Tamashii Robataya | A Unique Robatayaki Experience

While specialist Japanese dining concepts such as Teppanyaki, Yakiniku, Izakayas and Shabu-shabu are all relatively familiar to us, Robatayaki (shortened to Robata) is one that is still fairly fresh and novel in our local dining scene. But fear not of the unknown because Tamashii Robataya is a great place to initiate your inception to an authentic and unforgettable Robata experience.

Located at level 2 of The Offshore building along North Canal Road, the restaurant may only be 2 months old, but the chef and owner of this dining establishment is no lightweight. With 14 years of culinary experience in Japanese cuisine under his belt, working previously at Tatsuya and M Hotel, Chef Patrick Tan is sincere and passionate about his craft, desiring nothing more than to share his love for food by serving every individual customer with soul.

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And while the Robata concept finds century-old roots in a fisherman’s town in Hokkaido and is hugely popular back home in Japan, many of us here in Singapore who enjoy Japanese cuisine probably may not have heard of it before…

For the uninitiated, the Robata style of dining sees diners seated around a U-shaped counter that partitions off the working space of the chefs by a mere foot long distance of counter space. This space is used to display a selection of gourmet vegetables, seafood and meats or more accurately put, the season’s finest produce shipped in that day.

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Somewhat like an upscale seafood village/market place, customers need simply pick out the food they want and Patrick with his team of chefs will work their magic on the grill.

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Alternatively, leave your meal in the hands of the chef with the Omakase option and you will not be disappointed. Tamashii Robataya offers $88, $128 and $168 dinner courses for those willing to splurge a little and very affordable set lunches with a price range of $16.80 – $25.80. All set lunches come complete with salmon sashimi, salad, rice and miso soup.

Love that vivid purple of the Ko Nasu (baby eggplants) on display…

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Our Omakase set dinner began with a light palate-cleansing Fruits Tomato which was sprinkled with a dash of Sea Salt. A vibrant cherry red with a powerful burst of summer, this appetizer was a refreshing start to the splendid evening to come.

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The Shiromi Truffle soon followed with its exquisite plating of thinly sliced Amber Jack Mackerel, topped with black truffle shavings and garnished so prettily with purple edible flowers. Yes you heard me right, flowers.

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Many who know me will remember that I do not eat sashimi. No matter how expensive, no matter how fresh it claims to be and even when everyone around the table is fawning over the sweetness of fish. I do not touch it. Yes I have tried it before but somehow the taste did not appeal to me at all.

Strangely however, I could not resist picking up a piece of Amber Jack Mackerel and putting it into my mouth. Lightly dressed with soy sauce, the saltiness embraced the natural sweetness of the raw fish while the characteristic smell of truffle pulled all the flavors together so effortlessly. Every piece of Mackerel was remarkably sublime.

Even I surprised myself by finishing this plate…

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Another point worth highlighting about the Robata dining experience, is the almost boisterous and oh so lively atmosphere that mimics that of a raucous marketplace. Nothing fine-dining, nothing serious, the mood is actually a little fun as you watch the chefs engage in rowdy banter, which is usually a slew of Japanese words, once you make your order.

Chef Patrick says that he makes it a point that his chefs learn the Japanese names of the ingredients used in the dishes as their mode of communication, making the experience distinctly Japanese for the diners.

When the food is ready, it is delivered via the Samoji to your seat, a tributary gesture to the fishermen from North-Eastern Japan who used to serve their catch-of-the-day with wooden oars centuries ago.

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Next up was a rustic-looking Sazae Tsuboyaki. The flesh of the Horned Turban Clam was first hoiked out of its shell together with the guts, before being chopped up and tucked back into the now clean-ed shell with fishcake and mushrooms. All the ingredients are then cooked in a concoction of Dashi, Mirin and Sake, forming a little clear broth brewing in the Clam Shell.

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The final result is then set ablaze like a flambé dish on a salt cake for a complete theatrical experience.

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Watching one of the chefs in action!

