invited Skinny Epicurean
, Nibble & Scribble
and I for a food tasting session. Tetsu
prides itself as being the first Japanese restaurant to offer Kushi-style (skewered) Tempura as well as Tonkatsu dishes, prepared before your eyes. We didn’t get to watch the preparation process as we were seated with our hosts at a table away from the chef’s counter.
The set meals are reasonably priced (ranging from S$22 to S$55). I was advised to try Kaiseki Course B @ S$45, which consists of an assortment of 4 appetizers, vegetable crudites, Kani-Suki (Crab Sukiyaki), Kushi-Age / Kushi-Tem, Inaniwa Udon (Warm/Cold) or Rice with Pickles & Soup and Dessert.
We started our meal with a duo of appetizers : Kami Tofu
(blanched spinach with soy sauce & topped with bonito strips). As Ohitashi is commonly found in just about every Japanese restaurant, I focused on the Kami Tofu which I enjoyed immensely.
Chef Ken made the tofu with a base of julienned kani (imitation crabmeat) sticks, coated with a richly flavoured sauce made with pureed century egg yolks and stock (probably dashi) and topped with chopped preserved egg whites (actually, brown is a more accurate description of the colour), chopped spring onions and crunchy Ebiko (prawn roe). I generally hate kani sticks and was apprehensive when I saw that the tofu on a bed of kani strips. However, I love century eggs, tofu and Ebiko/Tobiko (flying fish roe) so I ate it anyway. The richness of the century egg sauce and the delicately flavoured smoothness of the tofu made the sweetish flavour of the kani stick less obvious.
Vegetable Crudites – part of Kaiseki Course B
The vegetable crudites here were served with sweet miso sauce (regular dip) and mayonnaise.
Assortment of 4 Appetizers – Part of Kaiseki Course B
The appetizers comprised (clockwise from bottom right): Ohitashi, Stewed Vegetables, Fried Salmon in Sauce & a Matcha Tofu. The Matcha Tofu is interesting. It was like a green tea panna cotta and had been made with soy milk. It was a tad too creamy for my liking but worth a try for the novelty.
Assorted Kushi-Age - Part of Kaiseki Course B
Then came the Kushi-Age. They were fried skewers of meat/seafood/vegetables coated with specially imported bread-crumbs. I like the rough texture of the bread crumbs that were crisp and not soaking in oil. I also like the clean taste of the crust which was a sign that the oil was used too many times. I loved the scallop and zucchini best as it was a pleasure biting into the crisp exterior which yielded to a juicy interior. The beef was just a little overdone for me but the prawn was delicious.
The Kushi-Age was served with a selection of dips which comprised (from top of the picture): a Curry Salt dip, Chili Sauce, Mayonnaise and Tonkatsu Sauce. I loved the Curry Salt dip best as it was an interesting variation from the regular dips. It added a fragrant and salty dimension to the dishes.
A word of advice: Don’t be too gung ho and coat your food with this dip, as salt…well, is salt thus adding too much can result in excessively salty food.
Kani-Suki - Part of Kaiseki Course B
(Snow crab legs served in a paper steamboat aka Kaminabe)
The snow crab legs were sweet and I enjoyed the tofu and golden mushrooms but I generally prefer a more savoury soup to the sukiyaki base offered.
Rosu Katsu (pork loin tonkatsu) – a la carte
Apparently, one of their most popular dishes is the Rosu Katsu. We had a portion to try. I generally do not like to eat pork but I must say that this is one of the best tonkatsus I’ve had in Singapore! It was crisp on the outside (like the Kushi-age) but the meat was succulent, which I attributed to the layer of fat on one end of the cutlet. It was served with the curry salt dip and Tonkatsu sauce. I ate my slices with the curry salt dip. Nibble & Scribble had ordered the Rosu Katsu-ni set (tonkatsu lightly simmered with sauce). I preferred the version without the sauce as the piece I tried had been simmering for a while and was a little tougher. The Rosu Katsu here is a MUST-TRY!
Inaniwa Udon (served cold) – Part of Kaiseki Course B
Skinny Epicurean told me that she had heard so much about the udon here so I should try it instead of opting for rice and miso soup (the alternative to udon). I generally hate udon even though I’m a major noodle/pasta lover. Why do I hate udon? Its because most of the versions I had are too heavy and starchy. Our hosts assured us that the udon here is not starchy unlike the regular ones. At the behest of my companions, I agreed to give it a try.
Boy, was I glad I did. When the dish arrived, I couldn’t help but note how the glistening strands were significantly thinner and looked lighter in texture than regular ole udon. When I bit into the smooth strands, I was amazed at the springy texture and the delicate flavour that was enhanced by the light dip that accompanied it. I was an instant convert and finished my entire portion of udon. This is definitely a MUST-TRY!
Garlic Fried Rice – a la carte
We were already feeling very stuffed when the garlic fried rice arrived. We were shocked at the size of the plate of rice. The aroma that wafted over was tempting so we ate some despite how full we felt. I thought the rice could do with a little more garlic (yep, I love to drive away vampires especially at night).
Dessert: Warabimochi Monaka
We were told to try the Matcha Mochi which is apparently another specialty. It was interesting but I felt that the mochi was a little too hard and the Matcha (green tea) flavour was a little too overpowering. Perhaps this is an acquired taste.
Thank you, Racheal, Pris & Chef Ken for taking the time to host us and to explain the dishes. I had a great time.
163 Tanglin Road,
#03-18 Tanglin Mall,
Tel: +65 6836-3112
Daily: 11.30 am to 3pm & 6pm to 10pm