Food Review: Teppei Japanese Restaurant

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If you like a little entertainment with your food, you can’t go wrong with Teppei.

The cosy 21 counter seater provides an warm and interactive experience because Chef Teppei and his team love to play with your food. You can expect to be teased, even pranked, during your meal as the team offers you personal-sized dishes.

However, don’t be fooled by the small-seeming portions, because you will definitely leave Teppei feeling full.

Teppei serves up over 15 different dishes in their omakase menu with fresh seasonal ingredients imported from Japan regularly. Chef Teppei puts in extra effort to make sure his menu surprises and delights guests at every seating. Customer satisfaction is extremely important to him, and it shows in the thought he puts in his food and presentation.

For our tasting session, Chef Teppei really pulled out all the stops.

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We started with spicy mentaiko (明太子, marinated pollock roe) wrapped in a fluffy tamago ( たまご, grilled egg). The dish was a good balance of sweet and fiery, with the mentaiko exploding with flavour with every bite. Next up was a sweet corn kakiage (かきあげ, mixed-ingredients tempura). It was crispy, not oily and naturally sweet. The lotus root with mayo was crunchy and had a light taste.

Also on the menu was kinpira gobo (きんぴらごぼう), a traditional Japanese sweet-salty stir-fried burdock root and carrot; and moroheiya ohitashii (モロヘイヤおひたし, blanched leaves of a jute plant). Moroheiya is supposed to be full of nutrients, even more so than spinach, it’s a typically middle-eastern type of vegetable and has a slightly slippery texture.

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The sashimi were generously cut, fresh and succulent. Our serving consisted of hirame(平目, flounder), kawahagi (皮剥, thread-sail filefish), sake (鮭, salmon), maguro (鮪, tuna), and ootoro (大とろ, fatty tuna belly). The ootoro was particularly buttery and tender. You can tell the fish were chosen with care because they each had a different texture and flavour that complemented each other.

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Teppei’s definitely has the most interesting way to serve sushi – a spoon. The balance of uni and rice with a hint of wasabi was prefect. The spoon made it easy to eat the uni without any of it spilling over the way it might done gunkanmaki (軍艦巻, battleship roll). The nigiri had the perfect balance of thickly sliced fish and a ball of rice which left us craving for more.

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The chawanmushi tasted as unique as it looked – green. It was smooth, creamy with a slightly salty taste.The green colour and fresh taste comes from a not-so-secret ingredient, seaweed. It’s certainly one of the more unique chawanmushi we’ve seen so far.

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One of the most normal seeming dishes available the agedashi kanpachi (揚げ出し間八) greater amberjack fried with potato starch; and vegetables.

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The most interesting dish that Teppei served us that day was a pricey Japanese delicacy called kame no te. Transliterated as “turtle’s hand”, these filter-feeding crustaceans are better known as actually goose barnacles (although the definitely look more like turtle’s hands than any part of a goose). The flash of the kame no te is raw and chewy, not unlike clam. It makes for an interesting food experience and photo opportunity.

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To further prove the fact that dining at Teppei is not for the squeamish, we were also served a lightly poached iidako (いいだこ). Although a little disconcerting at first, we quickly popped it into our mouths to discover its soft, chewy texture that had a light, slightly sweet flavour.

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A cute and crunchy treat on our plate was a small, red sawagani (サワガニ, Japanese fresh water crab) that had been deep fried till it crisp like a potato chip. On a prettier, lighter, airier note was a bright red hoozuki (Japanese lantern) with its delicate papery texture making for a delightful photo opportunity. Another unique and chewy treat was shallots fried with kinzanji miso (金暫時みそ, fermented rice, soya bean and barley).

Our omakase closed with a creamy hokkaido cheese cake, though guests normally get a seasonal flavoured ice cream instead.

Dinning at Teppei can be tricky. You’ve have to have either great luck, great patience or both. Teppei often has a wait list that stretches over two months long, with people calling to book a space as soon as they reservation slots open. However, occasionally someone will give up their seat at the last minute and these spaces are often announced on Teppei’s Facebook page and grabbed up within minutes. Your best bet is to call, reserve a spot and stick to it, or risk waiting another two months.

Located along the side of Orchard Hotel in Tanjong Pagar, Teppei Japanese Restaurant is run by owner and Chef Yamashita Teppei, who also happens to own HanaHana, Hanare and Teppei Syokudo.

Teppei Japanese Restaurant
#01-18, Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link
Tel: 6222 7363
Mon-Fri 11.45pm – 2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm
Sat 12pm-2.30pm, 6pm – 10.30pm

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