"Gourmandism is an act of judgement, by which we prefer things which have a pleasant taste to those which lack this quality." – Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

Archive for May, 2011

Tatsuya Japanese Restaurant

Never ever been so lavish on my expenditure over food. This cost even more than my visit to Morton’s!

I have heard about Tatsuya from different sources and the one that left an impression upon me was from ieatishootipost. This one fine day, my colleague friend was suggesting we visit this place. Hoho, finally I could try it!

We were comfortably seated at the counter in front of Chef Andy and the sashimi in front of us were screaming at me to eat them! The sashimi blocks incessantly made me salivate till I almost got dehydrated at the end of my meal. Every remaining soul/spirit of the fish and prawns were perpetually encapsulated by my imaginary mental power, analogous to the evil spirits being vacuumed by Sha Wujing’s magic gourd in Journey to the West.

Chef Andy Loo

Tuna Sashimi Blocks

Notice the difference in the amount of fats (fatty prints) present in these three pieces of tuna. Chef Andy said a fresh piece of sashimi must appear to be gleaming and shining at you. Those that appear dry and dull are not fresh.

Sashimi Platter for Two $150

This platter consists of ootoro, aji, salmon belly, bluefin tuna, scallop, ebi, octopus and shell fish. It was heavenly taking every piece. It took me a while to decide which to eat first and eventually started with my favourite – the ootoro. The scallop was huge and the sauce that topped it was flavourful in every chew. I have never had such fresh scallops!

Mirugai Mentai $15

Mirugai (geoduck) is a type of mollusk (clam). The meat was carefully diced and placed on the shell, and on top of it is mentaiko grilled to perfection. Every bite of the mirugai was sweet and the taste of mentaiko was not too over-powering. The red piece in the photograph is actually ginger stem and Chef Andy said the red part is not to be eaten. A pity I didn’t try the ginger stem.

salmon belly sushi $15

This is salmon belly tataki, lightly seared on the outside leaving it raw inside. I saw Chef Andy applied more than 6 kinds of toppings meticulously which he described as applying cosmetics to it to enhance the taste of the fish.

Rose Ebi Sushi $15

The size of the Rose Ebi (giant Ebi) is about three times the size of a normal ebi you would find in Sushi Tei. Fat and succulent, I wonder how its texture is like. I would have loved this as sashimi!

Morokoshi Age $6

This is a rare find – crispy, pop-py corn bits surrounding a big prawn, then dipped into some tempura and deep-fried. The result: sweet, crispy, corn-y.

Sushi Bento Set $30.90

The restaurant offers set lunch at very affordable prices. Being a sashimi lover, I ordered the sashimi sushi set. I had never eaten such yummy tuna! It was sweet and the taste of tuna was dominant. Every piece of sushi was bite size – you can eat it as a whole.

The chawanmushi is worth mentioning here as it was REALLY silky and smooth! It apparently melts in my mouth! On top of these, I believe the chef put mandarin peels in the preparation. Every mouthful was refreshing and I thought Sushi Tei’s was already good! Obviously, nothing was left on my plates at the end.

Udon Set $20.80

On top of these, my friend also ordered a Salmon Skin Temaki ($7) and a scoop of Japanese ice cream ($6). The temaki was not cone-shape; instead it was rolled into a cylinder. Chef Andy was explaining that the way he made the handroll is special as he wanted every bite to be even with the salmon skin, rice, tobiko and crispy seaweed.

Our total bill amount to $332.05 after a 10% discount with credit card.

It was about 3 pm before the chefs began to keep everything back into their cold refrigerators. Chopping boards were cleaned, knives were sharpened and working areas cleared – all ready for another round of feasting before dinner time arrives.

I will definitely visit the restaurant again, yup, after I get my bonus. And when you’re there, please do not be stingy with your pockets. If you are feeling generous with yourself, request the chef to recommend and make you some special items:

Kaiseiki Course (traditional multi-course Japanese meal) $165
Sushi course 16-18 pieces ($180-$200) 
Omakase (leaving your selection to the chef) $250

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I patronize the restaurant again in early November 2011!!! There were 4 of us and all of us went for the omakase. How daring right? It was so exciting to wait for the next dish and we were always in anticipation. We budgeted for less than $200 per person but was shocked when the four-figured bill came. It amounted to $265 per person after GST, service charge and a 10% discount. This is the most expensive and extravagant meal I’ve ever eaten. I am going to live on hawker food for the remaining month.

Hence, to make sure that it was worthy of what we paid, I’m going to take time to post all the photos of the food we’ve eaten.

We made a reservation for the counter seats and Chef Andy served us again. He could actually remember us. That’s what makes an A-grade chef! The chef said that in an omakase, the chef has to take care of the choice and order of dishes. The dishes have to be balanced in terms of sweetness, saltiness, spiciness and portion.

1. Deep fried renkon and shishamo

The renkon (lotus root) was coated with sugar and hence the crispy renkon was different from its original tastelessness. There were three small shishamo that were very good. What is worth mentioning here is the ginkgo nuts!!! It was coated in sugar and deep-fried. I was surprised by them as it was so appetizing and am not a fan of ginkgo nuts. But I finished the three pieces one after another!

2. Fried toufu

This fried tofu was nothing spectacular.

3. BBQ Pufferfish (Fugu)

First time having puffer fish!! This was a portion for two. It tastes like bak-gwa except with a fishy taste. It was addictive especially for a fish-lover like me.

4. Flame-seared sword fish (Mekajiki)

Two very tantalizing pieces of sword fish. Chef Andy added the garnishings layer by layer with care. The fish was very well flame-grilled and its texture was very very good.

