Some days, you just really want to treat yourself. I’ve found that one of the best ways to destress is over a really good meal, and there’s no better dining experience than an omakase.
Teppan Kappou Kenji is one of the newer additions to the treasure trove of Japanese restaurants along Tanjong Pagar Road. Boasting a tranquil 45-seater dining space, it serves up authentic premium Japanese fare.
Helmed by Chef Kenji Okumura, you can expect exquisite dishes including signature teppanyaki options, the usual sushi, sashimi, sukiyaki and hotpot choices as well. But the highlight has to be omakase, where the Kaiseki-trained chef serves up artistic creations made with fresh premium ingredients.
I preferred the counter seats, which gave me a good view of the chefs preparing my meal. The lively atmosphere reminded me somewhat of an izakaya, though you can opt for private dining rooms which seat up to 12 comfortably.
I was really lucky that I got to try the Dinner Omakase (S$150++), together with some items from the lunch menu.
— Omakase (Dinner) —
We started off the omakase with the Zensai (appetiser) course, Edamame Vichyssoise Topped With Sea Urchin, Crab & Water Shield.
Vichyssoise is a thick soup made of boiled and pureed leeks, onions and potatoes, though Chef Kenji also added in edamame here. Served cold, the dish is topped with bitter but refreshing water shield.
The highlight was the creamy uni (sea urchin) and sweet, juicy crabmeat — mixing these into the thick broth added briny notes to the appetiser.
The Sashimi dish came with five different types of fish: Fatty Tuna, Smoked Red Snapper, Smoked Spanish Mackerel, Seabass and Mackerel.
Of the five, my favourites had to be the Fatty Tuna and the Smoked Red Snapper.
The tuna was deliciously soft, with a good amount of fats. It wasn’t quite melt-in-mouth, but I liked that it still had some bite to it.
In contrast, the Smoked Red Snapper was fairly lean, with a slight char from the smoking and a lingering sweet and nutty flavour. A pity that there were only two pieces!
Moving on to another seafood dish, I had Winter Melon With Dried Sakura Shrimp. Simply presented, this dish featured dried sakura shrimp sprinkled over a slice of shark’s fin and set atop a piece of slow-cooked winter melon.
The mix of gelatinous, gooey, fibrous and crunchy textures made for an interesting dish, and I particularly enjoyed the umami flavour from the shrimp.
I was really impressed by the seasonal platter, also known as Hassun. This is a highlight of Kaiseki dining, where delicately-prepared small individual dishes are served on a platter.
There’s no particular order to enjoy the dishes in, so I just picked the most interesting one and worked from there.
The Homemade Sesame Tofu With Prawn surprised me with how sticky and thick the tofu texture was, almost like a thick pudding. Each mouthful was full of nutty, creamy flavour, and the fresh prawn added some sweetness too.
I particularly enjoyed the Young Bamboo Shoots With Unagi, both for the taste and presentation.
A large chunk of grilled eel was stuffed into segments of young bamboo shoots, drenched in sweet and savoury sauce. Each bite was filled with the tender and fibrous bamboo shoot, and soft and sweet eel.
Teppan Kappou Kenji served ayu (sweetfish) for the Yakimono (seasonal fish course). Sliced into half through the belly, the fish was grilled with shiso leaves and plum sauce.
The refreshing shiso leaf added hints of cinnamon and clove to the fish, lifting the subtly sweet ayu. Sweet and tart, the plum sauce also complemented the fish well.
The next dish was another tasty soup with egg strands, eggplant and yam chunks, burdock root slices and mackerel.
This was a really comforting broth with a mostly sweet flavour profile. The starchy chunks of yam and gooey eggplant went well with the fibrous and earthy burdock root. The soft and flaky mackerel added savoury notes too.
My absolute favourite dish from the omakase has to be this Beef Truffle Uni Rice. Cooked and served in a claypot, the rice was almost completely covered by slices of truffle and Wagyu beef. To make it even more decadent, chunks of uni dotted the dish that’s topped off with an onsen egg.
Break the egg and let the yolk ooze out, mixing it with the rice and other ingredients. The truffle slices added a heady earthy fragrance, with a nutty flavour. This went really well with the tender and juicy beef, which had a strong gamey and buttery taste that lingered on my palate.
We ended off the omakase at Teppan Kappou Kenji with refreshing and healthy assorted fresh fruits.
Each dish simply amazed me more and more; I can safely say that I would try all of the dishes again. There simply aren’t many flaws to be found in this omakase set.
— A La Carte Dishes —
If you’re here at Teppan Kappou Kenji for a quick lunch, you can choose from their a la carte menu instead.
The Healthy Salad With Japanese Dressing (S$15) is a great choice for those looking for refreshing light greens. Though refreshing, the Japanese yam chunks also added more bite to the dish while the natto (fermented beans) was surprisingly fragrant and nutty.
The highlight of the dish was the akamoto dressing, made from seaweed from the Mie prefecture. This gooey seaweed dressing has health benefits and is only available in limited quantities.
Presented beautifully, the Japanese Oysters From Mie Prefecture (S$22 for three pieces) were simple but mouth-watering. Creamy and briny oyster was hidden within a crispy crust, bursting with oceanic flavours as I bit into it.
Another must-try seafood dish is the Japanese Lobster from Mie Prefecture (S$35). After scooping out the lobster meat, the chef grills it and serves the meat on lime slices. It’s then topped with decadent creamy uni for even more oomph.
It’s one of those dishes where you have no choice but to put the whole thing into your mouth. Briny and creamy, the uni complemented the sweet lobster meat. I liked how the lobster meat had a slightly charred edge from grilling, adding more depth of flavour.
If you prefer heavier meat dishes, then the Stewed Wagyu Hamburg (S$15) is perfect for you. Served in a metal bowl atop a burner, this thick stew dish comes consists of tender assorted vegetables with light tempura batter and a juicy Hamburg steak.
The dish came with a tomato-based sauce that reminded me a bit of bolognese, which helped to prevent the dish from getting too jelak. Each savoury bite of the beef was full of umami flavour, and the vegetables added some crunch to the mouthful.
The Gyu Katsu (S$22) is one of Teppan Kappou Kenji’s popular a la carte Agemono dishes, and it’s not hard to see why.
Soft and tender beef slices were encased in a crust that’s crispy and savoury and served with a tangy sauce that kept me coming back for more. Seared to a lovely pink, the beef was mouth-wateringly good. Not quite melt-in-mouth either, but each piece had a good bite that helped to release more flavour with each chew.
The omakase dinner at Teppan Kappou Kenji is certainly excellently prepared, and each dish is exquisitely crafted. While a little pricey, it’s one of those places that I wouldn’t mind splurging on.
The friendly staff and lively atmosphere also put a smile on my face when I was there. So if you’re in the mood for an authentic Japanese meal, head down to Teppan Kappou Kenji on Tanjong Pagar Road!
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Expected Damage: S$150++ per pax (Omakase Dinner), S$25 – S$40 per pax (a la carte menu)
Price: $ $ $
Our Rating: 5 / 5
Teppan Kappou Kenji
99 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-01, Singapore 088520
Teppan Kappou Kenji
99 Tanjong Pagar Road, #01-01, Singapore 088520