Tendon Ginza Itsuki Review

One of my fondest memories I have from my many trips to Japan, was just walking into a little ‘Hole-in-the-wall’ restaurant, completely discreet from the outside, maybe even a little queue of locals. But upon entering, you would realise that it is an absolute gem of a restaurant, serving delicious food… Sushi, Tendon, Tonkatsu… at (usually) affordable prices! Never thought a restaurant like that could exist in Singapore, but I stumbled across one while wandering around Tanjong Pagar…


The Tendon Ginza Itsuki Restaurant is part of the Keisuke group of Japan restaurants, many of them in the vicinity of each other at Tanjong Pagar… A very interesting little Japanese Restaurant, where you have to order from 2 Tendon (Tempura) sets ONLY before you can enter and sit down. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any queue outside the restaurant, but it was packed and we did have to wait for a while (heard from my mother, who works in the vicinity… that there is always at long queue of Office Workers at Lunchtime on weekdays).


Like I said, you can choose from two Tendon Sets only. The Vegetable one, which is $12.90, and the Special Prawn one at $13.90. Rather reasonable in my mind, especially since it comes with Miso Soup, Pickled Cabbage and Chawanmushi… Sittings are quite limited, with a counter sitting and a few small tables…


All the cooking happens behind this counter, where the chefs fry the ingredients in front of you… So if you sit at the counter, you might end up smelling of oil when you leave…



What really impressed me was that, these 3 to 4 chefs who cook behind the counter, manages to do everything, fry, control the oil temperature, plate, organise, scoop the rice, everything! And yet, I didn’t witness any mess-ups, NOTHING… and I mean NOTHING, got burned in the oil, the oil looked so clear, and even the excess crumbs they were sifting out, were golden-brown… Very impressive in my mind, and in case you are wondering, only 1 or 2 chefs were Japanese, the others were chinese…


Ice Green Tea, Ayataka ($3.80) was served upon request… Service here was rather good, especially since if you sit at the counter, the chefs personally hand you your food.


In that little bowl was the Pickled Cabbage, and next to it, were some condiments and wooden spoons for your Tendon Bowl.



The Pickled Cabbage and Miso Soup were ok, but I would have preferred the cabbage to be crunchier… The miso spup was slightly too salty…


The Chawanmushi wasn’t too bad, but it did come lukewarm… Sweet and smooth, and there was a fishcake and mushroom inside, typical of any Chawanmushi…



Now… The star of the show, the Special Tendon Bowl! Definitely a full bowl here, with Prawn, Chicken, Mushroom, Pumpkin and Long Beans. Also, there was an fried Egg under the Tempura! On overall, it was rather good, with most of the ingredients properly fried and fresh. The chicken, however was a bit dry, but the Prawn was rather good!

Except, I have one bit of criticism, the batter was slightly soggy, no surprises, as it was left standing about 5 minutes after it was fried, and the batter was rather thick as well…

The Vegetable Bowl, which I saw, pretty much had all the ingredients of the Special one, apart from the Prawn and Chicken… It also included other vegetables which I couldn’t identify, didn’t try everything on that bowl, but heard of my father that it was good.

Also, the tendon sauce that they pour over the bowl was slightly on the sweet side, but the rice was slightly mushy…


One more thing I would like to point out, is the special ceramic bowl for the Tendon, heard it is imported directly from Japan, and costs $100 a bowl! Beautiful and expensive… Would like to have one like that at home…

In conclusion, Tendon Ginza Itsuki has definitely brought back a lot of that nostalgia I had while back in Japan… Granted the food was good, but wasn’t fantastic, a few rough edges here and there… But, at those prices… I can’t really grumble and complain, especially since there were plenty of ingredients in that bowl!

Overall Rating:8/10

Restaurant Info:
Tendon Ginza Itsuki
101 Tanjong Pagar Road


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