5. Sashimi

Next up, sashimi!!!! Love tuna belly!!! It just simply MELTS in your mouth!!!

5.1 Flame-seared sashimi for my colleague who doesn't take raw

Chef Andy flame-seared the sashimi for my colleague who still doesn’t take raw food. Such a waste to the fresh sashimi.

6. Grilled fish with one piece mentaiko-ed

Grilled fish!! This time I ate the whole ginger shoot!! It was a little gingerly-spicy but very very nice!! It gave your palates a rest from the overly-rich fish flavors. The round red piece you see on the right side is actually the cross-section of a sweet potato. It was heavenly sweet and soft!!!

7. Big succulent rose prawn temaki

This is the big brother of all prawns! The rose prawn, thicker than the diameter of your thumb, is succulent and is a must-have for all prawn lovers!!! The rose prawn was made a tempura first, then wrapped in top-grade Japanese seaweed that the chef claims it’s the top-second grade in the whole world. In order to take care that every bite has some rice, tempura and seaweed in the correct proportions, the chef wrapped it cylindrically.

7.1 The underside of the temaki

This is the underside of the hand roll. It is to prevent the insides from falling and dripping out. The chef calls it “wearing underwear”.

8. Tempura kani and Japanese green chilli

For a moment, I thought this was another prawn!! But it is actually the crab’s leg (kani)!! It was very meaty and the Japanese green chilli was full of chilli flavor. It wasn’t spicy though.

9. Mushroom soup

This dish was bland but really healthy. Probably this is to prepare our palates for the star of our omakase – our beef bowl!

Now let’s take a look at how Chef Andy prepares our beef bowl:

A layer of rice was already at the bottom of the bowl.

Chef preparing the layer of egg for beef bowl

Pulling up the egg

Flame-searing the beef

10. Beef bowl

I enjoyed watching how Chef Andy prepared this beef bowl. He even told us how this beef bowl came about. It is not in the menu. So one fine day, a customer didn’t want any sashimi or anything in the menu and only asked for beef rice. So chef Andy came up with this beef bowl and the customer commented it was the best beef bowl he has ever eaten. This beef bowl was also rumored and many other customers started to order this in the restaurant. So I really had high expectations of this beef bowl especially I had recently fallen in love with beef. However I was kinda disappointed because the whole beef bowl was full of the flame-seared taste. I was already quite sick of this taste from the first few dishes. So even though the beef was of top quality and filled with that beef flavour, I didn’t really enjoy a much as I thought. Moreover, I didn’t like tendons. The beef had many parts with what I deemed “unchew-able” parts. Hence I felt I wasted the good beef there.

11. Musk melon and pomelo

This dessert served as a relieve. The very polite waitress told us that we have to eat the musk melon first. It was really REALLY sweet. I’ve never eaten any melon like this before!!! Then it was the pomelo’s turn! Then we understood why we have to eat the musk melon first. The pomelo was SOUR! But even it was sour, it was so juicy and flavorful!!! At this point when I’m typing this, my saliva glands suddenly spewed extra saliva onto my tongue. How sour!

12. Mandarin orange peel ice-cream

I’m finally at the last dish of omakase. It ended with a refreshing mandarin orange peel ice-cream.

Our next visit? In 2012, after April after we get our bonus. LOL. Meanwhile, good luck to me to survive on hawker food for the rest of the month!!

Restaurant: Tatsuya Japanese Restaurant
Address: Goodwood Park Hotel, 22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: 6887 4598  / 6737 1160
Email: tatsuya@singnet.com.sg

*The restaurant restocks every Wednesday.

*Do request to sit at the counter to give your eyes a good feast too!

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Bibigo

This is newly opened at Raffles City basement. This is Bibigo and their selling point is that their food is a healthier choice. It is at the forefront to promote Korean culture.

If you ordered bibigo rice, bibimbap or hot stone rice, firstly, you can choose between the normal rice, barley, brown rice or black rice. Then your choice of topping of beef, chicken, tofu or prawns. Lastly you choose your sauces – little disposable packets of Kohot or Ssam hot sauce and sesame oil to mix into your rice.

I had the seafood tofu. It tasted healthy seriously. I would have preferred if the potion was a little bigger. As for the Char Bulgogi, it was very tasty. A pity they don’t offer a free-flow of lettuces to go with the meat.

In order to make this a more authentic experience, the restaurant should offer more varieties of ban chan (side dishes) besides the usual cabbage kimchi and ikan bilis, as well as free-flow of lettuces. The variety on the menu was limited. You will not expect to see the traditional naeng myeong (cold noodles). It was disappointing that their objective to promote Korean culture is missing in many aspects.

Char Bulgogi – $22
Hot Stone Black Chicken – $16
Seafood Tofu – $14

Prices exclude 10% service charge and 7% GST.

Restaurant: Bibigo
Address: 252 North Bridge Road, #B1-74, Raffles City Shopping Centre, Singapore 179103
Tel: 6336 4745
Fax: 6336 6427
Opening Hours: 11 am to 10 pm
Korean Website: http://english.bibigo.com/index.asp


Le Cafe Confectionery & Pastry

Introducing Singapore’s first bean curd tart! Refreshing taste! The crust is hard yet crispy. Try this if you want a change from egg tarts or Portuguese tarts. 🙂

Stall: Le Cafe Confectionery & Pastry
Address: 264 Middle Road Singapore 188990
Tel: 6337 2417
Website: http://www.lecafe.com.sg/