Friday, June 19, 2009
Tetsu- New Menu, Many Hits
Tetsu previously left me with fond memories not so much of their specialty tonkatsu or kushi, but of the more humble kani tofu, swordfish tataki and udon.
That's why I was very impressed at their new menu launch which has items that go beyond the deep-frying-centric theme. Chef Kent and his team must have really worked their ketsunoana off.
As this was a tasting session, please note that photos may not accurately reflect the normal serving portion. Prices in brackets are of a la carte orders.
The tasting started off with otoshi. Pretty much like an amuse bouche, the chef creates a small item to start the meal and prime the taste buds for what's to come. This one was a fried chicken ball with mayo.
The starter plate featured Kawa Ebi Karaage ($8), Renkon Chips ($4) and Fugu Mirin Boshi ($10). This translates into Deep-Fried River Shrimps, Deep-Fried Lotus Roots and Dried Puffer Fish accordingly. My favourite here was the river shrimps- crispy and full of crustacean goodness. The course salt further enhanced the flavour. The Renkon Chips were a little disappointing as they tasted flat and without the desired crisp. The dried puffer fish was slighty chewy with plenty of savoury-umami notes. A little akin to bak kwa without the sweetness.
Anago Sushi ($8) was a winner. The freshwater eel (not unagi) had delicate and soft flesh with a hint of smokeyness. And no bones too!
This cow is always excited to see cow on a plate. Plus, if it's one with enticing aromas and a pink interior, I go silent for a few seconds. The Yaki Niku ($16) featured a 200-day grain-fed Australian tenderloin. The texture was typical tenderloin squishness/cottony but the flavour was sweet and deep. The sauce that came with this was salty, savoury, citrusy, tangy. A dish that definitely goes well with rice!
The next dish stunned me. Daikon Fugiyosei (~$25) has to be ordered in advance as the kitchen takes two days to prepare this. A thick ring of Japanese white radish was first braised in a superior broth till all the goodness of the broth had been absorbed. Then scallops, prawns and ikura were placed inside this ring, capped with a slice of radish and steamed. The seafood mix inside this radish 'box' was fresh, simply-flavoured and seemed a little like good Cantonese dish (without dried mushrooms). The flavours were subtle and deft.
Moving on to some fried goodies. The Fish Hire ($14.50) was spot-on with a super crisp-crunchy-crumbly coat of breadcrumbs. The only gripe was that the flesh had a little of the muddy taste often associated with freshwater fish. But thankfully it was nothing that a big squeeze of lemon couldn't fix.
To its right was the Cheese Katsu Roll $16.50). The pork used was lean and hence a tad dry. The whole works of pork, melted cheese and fresh, sweet veggies were alright but I dream a dream of 4 cheese katsu. Sounds good no?
The Katsu Curry Rice ($16.50) had a breaded pork with Japanese-style curry that was mild and comforting with a slight spicyness and sweetness at the end. Oh yes. Steaming hot rice with a puddle of curry to blanket soft potatoes, carrots and breaded pork spells yum.
Chef Kent's Pickled Radish with Yuzu was a perfect palate cleanser with the crunchy vegetable bursting with lively acidity and citrusy fragrance. This is almost a must everytime I pop-by Tetsu.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Extreme(ly) Tasty Makeover!
Before: This blue-eyed beauty with red marbled skin was Kasago- a seasonal fish flown in from Japan. ($38 for 1/2 fish)
After: This isn't the prettiest-looking fish but hey, it's Extreme(ly) Tasty Makeover! The flesh of this fish was firm and tasted really fresh. The inner parts of the fish were a tad more moist than the outer parts so don't miss out on those bits of flesh hidden between bones and small discrete crevices.
No visit to Tetsu would be complete without one of my favourites here. I'm glad the Swordfish Tataki was still as delicious as I had remembered! A pity the Kani Tofu wasn't available at that time.
The tasting ended off on a sweet citrusy note with the Yuzu Ice Cream on Strawberry Sherbert ($5.80).
Thanks again to Rachael of B.e.a.m Consultants for the invitation and Tetsu, Chef Kent and Jason for hosting me.
I think its a pretty good new menu with increased breadth and offerings.
Opens: 11.30am-3pm for lunch, 6-10pm for dinner
Tel: 6836 3112
Chew On This: Some items like the 200-day grain-fed Australian tenderloin, Daikon Fugiyosei and Kasago are subjected to availability. So do give Tetsu a call and enquire beforehand!