The Place There shouldn’t be much doubt that Tanjong Pagar is a Japanese food district. One relatively new Japanese restaurant is Teppan Kappou Kenji, a casual fine dining concept along Tanjong Pagar Road helmed by Chef Kenji Okumura, by the same team behind Hokkaido Izakaya just a few doors down. The setting of the restaurant centres around the open concept kitchen, where the counter seats give the best dining experience in my opinion. Otherwise, there is also a private room for bigger groups, along with regular dining table options.
The Food I had the S$150 Omakase Set, a 8-course dinner which changes with the season. As with most Omakase meals, it is the surprise of what is to come which excites me without knowing exactly what I am going to have.
The first course is an interesting Edamame vichyssoise topped with uni, and contains elements like leek and potato. Expect a well-balanced flavour and smooth texture for this starter.
You can’t go very wrong with fresh Sashimi next, where I had an assortment of Chutoro; Shima Aji; Suzuki (Sea Bass) and Kinmedai.
The third dish is quite interesting. I was surprised by the use of Shark’s Fin here with the Winter Melon, an ingredient which is more prominent in Chinese cuisine than Japanese. The winter melon is cooked in sesame sauce and topped with crispy Sakura Ebi, hence the flavour leans towards the sweet profile.
My fourth course is the Hassun, a combination of eight intricate mini courses. Some of the highlights for me are the Japanese sweet corn and Spanish mackerel tempura and the sesame tofu with prawn.
The next course is a fish dish. Ayu is a type of Japanese sweetfish, where this version is simply lightly grilled and served with wasabi dressing. The flavour of the fish is very fresh and is mildly sweet.
Moving on, I had the Pot of Eggplant with small Japanese Taro and Pike Conger Eel, boiled in Soy Sauce with Egg and grated Burdock served Yanagawa style.
My last savoury course was the Seasonal Kamameshi, where I had the Wagyu Beef Kamameshi. Kama means iron pot in Japanese, and this rice dish is a mix of different Japanese rice cooked in bonito stock. The highlight is undoubtedly the slices of A5 Ohmi Wagyu tenderloin and Uni, which makes the kettle rice dish a pure decadence.
Dessert is a simple serving of Japanese fruits, an assortment of figs, persimmons, musk melon and Sato Nishiki Japanese cherry.
The Rantee also tried a couple of the dishes from the ala carte menu, with the most memorable being the Stewed Wagyu Hamburg (S$15). Served in a hotpot, the sizzling hot hamburg is soaked in tomato sauce. The beef is very tender and it is delicious with the sauce.
Other ala carte dishes we tried were the Healthy Salad with Japanese dressing (S$15), which has elements like grate mountain yam, natto and special Akamoku seaweed dressing.
The Gyu Katsu (S$22) is good for sharing. Alternatively, try the Japanese Lobster (S$35) from Mie Prefecture which is topped with Uni.
Rants The head chef comes across as aloof, even though I was seated at the counter. Or perhaps, he was just shy.
Will I Return Again? In most aspects, dining at Teppan Kappou Kenji is quite value for money. The ingredients of the dishes are fresh, yet most of the dishes are fairly reasonably priced by Japanese restaurant standards in Singapore. I like that the setting is not too formal as well, which makes it an ideal for a casual date.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Make your reservation instantly at Teppan Kappou Kenji here.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3.5/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Teppan Kappou Kenji
99 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-01
Tel: +65 9152 3118
Daily: 11:30am to 2pm; 6pm to 10:30pm
Ranted by The Ranter