When you think of omakase, sushi always comes to mind. So a tempura omakase is unusual (at least to me), and I went in thinking that I’d be sick of fried food by the end of the meal. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and Master Chef Daiki Kawaguchi demonstrated that he’s really an expert at creating the lightest and fluffiest batter for any dish.
Tentsuru is located at St. Regis, which itself indicates this isn’t going to be a cheap meal. But is it worth the price? If you want to sample Chef Kawaguchi’s dishes, go for the Koto lunch set that’s priced at $120++ and includes six types of tempura (3 seafood and 3 vegetable). If you want to pick and choose, you can order tempura a la carte as well. But read our review first so you know what to go for.
Above: Tentsuru Champagne
Who doesn’t love starting a meal (any meal!) with champagne! This one was sparkling, bubbly, cold and refreshing.
Above: Deep Fried Sweetened Chestnuts
These chestnuts are sweetened and deep-fried in a potato starch batter, which is called hakusen-age. The batter was tasty and crispy, almost like a biscuit, and the chestnut was truly very sweet — as they should be.
Crab Cream Croquette
This dish is made by mixing crab with white sauce, breading and deep frying. It was creamy and not too cheesy. One serving of this was just right.
Saury Fish (Sanma) with Eringi Mushroom Yuan-Yaki
This fish is quite close to mackerel. I liked the flavour, and you’ll need to eat this in two bites. The muchrooms are meaty and go well with the fish.
Steamed Baby Taro (Kinugatsugi)
I like the way this was prepared. Crispy on the outside, soft and creamy on the inside. A subtle flavour that wasn’t too starchy.
Now begins the tempura, and there’s no better way to start it than with sake.
Above: Katsuyama Ice Valley
A light sake that isn’t dry. A little sweet and a little sour.
With the following tempura, the chef has prepared the following condiments to complement each dish: Plum Sauce, Yuzu Pepper, Curry Salt, Sea Salt, Lemon Juice, Tendashi.
Above: Kurumaebi (Tiger prawn)
This is good with sea salt or lemon juice and was beautifully fried. You can hear the crunch from your neighbours as they bite into it. It’s hot and crispy, light, and you don’t taste the oiliness. You can also still taste the sweetness of the prawn. Often with deep fried seafood, the sweetness is compromised, but not in this case.
Above: Ginnan (Gingko Nut)
There are three balls. Pair the first with sea salt, the second with curry powder, and the third with the tempura sauce. We love that the chef makes recommendations and tells us what the correct pairings are. The curry powder as a condiment for tempura is not common, which makes it interesting, and this was my favourite pairing out of the three. Highly recommended.
Above: Kisu (Whiting)
I wasn’t expecting such a light fish. The tempura from the batter is thin, light and crispy. It’s best paired with the yuzu pepper and like the above tempura dishes, is absolutely delicious.
Above: Deep Fried Sakuraebi (Sakura Shrimp)
At first glance, this just looked like a lot of batter. But the second I bit into it, I said — I need to learn how to cook this for the kids; they will love it. This was a nice generous portion as well.
Above: Sake Kuroushi
Oh wow, another sake that I like. This one was more flavourful and robust than the last; it’s fruity and tasty.
Above: Salmon Cedar-Plank with Ikura (salmon roe) & Hana Lotus Root
I loved the lotus root but not so much the salmon. The idea of the dish is interesting though, topped with the egg white foam. The fish was a tad hard and dry, but again, the lotus root was a delight. I would have preferred if this was prepared as sashimi instead of teriyaki-style.
Above: Kinmedai (Red Eye Snapper)
I was surprised by how much I liked this fish. It is light, flaky, very fresh, and goes well with the plum sauce that the chef recommended. Very nice. I finished it. Not jelak at all.
Above: Maitake Mushroom
Super crispy and hot from the fryer; it has a subtle flavour but yet leaves you wanting more. Loved the flaky textured layers. A good mushroom if I must say so.
Above: Miyazaki Beef Sirloin
A meat dish, after all the seafood is a nice refreshing and balanced change. We are told that this is Wagyu A5 standard, and it was truly a very fatty beef. It went beautifully with the beef sauce that had a raw egg and shaved truffle. And for those who’ve not tried temporary beef before. This is an excellent introduction to it. The portion is just nice, not too much.
Above: Anago Donburi
I’m generally not a fan of anago but this was fried beautifully (Chef Kawaguchi really is a master fryer). The accompanying miso soup is also very fragrant and cleanses the tummy.
If you think you know tempura, you know nothing until you’ve tried Tentsuru. Master Chef Daiki Kawaguchi is truly a master at his craft and will serve you the lightest, fluffiest, least oily batter that will have you coming back for more. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this omakase that didn’t have raw food. With most tastings, there are hits and misses, but really only one miss here with the teriyaki salmon. Everything else is recommended and worth a trip down to his restaurant for.
Tentsuru is located at The St. Regis Singapore Level 2. Opening Hours are Tue-Sun Lunch 12pm-230pm and Dinner 6pm-1030pm. Visit tentsuru.com.sg for reservations.