This summer, Teppan Kappou Kenji at Tanjong Pagar introduces new delicacies and omakase selections that showcase ingredients in season, such as Pike Conger Eel fish and Ayu (Japanese sweetfish).
Watermelon Gazpacho 3.5/5
When temperatures start to pick up, and humidity rises, summer is the time for light and refreshing dishes. The first course to wake up our senses that evening was Watermelon Gazpacho, served with Japanese baby corn, Japanese water eggplant and smoked octopus. Due to the use of ingredients such as plum, umeboshi that are more assertive in flavours, the soup was a lot more punchy than what I had expect from a cold watermelon soup.
Ayu Somen 3.8/5
The month of June is Ayu (Japanese sweetfish) season in Japan, and we had a taste of it in Ayu Somen in bonito dashi. Topped with a sauce made from boiled Japanese okra paste, the viscosity of the sauce made the somen smoother than it already was. But what delighted me the most were the citrus notes exuded from the use of yuzu and sudachi, which mingled well with the savoury bonito dashi broth.
Seasonal Sashimi 4.8/5
Seasonal Sashimi was the third course, and this dish set the anticipation up high of what was about to follow. The Uni with Japanese-spot prawn served in halved sea urchin shell comprising of Smoked Spanish Mackerel, Red Snapper, Toro (Tuna), Suzuki (Sea bass), Shima Aji (striped Jack)
The fourth course was the most memorable - Hassun, part of a traditional multi-course (Kaiseki) Japanese dinner, all created from scratch by Chef Kenji. It was mesmerising. There were a total of eight courses, but each and every 'mini' course was distinct from one another and so intricate that they all intrigued and excited my senses. There is no specific sequence on how you should consume it, but I started the journey with the crunchy tempura of seasonal Japanese Sweet Corn and Edamame, followed by the Japanese Eggplant Rikyu-ni in a housemade sesame-based sauce. I like how the soft eggplant got a more luxurious texture from the creamy, nutty sauce. Another of my favourite is "Ishikawa Ko Imo Nopperi Ae" a type of Japanese small mountain yam. It is steamed and then cooked in a mix of katsuobushi, dashi, salt, sugar, shoyu, mirin before cutting into serving size, with the remaining portion being grated into a sticky paste (Nopperi-style) and mix with special white miso. We were advised to end the Hassum with Ao Ume (Japanese green plum) to cleanse our palate. It was no easy task to put this little plum onto our plate - boiled, soaked under running water for a day, before boiling for another hour, finally slow-cooking in a sweet sauce.
Isaki Cheek 3.5/5
Following that, we had a very tender Isaki Cheek (Gram fish), cooked on teppan in a saffron-style sauce made from katsuobushi, onion, capsicum. Served with "amana ga yasai" tempura, this Japanese green pepper served as a crunch element to this dish. Using herbs such as thyme and rosemary, this dish was also noted for its western flavours.
Hamo Shabu Shabu 3/5
Featuring Pike Conger Eel, we had Hamo Shabu Shabu. The soup is made from grilled Hamo (pike conger) bones, dashi, shoyu, mirin, and kombu. Served with Pike Conger Eel, another star item in this course was the homemade bean curd skin tofu. Its sweetness complemented the savoury soup really well.
Seasonal Kamameshi 4.5/5
A warm and hearty dish to conclude the meal is Seasonal Kamameshi. A mixture of different Japanese rice was cooked in a stock of bonito and assorted Japanese vegetable in the claypot, before adding in slices of A5 Ohmi Wagyu tenderloin and sea urchin (additional) into the kettle rice. The rice got much of its flavour from the bonito stock, with sweetness from the carrots, and those right underneath the tenderloin was rich with fats and juice from the Wagyu. I love the mushrooms in there too, which added lots of crunch and texture to the rice.
Musk Melon, Peach and Fig
Intentionally or not, I thought the dessert looked like a crystal ornament, with Musk melon, peach and fig resting on crushed ice, and crowned with housemade wine jelly that glittered under the lights. The attention to details was impeccable. The above Omakase is available at $150++.
Words and photos by Si An. A girl who is allured by travelling, loves the feel of freedom, smell of the rain and the aroma of fine coffee and food. Note: This is an invited tasting.
Teppan Kappou Kenji
99 Tanjong Pagar Road
Tel: +65 91523118
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)
Mon-Sun: 1130am - 230pm, 6pm - 1030pm
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk towards Orchid Hotel. Turn right at Tanjong Pagar Road. Walk down Tanjong Pagar Road towards the row of shophouses. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]