In Dear2’s last post, she mentioned eating out at Ichiban Sushi on our most recent date. That made me want to write a post about Ichiban Sushi. We have visited Ichiban Sushi on numerous occasions and have also mention it a few times on our blog. Why are we so infatuated with this restaurant?
Let’s take a short trip down memory lane.
One important contributing factor is its location. IMM became (and still is) our favourite haunt especially during the time when we just ROM-ed and were renovating our house. We frequented IMM because it housed a large number of interior designers, furniture shops, lighting shops, electrical shops, basically everything that we need to furnish our love nest.
Our love for IMM was further reinforced when we signed our bridal package with a studio also located in IMM. And so we visited IMM multiple more times to try out the gowns and suits, take photos, take final measurements, select photos, bargain photos, collect album, collect flowers, collect gown, return gown, ya.
Not to mention IMM is also just about 10 minutes from our house, so we also visited quite often just for leisure and to window shop.
I remember it was during one of our important anniversaries (Dear2 help, was it together? or wedding?), we went to IMM in search of a decent restaurant to celebrate the occasion. And so we chanced upon Ichiban Sushi on level 2 with a medium length queue outside. Let’s try it, we thought.
We were given this romantic little table for two by the nicely wall-papered wall, under a decorative feature arch, illuminated by a warm ball of light. I remember us chit chatting leisurely and just savoring our anniversary over dinner. It also helped that we both enjoyed the food (I remember ordering the a cold noodle and unagi bowl set) and found the pricing quite reasonable for the quality of the food, pretty good service and ambiance.
We were quite satisfied as we went to settle the bill. And this was when we got hooked. We were given this reward card where we can collect a stamp for every $20 spent. Since we enjoyed our experience at the restaurant, we thought that the reward card was a good idea and we can frequent this restaurant again to collect more stamps.
And we did.
The next time we visited was for a family birthday celebration. The second time round, the experience wasn’t so good. There were 5 of us, seated at a table for 4, making it rather squeeze-y. Also, Dear2 decided to try out their ramen promotion and it tasted rather bad. Nonetheless, we collected my stamps, so now, we were committed.
A sample of the latest reward card from Ichiban Sushi.
The nice thing about their stamp collect reward card is that the rewards were cumulative. I don’t have the card here and I don’t remember exactly, but roughly it works like this. After 3 stamps, we get to redeem a plate of squids or octopus, and we retain the card. After yet another 3 stamps, we get to redeem a higher level reward which is a plate of fried gyoza or something similar, and we retain the card. And so on. So we keep accumulating the stamps and get mini rewards along the way until we get to the final prize where we can trade in the reward card for a $20 voucher or similar.
So for the next few months, we frequented Ichiban Sushi to collect stamps and also to try out their variety on the menu. We did this mostly at IMM and also at Ang Mo Kio hub after attending Mrs Wong’s lessons. Eventually, we found other menu items that we liked. I liked that curry rice in particular, and Dear2 is generally happy with the rice bowls (don) and hot pots. One difficulty that we faced was optimizing our bill to collect the stamps. It was difficult to order 2 portions of adult food for exactly $20 but we also felt that it was too expensive to spend $40 for 2 adults. We did both. We tend to eat small portions that totaled to exactly $20 and topped up our tummies with finger snacks from Old Chang Kee and such. And we ate exactly $40 by ordering larger bento sets and had a sumptuous dinner just once.
There was also an expiry date for the reward card so we also found ourselves visiting the restaurant more often than necessary and that contributed to a larger fall in marginal utility.
Eventually, we redeemed our reward card and vowed to never take the reward card again. It’s not that we don’t like the restaurant, just that we don’t want to commit to the reward system. The main draw of a restaurant should be the food, service and ambiance.
So now, we simply pay using our CapitaMall Card at IMM and collect the 5.3% rebates. And we’re not restricted to spending in multiples of $20. At least I find that with the newfound freedom, I enjoyed the restaurant more this way.
Ichiban Sushi has a special place in our hearts because of the memories we’ve created there, both the celebrations and the mad rush for reward stamps. Will we visit again? Definitely. Not compelled to, but because we want to.