Tendon Ginza Itsuki on Tanjong Pagar Road was the first Japanese tendon restaurant to open in Singapore two years ago. It successfully kicked off the tempura donburi trend here that got many people excited over rice bowls that were overfilling with tempura. And of course, it was just a matter of time before many other similar tendon restaurants also started popping up in town.
I remembered having eaten here once last year but I wasn’t too impressed with their soggy tempura. Didn’t think it was worth recommending even though everyone else around me was highly raving about this place because prices were cheap and portions were huge.
Ever since I had the tendon at Tempura Kohaku at Suntec City, my love for tempura was again reignited, lol. It is now my to-go place for tempura whenever the craving comes and it’s also one of the very few food places in Singapore which I’m willing to queue for.
J went to Tendon Ginza Itsuki for lunch some time back with his colleagues and he was telling me how good their tendon was (though the ‘Suntec one was still better’) and that the tempura were crispy and nice. That actually sparked off a thought in me – perhaps I should give Tendon Ginza Itsuki a second chance and revisit the place. And yes, I really did that.
Came down on a Saturday for lunch just before noon and the restaurant was packed so we had to queue outside which wasn’t too bad as we were second in line.
While queuing up, we just helped ourselves to the complimentary iced tea (from a dispenser) which was nice to have in this hot weather.
There were only 2 items on the menu – Special or Vegetable Tendon. I always like small, straightforward menus like this – so easy to place order, haha.
Waited for about half hour. And we finally managed to get seats by the counter where we could see the chefs in action.
By the way, if you’re planning to go on a hot date on the same day, please don’t come here for lunch unless you’re prepared to leave smelling like tempura. The oily, fried smell really sticks to your hair and clothes for the whole day.
Complimentary pickles are provided on every table so you can just help yourself.
The vegetables were crisp but were very bland. Lacking that acidic flavour. Didn’t work well as appetisers to whet your appetite. And weren’t great as palate cleansers too when we needed something in between bites of deep-fried stuffs to take away that greasy taste in the mouth.
At Tendon Ginza Itsuki, every order of tendon comes with steamed egg and miso soup. I liked how soft and wobbly the steamed egg was. It would just melt in the mouth and it was perfectly seasoned too. The miso soup was flavoursome and not overly salty.
This was the Special Tendon ($13.90). It came with 2 pieces of prawns, 2 pieces of chicken, 2 long beans, 1 baby corn, 1 piece of mushroom and 1 piece of sweet potato. Everything came doused with a sauce that was really weak in flavour. Seriously, besides making the whole dish moist, the sauce didn’t actually manage to enhance its flavour or anything. Even after adding tons of chilli powder, it still didn’t help much because the chilli powder wasn’t even fragrant.
The colour of the tempura coating was too light and was missing that lovely golden hue. What I was most disappointed with was that the tempura was still as soggy as before. However, it was worse this time round because the exterior was just soft and dough-like. It was as though the batter was over-mixed so the end result didn’t have that crispiness or airiness. This was extremely greasy and cloying. ?
The only saving grace was the egg that still had a runny yolk inside. What could go wrong with a nicely executed egg?
Tendon Kohaku @ Suntec City absolutely rules!
Comparing Tendon Ginza Itsuki with Tendon Kohaku, I think the latter fares way better in terms of food consistency, quality and taste. Even though Kohaku’s service standard has room for improvement, their tempura never disappoints because it’s always fresh-tasting, light and not heavy or cloying. Their tendon sauce is full of flavour, chilli powder is very aromatic and their rice is so fragrant and delicious.
Though Tendon Ginza Itsuki may charge cheaper for its tendon and its queue is also relatively shorter, I still can’t see the reason for coming back because nothing really stands out for me.
All prices stated are subject to 10% service charge and 7% GST. Do note this place only accepts cash payment.
5.30pm to 10.00pm
+65 6221 6678