Ume Maru: New Japanese hidden bar behind a bookshelf at Far East Plaza

By Evan Mua April 30, 2024
Ume Maru: New Japanese hidden bar behind a bookshelf at Far East Plaza
We’ve found another hidden bar, this time at Far East Plaza! Photos: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Anyone remember Ume San 100, the quirky hidden bar at Fortune Centre that’s hidden behind a row of vending machines?

If that’s something that enthrals you, then maybe it’s time to head down to Far East Plaza and check out the latest hidden bar in town.

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The shelves are full of eye-catching manga volumes and magazines. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

This time, it’s hidden behind a bookshelf.

Opened by the same team behind Ume San, Ume Maru is tucked away behind a bookshelf that’s filled up with a vibrant collection of classic Japanese manga and graphic magazines. 

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It’s a cosy izakaya vibe behind the shelves. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

But there’s more than meets the eye beyond the volumes of Bleach and Love Hina. 

Simply locate the middle panel that’s situated right over the signboard and you can find your way into the bar space proper.

Like its sibling concept, Ume Maru is a small and cosy space that’s decked out in wooden trimmings and jazzed up with hanging, book-shaped lights, giving off a modern izakaya vibe.

Ume Maru’s menu

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Cocktails, highballs, and premium umeshu house-pours — they’ve got all your alcoholic bases covered. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Following Ume San’s lead, Ume Maru’s food menu mainly comprises Japanese-inspired comfort food — think izakaya staples kept simple and not too flashy, such as udon and donburi.

And, as with the original concept, Ume Maru also offers a slew of alcoholic tipples to go with your meal. 

Fans of Japanese culture, in particular, will be drawn to their cocktails, many of which are inspired by popular anime and manga, including the sweet and fruity Light of Nara (S$22) that pays homage to the 1997 Studio Ghibli classic, Princess Mononoke.

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The udon is good for warming up your stomach before your drinking session. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

But we think the best value would be to go for more glasses of the refreshing premium house-pour umeshu (S$18) — Ume San is better known as a specialty umeshu (Japanese plum liqueur) bar, after all.

But of course, food is just as important when you’re at a bar like this and we think the kitsune udon (S$22) is an interesting choice.

This soupy dish features udon stuffed into a kitsune (deep-fried tofu) and served in a crisp dashi broth. 

It’s a dish that will warm up your stomach nicely if you’re hoping to get some drinks, albeit slightly expensive for what it offers.

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Zesty yuzu sauce and matcha cold soba is a solid pairing. Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

If you want something special, Ume Maru’s unique yuzu soba (S$24) sees decent cold matcha soba noodles coated with a bright and zesty sauce and a couple of (disappointingly overcooked) scallops by the side.

Should your carnivorous appetite demand some meat, the wagyu kushi (S$24) proved to be a bit of a crowd-favourite.

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Juicy skewers with highballs? That’s what izakayas are about! Photo: Evan Mua/HungryGoWhere

Although a tad too salty, the beef was rich and juicy and paired well with the grilled leek. All in all, it’s a dish that would be quite delightful when paired with a refreshing drink, such as a highball.

How does Ume Maru stack up vis a vis its sister bar Ume San? We thought the former was a bit more creative with the bar grub and showed more finesse in the execution.

Regardless, those who enjoy whimsical hidden bars would probably enjoy the concept here — it might be worth a trip down to rack up a few of those OOTDs for your ‘gram!

For more ideas on what to eat, read our stories on where to go for affordable but delicious grub in Johor Bahru and the new pizza opening from Naples that’s booked out for a month.

Do explore the new GrabFood Dine-in service for awesome deals.

You can also book a ride to Ume Maru.

Ume Maru

Far East Plaza, 05-26/26A, 14 Scotts Road
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Open: Monday to Sunday (12pm to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm)

Far East Plaza, 05-26/26A, 14 Scotts Road
Nearest MRT: Orchard
Open: Monday to Sunday (12pm to 2pm, 5pm to 11pm)

Evan Mua


Evan started off writing about food on Instagram, before joining outlets such as Buro and Confirm Good to pursue his passion. His best work usually comes after his first whisky shot in the morning.

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