicy combination! Meanwhile, the second is the Salmon Salad, which includes a satisfying helping of creamy salmon sashimi.

Prepare your taste buds for a unique blend of Western and Eastern influences with the Camembert Mentaiko Mochi. This dish features a pair of chewy mochi, generously stuffed with camembert, a soft and creamy cheese. Topped with Mentaiko sauce and a generous piling of Tobiko, this dish is a harmonious symphony of flavours and textures that will leave you craving for more!

Cafe Natsu: Camembert Mochi Mentaiko
Camembert Mentaiko Mochi is a wondrous symphony of Eastern and Western flavours

For those who have been eagerly awaiting the return of their favourite dishes, Café Natsu has good news. The Tori Karaage, a crowd-pleaser featuring juicy chicken thigh bits in a Shio-koji marinade, is making a comeback. The dish is perfectly balanced with a crispy fried texture, creating a symphony of flavours that is sure to delight your taste buds while giving you some ASMR goodness!

Another quintessential Japanese appetiser making its comeback is the Chawanmushi. If comfort came in the form of food, it would be this. This bouncy concoction is steamed and embellished with mushrooms, a standard inclusion in this dish, but does include bonus ikura (roe of salmon) for a salty combination. With its delicate and effortlessly smooth texture, it’s a matter of seconds before it’ll disappear from its plate and into your belly!

Want a lighter bite instead? Opt for the savoury Pickled Kyuri cucumbers with wakame (a type of seaweed) or Togarashi Fries tossed in the namesake spice with some citrusy, bright yuzu kosho mayo for dipping. These are light enough to save your stomach for the mains, but still have enough kick to whet your appetite!


For the mains, you have three choices of carbohydrates — pasta, rice, or bread. But don’t be fooled by their simplicity, as these categories possess Japanese comfort food options in the form of hearty portions of pasta, all-in-one rice bowls, and sandos that are a classic to die for.

First, we have to talk about the pasta. Highlights in this category are the Arabiki Carbonara, featuring an onsen egg cradled delicately by spaghetti and coated in a cream sauce with juicy Japanese sausage! Garlic Mushroom Aglio Olio is another pasta not to be missed, with greasy garlicky sauce and earthy mushrooms. Simple, but sinfully delicious! 

Cafe Natsu: Arabiki Carbonara
Arabiki Carbonara is doused in cream sauce with an onsen egg and Japanese sausage

Well, pasta doesn’t exactly scream Japan though, so if you’re seeking authentic Japanese flavours, then look no further than the Hiyashi Somen. Consisting of cold somen, soy dashi, mountain yam, and guava chunks, this dish is a great cold treat and perfect for the ever-blazing hot weather.

For those who cannot go a day without rice in a meal, rice bowls are the ones for you. They are accompanied by your standard bowl of rich, homemade miso soup for an extra hearty meal. They have signature options like Salmon Ikura Don, served with lemon shoyu-cured salmon topped with ikura and chunks of avocado. Great for seafood lovers like me!

Cafe Natsu: Salmon Ikura Don
Salmon Ikura Don generously piles ikura, avocado chunks and salmon high on top of a bed of seasoned rice

But sometimes you need more meat, so another option is the Wagyu Beef Don, complete with juicily tender shabu wagyu and onsen egg. You can also swap the wagyu slices for a wagyu patty by ordering the Wagyu Hamburg Don, which is just as delicious and filling! If you’re not a fan of beef, you can go for the Pork Katsu Don instead, which has a crispy golden exterior that is sure to woo your taste buds.

Japan is more than just rice bowls, though. The humble sando (or sandwich for us) is also a popular food item—it’s almost impossible not to find sandos at any Japanese cafe, and now you can easily experience them here, too! 

Toasted shokupan (Japanese milk bread) is paired with various combinations of ingredients to make a range of appetising sandos such as the Tamago Sando, a creamy egg salad and mounds of tobiko in between the shokupan and the Wagyu Beef Sando featuring lustrous wagyu slices paired with onion mustard sauce. To tie it all together, all sandos are paired with Togarashi Fries for a fulfilling meal.

Cafe Natsu: Wagyu Beef Sando
Wagyu Beef Sandos are packed with juicy wagyu beef slices, making it a cut above any ordinary sandwich!

Desserts and Drinks

To put the cherry on top, Café Natsu has a wide selection of refined desserts and drinks to end your meal on a sweet note! If you’ve heard of basque cheesecake, a dessert that took social media by storm years back, the cafe has its very own version called Miso Basque Cheesecake. This dish is specially torched tableside, providing a visual spectacle before you enjoy creamy bites of sweet and savoury. 

Another must-order dessert is the Matcha Chocolate Tart, which melds smooth dark chocolate mousse with earthy matcha. The raspberry coulis is elegantly decorated atop the tart slice to give a pop of colour and a touch of tanginess.

Cafe Natsu: Desserts
Choose either the light Miso Basque Cheesecake or the decadent Matcha Chocolate Tart for dessert

Fans of the cafe’s Mochi Doughnuts can rejoice as it’s also returning to the new menu. The crowd-favourite boasts a fluffy but fried texture on the outside and a chewy consistency from the mochi on the inside. Dipped in Japanese black sugar and served with sweet and salty Hokkaido milk ice cream, the dessert is nothing short of delightful!

As for the drinks, the cafe offers coffees and traditional teas like Matcha and Hojicha Lattes, but lesser-known beverages you can try that are just as enticing are the Mugicha (roasted barley), which has a coffee-like toasty flavour, with a nutty and sweet Sobacha (buckwheat) in either the form of teapot or cold brew which make them refreshing year-round drinks. A range of carefully selected, home-brewed speciality kombuchas is also available if you want a taste of seasonal flavours to pair with your Japanese fare.

On the alcoholic side, the cafe has a treasure trove of options. Dive into an assortment of fizzy spritzers that come in Yuzu, Umeboshi, and Ginger. If you wish to taste drinks with Japan’s unique charm, indulge yourself with drinks like Yuzu Prosecco, Umeboshi champagne, and Asahi, which will be the perfect sophisticated companion for your meal.

No matter what you choose, these thirst-quenchers will provide a refreshing complement to your meal and get you energised for the rest of your day once you exit the cafe!

So if you’re hunting for your next hangout spot for a relaxing time of Japanese cuisine enjoyment and tranquility, consider Café Natsu the next time you’re in the Joo Chiat area!

The new menu is now available for in-house dining, takeaway, and delivery on platforms like Grab from Tuesdays to Sundays from 8.30am to 5.30pm.

Café Natsu

📍Location: 283 Joo Chiat Rd, Singapore 427537
⏰Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday, from 8.30am to 5.30pm (Last Order: 5pm)

For more information and to reserve yourself a spot, visit

Visuals courtesy of Café Natsu.

Glenda Chong

Down to yap about anything related to K-Pop and pop culture anytime, anywhere.

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