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I took to the Kiku Tatami almost immediately because of its elegant presentation. These yellow ‘mat’ pieces are actually flattened Chrysanthemum flowers toasted prior to serving. Crunchy and a little bitter, the distinct Chrysanthemum taste was unmistakable. My advice would be to dip the pieces into the Mayo dressing and flying fish roe for added satisfaction and enjoy the exciting feeling of the fish roe ‘pop’ in your mouth against the dehydrated flowers.

Because I am that easily amused…

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Possibly mistaken as a dessert or ice-cream, this brightly-colored Yaki Tomorokoshi was an exuberant picture of summer with its sunny yellow kernels and random alternating white colored ones. These are actually uber-sweet grilled Hokkaido bi-colored corn brushed simply with butter to bring out the good old-fashioned corn flavor with a tinge of creaminess. Finger-lickin good!

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Fish lovers will get excited by this grilled whole Chikodai Shioyaki. This young sea bream was one of three types of fishes on display at the counter simply because these fishes are in season at the moment. But I am not complaining because my salted sea bream was so beautifully grilled and fleshy. Plenty for two to share though I would have happily finished one to myself. Just look out for those tiny bones that may slip by you if you are not careful!

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If you feel that your meal is incomplete without meat, then embrace this Hitsuji Niku, a grilled rack lamb dressed in salt, pepper and homemade apple sauce. Chef Patrick explains that a young lamb is used so that the gamey odor and flavor is toned down. I had to agree after taking a bite as I am usually quite sensitive to the smell. The meat too was tender and this rack was cleaned to its bone in no time.

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Rich, sweet, briny and soft, the meat of this Yaki Taraba Gani was purely luxurious. Coupled with the pleasure of extracting the thick chunky flesh from the grilled King Hokkaido Crab leg, this was truly a prized delicacy.

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We also tried two rice bowls that evening.

The first was the Saga Gyu Donburi, a Tamashii Robataya signature. Not hard to see why when this bowl reaches you though. Grilled Japanese Saga Beef with black summer truffle shavings and onsen egg atop fluffy Japanese rice, this was pure comfort food. Three gorgeous ingredients in a single bowl with a runny yolk to boot, it is one yummy bowl of goodness you do not want to miss.

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The Kashira Donburi was unfortunately overshadowed by the Saga Gyu Donburi. Quite understandably so, as the latter was undeniably good. Nonetheless, these grilled black pork cheeks were delightfully chewy, lean and moist.

I still find the thought of eating the cheeks of a pig quite unfathomable but I do it anyway…

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Putting an end to all the courses was a bowl of Negi Ma Jiru– clear broth with steamed Tuna belly. Simple, nourishing and ‘cooling’, it was just what we needed after such a sumptuous meal!

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But of course no meal is ever complete without dessert.

Even when your tummy is almost bursting!!

We had a dessert platter of Warabi Mochi, Plum Wine Jelly and Matcha Cheesecake, all homemade! Not cloyingly sweet and not too heavy (yes, cheesecake included), this was almost too easy to finish and undoubtedly enjoyable. My plate was spotless once I was done with it.

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And for the complete ultimate Robata experience, one cannot leave without some alcohol in their system. Tamashii offers an extensive list of alcoholic beverages which includes Beers, Shochu, Whiskey and more than 10 different types of Sakae. So gather your friends down for one-of-a-kind experience here at Tamashii Robataya. It is one that you will be talking about for weeks to come.

This writer enjoyed her first Robata experience so much that she has already made a reservation to return for lunch next week…

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For more on Chef Patrick  and his philosophy of food, check out our feature on him HERE!

Here’s presenting Chef Patrick Tan and his business partner Chef Max See…

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12 North Canal Road #02-01
Singapore 048825

Opening hrs:
Mon – Sat: 12:00 – 14:00
Mon – Sat: 18:30 – 22:30
Closed on Sundays

Singapore

6 Responses to Tamashii Robataya | A Unique Robatayaki Experience

  1. How much is it? it looks very good, I want to check out the place too.

  2. Anne says:

    This looks AMAZING!!!! I am most definitely going to try this place out soon :)

  3. […] Read more about our Robatayaki experience HERE […]

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