Tamashii Robatayaki (Singapore)


Setting

The robatayaki counter at Tamashii Robatayaki

A testament to North Canal Road’s draw as an up-and-coming dining destination, new kid-on-the-block, Tamashii Robatayaki (“Tamashii”), joined SUR and Communal since April 2013, adding much foodie excitement to an area once considered torpid. Unlike the latter two, which boast ground level frontage, Tamashii is sequestered away on the second floor of the building – atop Communal –and accessed via a blink-and-you-will-miss-it automatic glass sliding door.

Chef-patron, Patrick Tan

Yes, it’s a bit of a workout scaling the flight of stairs but chef-patron, Patrick Tan, former co-founder of Yoyogi and alum of Shiro and Tatsuya, makes it worth your while for what greets you upon arrival are the bountiful harvests of Japan. 
The bountiful harvests of Japan on display at the robatayaki counter
Fan clams, baby sea bream, a plethora of mushrooms, corn, baby yam, figs, lily bulbs and Hokkaido King crabs, amongst others, are delivered fresh to the eatery four times a week and these are neatly displayed on wicker baskets around an elevated robatayaki grill kitchen that serves a 20-seat marble topped counter.

  

Diners who are unable to secure the coveted seats at the robatayaki counter are ushered to a roomy 12-seat main dining room with paper hanging lanterns. If you insist on a spot at the counter, order a drink at the lounge and wait patiently.

What to expect

The hallmark of Tamashii is skewered charcoal-grilled Japanese produce and you can have them a la carte (which can be intimidating for first timers given the sheer variety of glistening-fresh seafood and vegetables) or via one of 3 dinner course menus priced from S$88 to S$168.

Tan, who presides over the grill with his shamoji (long wooden paddle), suggests the 8-course dinner (S$168) for an induction into his colourful world of robatayaki.

Fig salad in goma dressing
Amberjack sashimi slices with shiso flowers, truffle slices and a drizzle of truffle oil
 

First up, a salad of Japanese figs doused in a nutty-creamy goma dressing to tease your palate, followed by a plate of thinly sliced white fish – an amberjack sashimi during our visit – artfully arranged on a plate with shiso flowers and summer truffle shavings, finished with a drizzle of truffle oil.

Prized grilled sea snail served in its own shell with fish cake and mushrooms in dashi broth
 

Then Tan fires up his grill and sends out an immaculate delicacy of horned turban (or sazae in Japanese). The prized sea snail is first grilled then chopped and tossed with Japanese fish cake and mushrooms in dashi broth. Served in its own shell on a cake of salt with a flickering flame on the side, it wins plaudits as much for showmanship as for its delicate taste balanced against a tinge of chewiness from the cut-up treasures.

Baby seabream grilled simply with nothing more than sea salt
 

Grilled Hokkaido King crab

A baby seabream follows. Grilled simply with nothing more then sea salt and served unadorned save for a mound of grated daikon and a wedge of lemon, its freshness shines through effortlessly. As does the gargantuan grilled leg of Hokkaido King crab (S$45 each), a highlight from the a la carte menu (not served as part of the set dinner), served ready-to-eat with a crab-spoon for you to lift up its thick and luscious flesh.

Saga wagyu donburi perfumed with truffle oil

The arrival of a heavenly bowl of Saga wagyu donburi perfumed with truffle oil signals the near-conclusion of dinner. A dinner that you hope would linger.

Bathe in the glory of Japanese harvests before you go: Japanese melon and peaches

Then a clear dashi-scented broth arrives to arouse your palate. And, you bathe in the glory of Japanese harvests again, an ultra sweet Japanese melon and succulent peaches to wit.

For all the splendor of the robatayaki dining, this is not sophisticated Japanese high-cuisine like the ritualistic kaiseki that’s all the rage in Singapore. But with such convivial vibes and affordable price points, it’s an accessible option when the craving for in-season Japanese produce hits. 

To partake in the joie de vivre of dining at the counter, reservations are highly recommended.
  

Tamashii Robatayaki | 12 North Canal Road #02-01 | Tel: 65-6222 0316 | www.tamashii.com.sg

For picture story, visit www.facebook.com/bibikgourmand



© Evelyn Chen 2013

Please note that the reviews published in this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.

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