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Tenjin: Affordable Japanese Donburi From Just S$12.80 In Orchard Rd

Last Updated: September 20, 2019

Written by Charmaine Chang

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Les amis‘, which means ‘friends’ in French, holds an impressive number of brands under its name. The Les Amis Group has been in Singapore for 25 years now, and they’re renowned for bringing excellent food to Singaporeans via their varied dining concepts, including fine dining.

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But have you heard of the group’s latest restaurant, Tenjin?

Tenjin is a casual Japanese restaurant that specialises in donburi bowls, a popular dish in Japan. It opened its doors to the public earlier July 2019, making this the 22nd brand under the Les Amis Group.

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Located on the third floor of Shaw Centre, this minimalistic restaurant is a comforting and cosy place to seek respite in.

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Every donburi bowl is assembled personally, which results in a longer waiting time. However, this dish is definitely worth the wait.

Not convinced? Let me break it down for you.

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I tried out all three of their specialities—Toku-Jo, Jo and Yasai.

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Let us start off with the modest of all, Yasai (S$12.80). Yasai stands for vegetables in Japanese, which is the essence of this dish. It serves you an assortment of vegetable tempura—from eggplants to thinly-sliced pumpkin, this is definitely a treat for vegetarians.

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My personal favourite ingredient on the Yasai bowl was the shiitake mushroom. Usually a meatier vegetable, I enjoyed how the tempura batter was light and crispy. This bowl was definitely a promising start.

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Moving on, there is Jo (S$14.80), the special donburi bowl. Similar to the Yasai bowl, the Jo bowl has an additional egg and prawns. These ingredients give the whole dish a much deeper flavour profile due to the addition of the two proteins.

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Now, the egg is really unique. It is a soft-boiled egg cooked to perfection, before being battered in tempura and deep-fried. This has to be one of the hardest culinary skills to master, I presume.

Definitely a masterpiece!

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Shrimps are also added to the Jo bowl. Shrimp tempura is the most common form of tempura that we see in either Japanese restaurants or donburi shops. Fresh and juicy, these shrimps were cooked exquisitely. The tempura batter was not too thick and hence the sweetness of the shrimps still shone.

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Last but not least, there is Toku-Jo (S$22.80), which is the premium donburi bowl that serves a variety of luxurious ingredients. Ranging from anago to crab legs, this is a must-have if you are craving for seafood.

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Anago is Japanese for saltwater eels. You may find its cousin, unagi, much more familiar. Unagi is a freshwater eel, which is more renowned for fattiness. Anago, on the other hand, has a much softer texture and naturally sweet. The chefs made the decision to use anago as it pairs well with the tempura batter as compared to unagi, which is often grilled.

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Another premium ingredient introduced in the Toku-Jo bowl is crab legs. This is definitely a high-quality ingredient, and it is rare to see this in a donburi bowl. More often than not, crab legs are considered a luxury. The meat was succulent and had a hint of sweetness, which definitely balanced well with the tare sauce.

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What about tempura-battered fish? I highly recommend this. Usually smelt or kisu, this fish tempura is seasoned well with absolutely no bones, and that is always a bonus. Fun fact: kisu is the Japanese cousin of smelt.

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Every donburi bowl is served with miso soup and kyabetsu (cabbage) salad.

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Now, every salad has a dressing, and my personal favourite is sesame dressing. We often see this in many Japanese restaurants when they serve up a salad. Tenjin makes their own sesame dressing. The sesame flavour was potent enough to permeate throughout the entire salad.

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You can also get additional sides like Truffle Chawanmushi (S$3.80). At first glance, I was already impressed with the generous portion of truffle. You are definitely getting plenty of truffle from this dish, considering the dish’s affordability.

The aroma of truffle lingered long after the first bite.

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I would also like to give a special shoutout to the most important ingredient of a donburi bowl—the rice. The chefs use a very particular type of rice from Japan; Hoshi-Jirushi rice from the Ibakari prefecture. This particular rice paired excellently with the tempura, and was able to absorb the tare sauce well.

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Tare is a term often used in Japanese cuisine for dipping sauces. In this case, the tare sauce adds complexity to the entire donburi bowl. Served either with original or spicy tare sauce, you should never skimp on this dip.

This tare sauce resembled the thick soy sauce that you drizzle on your soft boiled eggs, with a good balance of sweet and salty. Just like the sesame dressing, their sauces are made in-house as well.

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This was more than just a satisfactory meal. As a matter of fact, I was salivating while writing this. I hope you are too after reading this!


Tenjin offers you both quality and quantity at a reasonable price. Does it get any better than this? I highly doubt it does. Do you agree with me? What is your favourite donburi bowl?

Expected Damage: S$15 – S$25 per pax

Price: $

Our Rating: 4 / 5

Tenjin

1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #03-08, Singapore 228208

Price
Our Rating 4/5

Tenjin

1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre, #03-08, Singapore 228208

Telephone: +65 6235 3312
Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Daily)
Telephone: +65 6235 3312

Operating Hours: 11.30am - 3pm & 6pm - 10pm (Daily)
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