Tamashii may have morphed from a robatayaki to a kappo-style restaurant, but it retains the same attention to good value.
When they started Tamashii Robataya at Offshore Building on North Canal Road, chefs Patrick Tan and Max See wanted to bring Japanese robatayaki—foods grilled over charcoal—to local diners. As is customary in many robataya restaurants, they served dishes with the long arm of an oar, honouring the tradition of Hokkaido fishermen cooking over a hearth. Six years later, it’s time for a change. After a refurbishment in June, they’ve re-opened as Tamashii, a kappo-style restaurant serving set lunch, a la carte and chef tasting menus (from $128 for six courses).
Chef Patrick Tan says the kappo—literally ‘cut and cook’—concept of over-the-counter dining lets him interact more with his guests and offer a greater variety of dishes prepared with quality seasonal ingredients.
In his new 8-course tasting menu ($168) for instance, autumnal produce are the star. A charcoal cone of Hokkaido king crab, bafun uni and crab miso; beef tartare and caviar toast; and ladies finger marinated with wasabi are the opening act. Stage set for the variety of tastes to come, an Okayama oyster makes a solo entrance. Plump, topped with lime jelly and millenial pink finger lime—the bivalve packs a briny, citrusy punch.
The sashimi platter arrives as a stately quartet of bafun uni; abalone, simmered and steamed for eight hours; mackerel marinated for hours and its skin lightly kissed by the fire over binchotan; and finally the gleaming chu-toro, topped with chef’s housemade soya sauce foam that’s as light and ethereal as it’s rich with flavour. A foie gras monaka arrives next to hold the attention. Its filling comprises foie gras, processed in-house with port wine and bay leaves, pickled radish and a dash of 15-year aged balsamic vinegar. The combination is creamy and much like stealing a mouthful of dessert midway through dinner.
Those who love unusual textures and tastes are in for a treat, with chef’s dish of thick-cut grilled beef tongue. Chewy and full of beefy flavour, it’s paired with mild shishito peppers that alleviate the taste when need be. The Carabinero prawn on the other hand, oven-baked and lightly chargrilled, is melt-in-your-mouth, sweet and umami. By the time we get to the rice course, brimming with slivers of Saga beef (striploin A4), tongues of bafun uni and a wobbly onsen egg, we’ve not that much stomach space left to do it justice, but one bite of the well-stirred egg-beef-rice combination and we’re making a mental note to return for their donburi signatures. Dessert, a slice of pristine Japanese muskmelon, ends the meal on a luxurious, refreshing note.
#02-01 The Offshore building, 12 North Canal Road. Tel: 62220316