My family friends knew their Japanese food well, with no lack of outstanding Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong and making trips to Tokyo as frequent as twice a year! So when I was asked to bring them for a Japanese meal that Singaporeans would be proud of, Tatsuya came to mind without even thinking! (Okay Aoki did beckon as well, but I was slightly put off by their dress code stated on the website)
Complimentary Salad, Cold Tofu
Located at Goodwood Park Hotel, Homegrown Chef Ronnie has a hoard of followers who swear by his creations. With the influx of celebrity chefs (thanks to the IRs), the charm at Tatsuya is still highly sought after as I barely managed to book a table for 4 on a weekend dinner.
These two appetisers were served without asking, but we had them anyway as their light, refreshing taste perked us up for what follows after!
Assorted Sashimi Platter
We decided to go with the Chef's Recommendation for our platter since he knows his ingredients best after all! Definitely a visual feast, there were slices of Fatty Tuna, Abalone and Sweet Prawns among the many choices. Freshness is key for sashimi and I had no qualms about the ones here at all. Besides the oh-so-melting tuna, my other favourite would be the creamy Sea Urchin that burst so full of sea goodness!
Stewed Chicken with Yam, Chawanmushi
The first one came recommended by our friendly waitress as a homecooked dish in Japanese households. Indeed, the tender chicken chunks and fluffy yam bits were well simmered in a light sauce that gave a warm fuzzy feel. But it felt slightly too common that my mom could conjured it at home. (Then again, she could replicate almost anything..)
The steamed egg custard wasn't particularly outstanding, but its soft texture went well with us anyway.
Grilled Gindara, Grilled Unagi
Bring on the grilled fishes! Thought it seems to be just a little overblackened, the cod was still very nicely done with a juicy, firm bite.
Unagi is getting cheaper over the years as China reared them in huge volume, but the drawback was that these had a more rubbery texture and weaker taste. Unless Tatsuya has a very good Chinese supplier, I think the ones served are directly from Japan as the meat was finer with good natural taste.
Assorted Tempura, Grilled Steak
The friend proclaimed that the best tempura in Hong Kong is found in Inagiku for its ultra light and crunchy batter. The ones here didn't topple her favourite, but it was good enough for me!
The steak could do with less of the black pepper sauce, but its medium doneness was tender with a good beefy flavour.
Assorted Sushi Platter
Some years ago, I read in a food magazine that the best way to eat sushi is to:
1) Dip the fish side into soy sauce lightly, and to insert it upside down in your mouth with the fish on your tongue so that you can immediately savour its freshness. 2) Eat it whole and chew slowly so that you could enjoy its full flavour. 1) Never add more wasabi in your soy sauce, as it should already be lightly applied within as recommended by the Chef.
Not sure how accurate that is, but I think it kinda made sense so I do try to follow when it comes to handcrafted ones!
Though these were mostly repeats from the Sashimi Platter, the little balls of vinegared pearl rice were thumbs up as its complemented the fresh seafood wonderfully with its chewy, distinct texture. Every piece was joy on its own!
The egg omelettes were also very well done with its sponge-like texture and lightly sweetened taste. Extra fun in nibbling the words off!
As though we didn't have enough carbo, I just couldn't resist this when it showed up on the menu! Not your regular thick types, Inaniwa Udon is simply outstanding with its smooth, springy texture that has a very different bite to it. Unlike in Hong Kong where I could easily find them in gourmet supermarkets, its quite rare over here where even Isetan doesn't stock them.
I was told that the traditional way is to add a quail egg to your dip mixture, though many restaurants are doing away with that for health concerns. I'm glad that they still did that here as it added a nice eggy flavour to it!
Match Ice Cream with Red Bean, Cheesecake
To end off the satisfying meal, we had scoops of fragrant green tea ice cream and Japanese-styled cheesecake that was strangely addictive with its sourish flavour. Now that filled up the last gap nicely!
I didn't even have the chance to glimpse at the bill, but I'm sure it was quite a premium for its finest quality and excellent skills. The Tatsuya experience was definitely one of the best Japanese meals last year and as I spied the mouth-watering Aburi selections when leaving, it definitely calls for a return when the wallet is full!
Tatsuya 22 Scotts Road, Goodwood Park Hotel Tel: 6887 4598 Note: Reservations a must to avoid disappointment!