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Japanese teppenyaki from Sakae
I went twice and I think I will still go back. Especially their chawanmushi.
I have eaten Teppanyaki in hotels in Japan and Canada. In Japan, they ask for quality meat and good service whilst in Canada, they ask for "skills". In Canada, the chef actually used the onions and stacked it up into a volcano shape, and pour water into the hole to make it like a volcano eruption, before eventually frying the onion. I was impressed.
So, I was excited when the Sakae Teppanyaki steam the chawanmushi using onion and on teppan. It is the creativity that make me go back again.
But the garlic rice, I think they have to improve on it. There is no fried garlic taste in it. Nothing comparable to the one from Sushi Tei at Raffles City.
For the price, I find it reasonable, since I only go during lunch (was told that the dinner menu is more expensive) and I am still allowed to pick the dinner sets if I feel like having it. Maybe because people don't tend to stay on when the chef finish serving the full course (which is around when you finish eating), I find it easy to get seats on Sat lunch at this branch, despite it being Tampines, always very crowded on weekends.
Sakae sushi recently branched out to the Teppenyaki business in their first all out table top cooking outlet at Tampines Century Square. Boasting 33 outlets all over Singapore, the green frog logo has more or less solidified its presence and made a handsome profit. So how does the Teppenyaki outlet fare?
Located directly opposite Sakae sushi, the new outlet is surrounded by tanks carrying live lobster, oysters and crayfish. There were about 3 cooking counters which can hold up to 24 customers at any one time. Everything looks clean and well distributed.
Classic Juice ($4) - Ordering drinks usually come across as a big no-no for me when i visit restaurants due to cut-throat prices and generally bad tasting drinks. Not this time though, the juice is delightfully refreshing with the stronger taste of peach complimenting the lighter tasting apple juice. I have been scouring department stores ever since for this beverage, anyone with information on this please let me know.
Vegetable salad with crab meat, seaweed and assorted greens - The complimentary appetizer was light and fresh with crunchy greens like lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and cabbage. Not too bad but nothing special either
Normal Japanese Rice - This is just simple sticky Japanese rice. However, it is possible to ask for garlic fried rice which would prove to be a much better choice as we witnessed it fried with butter, garlic, bean sprouts and eggs. The result was pretty pleasing for the nose but we unfortunately did not have that. Oh! This is at additional charge of course.
Pan Fried Salmon and Garlic Fried Beef Tenderloin, Mayonnaise Oyster and Pan Fried Foie Gras (Goose Liver), Chawan Mushi and Toufu, Pan Fried Chicken Cubes in Teriyaki Sauce and Wild Shittake Mushrooms.
The Completed Chicken Set ($17.90) - My gf had the chicken set and basically, i got to try almost everything. The chicken cubes were sweet and fragrant but a little on the tough side when chewing. The salmon is really hard and hardly held much taste which is a stark contrast from the toufu which was a tad too salty and the oyster, which is the most delightful of the lot, fresh and sweet. The mushrooms compensated the lack of bean sprouts and were soft, fragrant and chewy at the some time.
The Completed Beef Set ($19.90) - The beef set came with a generous helping of beef which i perceive as tenderloin since there is a distinct layer of fat present in it. The goose liver is smooth and evenly pan fried to goodness but compared to Humble house and Zambuca, they have a long way to go. Toufu and mushrooms are the same as the above and the Chawan Mushi was very good. It was smooth, fresh and sweet because we saw the ingredients as it was prepared. Nicely done.
A rather satisfying Teppenyaki meal if i do say so myself only came at the cost of $51.32. Not too expensive but if the location could be improved on a little more, this might be worth another look.
The variety it offers in the set meals are a refreshing take on a tired Teppenyaki menu. Still, you can't fault them for being innovative. I would describe this as a fusion of old school cooking with new world tastes. The question to be had is whether this gives them an edge over the competition who relies on not changing to meet demands. My answer to that is: Wait and see. I can't say i didn't enjoy the meal but somehow it still feels like something is lacking. Probably the posh feeling or maybe i just prefer ala carte ordering. Still, worth a look for budget consumers.
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