This post is based on an invited tasting session. Initially, I was hesitant to accept the invitation, as I’d have preferred to go uninvited and unannounced. But in the end, I’m glad I did. If I’d have gone on my own, I would just order my familiar favorites and missed out on the unique offerings on Tetsu’s new menu.
Opened since early 2008, Tetsu specializes in tempura and tonkatsu, but lately, they’ve expanded their menu to include more items, as well as a new appetizer selection. The appetizers are an ideal accompaniment to sake or shochu. Some appetizers are available from a special price of $4.80 (Mondays – Thursdays, 6pm – 10pm).
The corn tofu was nice, but forgettable. But the fugu mirin boshi was something I couldn’t get out of my head! I mean, how often do we get to eat the deadly blowfish?
Besides the thrill factor, what made it so unforgettable was its addictive quality! The fugu mirin boshi is best summed up as sweet-salty and smoky, with a pleasant chewy texture that’s a cross between dried cuttlefish and bak kwa (barbequed pork jerky).
Yes, foie gras is supposed to be the star of this dish, but the daikon (radish) far outshone the overcooked goose liver with its explosive juiciness and flavors. I wonder if the stewed daikon is available on its own?
Thin and crunchy, lotus root chips are a safe crowd-pleaser.
Oysters wrapped in bacon, then grilled, this will pair very well with beer. Unfortunately, oysters aren’t really my thing.
The grilled mackerel was competently executed and elegantly presented.
Ebi=prawn, mentaiko=roe, yaki=grill. What they did was mix the mentaiko with mayonnaise, smear the mixture on split prawns, then grill till a browned top develops. The creamy mentaiko mixture was very more-ish!
Specially air-flown from Japan, the chilled udon is thinner than regular udon, but thicker than inaniwa udon. What makes it so good is its bouncy, QQ texture. If it weren’t so filling, I’d definitely have gone for a second helping!
According to Tetsu’s PR rep, the katsu curry rice is one of their bestsellers. Their curry is specially blended to ensure that it’s smooth and doesn’t have a powdery taste.
Although I’m not a big fan of Japanese curry, I must say the curry is definitely one of the better ones I’ve tasted. The katsu crust remained crispy and grease-free even when cold. Very impressive! But the pork loin was not quite juicy. This is probably our fault as my dining partner and I took too much time snapping photos. 😛
The mixed tempura platter consists of fish, prawn, and vegetables like baby corn and ladies’ finger. While the batter was very light and crispy, it retained a touch of grease. Otherwise, this would have been a faultless execution.
Visually stunning, the Dragon Roll, unfortunately, looks better than it tastes. I think the weak link here is the lettuce. Its presence causes the rice roll to become loose. The chef probably has good intentions here, i.e., to introduce a refreshing dimension with the lettuce, but I think it’s ultimately too distracting.
My friend, Vincent, casually mentioned a yuzu drink that he once tried on a flight to Japan, and the friendly staff kindly offered this yuzu sake for us to try. Now, why didn’t they bring this out earlier? This would have been the perfect drink with the appetizers!
The alcohol content for the yuzu komachi is 7%, so it’s light and easy to drink. Its sweetness and fruity scent reminds me of Choya, except that this is made from yuzu, unlike Choya which is made from plum.
If you come to Tetsu, don’t leave without trying the desserts pictured here. The ice cream and sorbet here are out of this world! Both Vincent and I couldn’t stop gushing over them.
I’ve never been crazy about black sesame ice cream, but Tetsu’s version had me at “hello”. Some versions I’ve tried overdo the black sesame; some are even bitter. But here, the black sesame isn’t overwhelming, yet it’s very rich and fragrant. The ice cream is also very smooth, creamy, and not too sweet.
The yuzu and strawberry sherbet is just as gorgeous, but in a totally different way. If you prefer something tangy and refreshing, this is it. We couldn’t believe that something so simple could taste so amazing! Personally, I love both the ice cream and sherbet equally. There’s just one word to describe them: Divine!
Final thoughts: While Tetsu ain’t no Tetsuya’s, it is a family-friendly Japanese restaurant offering competently executed and reasonably priced dishes. Its varied menu means there’s something for everyone.
Many thanks to Tetsu for the generous invitation, and to the staff of Tetsu and Racheal for their wonderful hospitality.
Tetsu Japanese Restaurant
163 Tanglin Road
#03-18 Tanglin Mall
Tel: (65) 6836 3112