Customisable food items are all the rage now, and if you’ve ever tried Masizzim, you’ll get the concept behind Kogane Yama. After all, they’re both opened by the same folks who first introduced Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory.
Opened on 4 June 2017, this 44 seater restaurant specialises in customisable tendon bowls, featuring a heap of tempura pieces atop Japanese rice resembling a golden mountain, which is the meaning of the restaurant’s name.
Start off by choosing one of four tempura options: Chicken Bowl ($13.80); Prawn Bowl ($13.80); Vegetable Bowl ($11.80); or Mixed Bowl ($15.80), which has ingredients from all three tempura bowls. You can also upgrade to a set meal for just $2, that comes with two choices of sides or drink (chawanmushi, miso soup or free-flow green tea).
I tried each of the options available. Starting with the Chicken Bowl ($13.80) first, I enjoyed the tender and moist chicken encased in a light batter that was crisp yet didn’t harden up when the tempura cooled down.
It was paired with non-spicy tentsuyu sauce, which was made with a blend of garlic, sesame oil and Japanese soya sauce, and Soba (additional $1) in dashi broth.
The sauce was sweet, with a strong garlicky taste that enhanced the tempura — but that also overpowered the flavour of the delicate dashi broth.
I decided on having the Udon (additional $1) with the Prawn Bowl ($13.80) and level one tentsuyu sauce, which had a mild heat to it but retained the same sweet flavour. The prawns were crunchy and sweet with the batter was still light and crisp when served. The prawn and chicken bowls come with select vegetable tempura — shiitake and enoki mushrooms, shiso leaf and seaweed, just to name a few.
I particularly liked the seaweed tempura as it was crunchy even though it had batter only on one side. I was very happy that all the bowls come with a generous serving of Eibiko, other than the Vegetable Bowl.
The Vegetable Bowl ($11.80) is the ultimate bowl for vegetarians or people who just love vegetables. With all the vegetables that are included in the other sets and more, this bowl might not sound filling, but each piece of perfectly fried tempura was light and absolutely delicious when paired with the sauce.
For this, I chose to try the level two tentsuyu sauce, which was a good mix between spice and the original sweet flavour.
If you die-die must have everything in one bowl, go for the Mixed Bowl ($15.80). I highly recommend that you order this with the rice, because the sauce that’s drizzled over the tempura pieces will soak into the rice and give it a nice sweetness.
It’s been awhile since I’ve been so satisfied with tempura, and I’m certainly glad that Kogane Yama has ticked all the boxes for a good tendon bowl.
Expected damage: $13.80 per pax