Tatsu - Teppanyaki and Sushi Heaven
When CHIJMES opened its doors to the public in 1996, it slowly acquired its status as a popular hub of entertainment, food and lifestyle activities over the years, with its beautiful architecture, central location and huge variety of dining establishments. While there are countless restaurants you can visit in CHIJMES, not many can say that they've been there from the very start but Tatsu is different. Yes, that's right! They set up shop at CHIJMES in 1996 and they've been here ever since, serving up delicious teppanyaki and sushi. I'm sure we're all familiar with teppanyaki and sushi both but it's really rare to find an establishment that offers us the best of both worlds in one location. It's like teppanyaki and sushi heaven! With the vision of bringing authentic Japanese dining to the city, Tatsu has remained a favourite amongst their loyal customers who are lucky enough to have discovered Tatsu. Since the dining establishments at CHIJMES are aplenty, Tatsu, to me, still retained its status as a hidden gem, which is funny to me because their reservation list is always full! I was excited to delve into the world of Tatsu to try their menu.
Tatsu is a beautiful Japanese restaurant that was halved into two - one side for sushi diners and the other for teppanyaki diners. I was told that things were done this way because diners go through different dining experiences based on what they were here for, be it sushi or teppanyaki. Sushi diners would enjoy a relaxing and enjoyable experience while teppanyaki diners would have a fun and exciting time. I was feeling adventurous so I decided to go for some teppanyaki. Led deeper into the restaurant, there was a square-ish counter surrounding grills, which is very typical of teppanyaki restaurants. The ambience was relaxing and the staff were all extremely friendly. So far, I was satisfied but my stomach wasn't, so I went on to order some food.
I ordered the Wagyu and Lobster set. The set was inclusive of lobster, wagyu beef, seafood fried rice, sautéed mushrooms and a crab miso soup. Soon, a chef came up to the grill and greeted us. He made us feel at ease and he was really friendly. He cooked our wagyu first. The chef told us that they use A4 Wagyu grade beef and this was decided after loads of experimentation. Apparently, A4 Grade Wagyu had just the right amount of fat and oil for teppanyaki cooking, hence, they didn't need to use additional oil. The sight of the wagyu sizzling on the grill was a sight to behold and it smelled amazing too. The chef asked us how we wanted our wagyu to be done and of course we went for medium.
Soon, he started playing with the tools that he was cooking with. It was incredible! He threw his tools up and caught them with ease, incorporating each movement into the cooking process as he seasoned the meat. All too soon, he was done and he laid the wagyu beef beautifully in front of us. He placed a dollop of wasabi and some garlic chips. He had us try the beef by itself, then recommended us to try it with some wasabi and garlic chips. When we went for our first mouthful, we knew immediately that we would be coming back and that he was right about the whole grade A4 Wagyu beef oil and fat thing. It melted in our mouths! It literally disintegrated and I loved it. Trying his suggestion, we were all taken aback because this seemed like an entirely different flavour profile. It was amazing what garlic chips and wasabi could do. I personally really loved the garlic chips and couldn't stop snacking on it as the chef went on to prepare our lobster.
As he was cooking our lobster, he laid out a creamy yellow sauce and served it to us with the lobster. This was my favourite of the entire meal. The sauce was savoury and the umami flavour was insane. Paired with the natural sweetness and QQ texture of the lobster, the sauce only served to elevate the taste. We all looked at each other in surprise as we tasted the lobster. It was that good. I'm going to make a bold statement and say that I liked it better than the wagyu! The chef told us that the sauce was a special sauce that they made in-house and just like that, he crushed my dreams of finding it in the supermarket and drizzling the sauce over anything I ate in the future.
The meat and seafood were good but at this point, I was craving for some rice to pair them with and it's like the chef read my mind because he immediately went on to prepare the seafood fried rice. His technique was crazy! He balanced an egg on his tool and started throwing it up, catching it as it fell. We were on the edge of our seats, afraid that he would drop the egg and shatter it. Then, amazingly, he turned his tool and the egg cracked on it. As he balanced it on his tool, the egg slowly slid out onto the grill. It was definitely entertaining. The chef then asked us if he could serve us the egg and we agreed, thinking nothing of it. It was then that he told us he wanted to throw the egg into our mouths. He assured us it wouldn't scald our tongue and that his aiming was immaculate. My friends egged me on to be first and of course, I was the guinea pig. It was so funny because he really threw it in on the first try! We all had a laugh and cheered each other on when we caught it. Not to mention, the egg was yummy too!
He threw some white rice on the grill and at this moment, he told us to brace ourselves and take out our phones to record the moment if we wanted to. He lit up an oil trail and it erupted into flames over the rice. It was truly a thrilling sight that had us screaming in excitement and delight. When the fire died down, the rice was nicely cooked and had that "wok hei" aroma that we know and love. He prepared some sautéed mushrooms and served us, asking us to enjoy our meal. The soup came last and it was nice and hot. We dug into our meal. Everything was in perfect harmony and had its place on the table. The wagyu was aromatic, juicy and savoury, while the lobster was sweet and savoury with a slight twang. The seafood fried rice was a nice base to pair them with and the sautéed mushrooms gave us a break from the savoury notes, with the slight bitterness and aroma of mushrooms that we're all familiar with. The soup was soothing and helped us wash it all down. We were all surprised to find a whole crab shell in the soup. No wonder it tasted so rich!
We ordered some sushi to go along with our teppanyaki too. We didn't think too much of the sushi, thinking that nothing could beat the teppanyaki we just had but honestly, the sushi was on par. The salmon was fresh and the rice was perfectly seasoned. You could tell that both the sushi and teppanyaki chefs put a lot of pride in their craft and this resulted in the delicious meal we just had. Tatsu truly was a teppanyaki and sushi heaven and we left the restaurant as converts. It hurts writing this article because I'm torn between keeping Tatsu my little secret and sharing the joy with the public. All I know is, I will definitely be calling to book myself a slot in advance with my family and even my friends, and so should you!
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30 Victoria Street #01-08 Singapore 187996 (Nearest MRT City Hall)
Mon - Sun: 12:00PM - 2:30PM, 6:00PM - 10:30PM