Omakase at Teppei Japanese Restaurant

Teppei Japanese Restaurant at Orchid Hotel, Tras Link is one of the places in Singapore which serves omakase. There are 4 dining sessions every day, 2 for lunch and 2 for dinner and each session can accomodate about 16 diners.

The restaurant is a small room divided by a long counter that snakes all the way into the next room. High stools placed close to each other are where the diners sit and the other side of the counter is where the chef and his assistants work. Around us were shelves loaded with sauce bottles, plastic bowls and other kitchen utensils. If it's ambiance you're looking for, you're at the wrong place. In fact, it looks like a storage room from the outside and not much different inside. However, every stool was occupied, justifying the need to book your seats well in advance.

Rice tea 

Omakase roughly translates to "up to the chef", therefore, there is no menu and the chef decides what he is going to serve the diners. There's plenty of raw and minimally cooked seafood and you can rest assured that it is all very fresh. Most of the meal is made on the spot and served in courses; the preparation of each course is so well orchestrated that each completed dish is placed in front of each diner at almost the same time. Wasting food is not acceptable.

Cold starter box

The only thing I recognised from our appetiser tray was the halved prawn. There was a little square that tasted of tofu and a green square that we later learnt was made of edamame. There was also squid, spinach and radish. Portions were bite-sized and textures were interesting.

All the food is prepped in front of the diner

Not having a menu meant we had no idea what what kind of fish we were being served. All the prep work was done in front of us, from skinning the fish to filleting to pin-boning to portioning. Even the bivalves were opened just before being cleaned and sliced. If you want to see the knife skills of a Japanese chef, you'll get to see it from your front row seat!
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Super smooth and light chawanmunshi

Ingredients for tuna roll

Making tuna roll

How many courses were there? I really have no idea because I stopped counting after the 6th.

The minced tuna roll is delicious. Nori sheets are softened over an open flame and stuffed with tuna and other ingredients. There was crunch from panko crumbs and fish roe to top it all. They first served the ladies with half a roll each, all the men were served  a full roll. You can ask for more but there's plenty more coming so hold on to those appetites!

Goose barnacles

They told me these were turtle toes. Really? I heard them chuckling and realised they were pulling my leg. They are barnacles and they showed me how to pull off the brownish sheath; the tiny bit of meat it had encased was sweet and tender.

Steamed fish

Fried yam ball 

Between courses, they gave us palate cleansers that ranged from yam balls to tomato wedges to marinated grapes to juicy peaches.

Sliced bivalves

Spoon-feeding time

By now, there was plenty of bonhomie on both sides of the counter. Teppei Yamashita's men are very entertaining so don't be surprised when they decide to feed you. While most of the food is plated, some of it is arranged on spoons and the chefs go to each diner to pop it into their mouths. And for diners who are not within the reach of the chefs, they have a contraption where the spoon is fixed onto a long handle. By hook or by crook they will feed you amidst laughter from those watching!

Wagyu beef art!

Wagyu beef with garlic chips


Fried rice with wagyu beef 

Yuzu ice cream

The main course is fried rice and you have a choice of meat or seafood to top it with. I chose wagyu beef and the combination was spectacular. For dessert, I opted for a light and zesty yuzu ice cream.

It took us about about two and a half hours to go through the whole meal. What a meal! 


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