Behind The Apron: Patrick Tan (Tamashii Robataya)

Starting out at the age of 17, Chef Patrick Tan of Tamashii Robataya picked up his culinary skills by working at popular Japanese restaurants such as Tatsuya and M Hotel. Together with a partner back in 2006, Chef Patrick opened what was believed to be Singapore’s first ever Robatayaki restaurant- Robataya Yoyogi. The partnership however dissolved recently and Chef Patrick has since refocused his efforts on his current restaurant- Tamashii Robataya, a collaboration between him, his wife (Nicole) and Chef Max See. The restaurant presently has four chefs (including Chef Patrick) behind the counter and two in the kitchen.

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How would you describe your philosophy towards food?

I try to ensure that every customer who comes in, does not have the same food as they did during their previous visit. Extra effort is made to remember their likes and dislikes. This personal touch keeps the customers happy and they come back, again and again. It is all about putting my soul into the restaurant. ‘Tamashii’ means soul in English and that is my mantra for the restaurant- serving each individual with my soul. Tonight, our restaurant is about three quarters full and most of them are regulars who have been with me for the past eight years, having followed me from my previous restaurant.

Can you tell us about the produce that you use for your restaurant?

We import our produce four times a week – every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Customers can select their food from the counter, we grill it and serve it to them straightaway. There is no additional marinating, just salt and pepper because we believe in allowing the freshness of our ingredients to take centre stage. As our shipment arrives quite often during the week, we do not order a lot, putting emphasis on quality and variety, instead of quantity. For example, we have Sea Bream today but there will be a different type of fish on another day during the same week. This keeps the menu fresh and exciting.

What is your motivation behind each dish?

My happiness comes from seeing each customer walk out of this restaurant happy with my service and food. This motivates me to work even harder to create more dishes as well.

How often do you create new dishes?

We go by seasonal items from Japan which changes every three months. So new dishes are created every three months, based on our imports from Japan. I also make it a point to fly to Japan once a year to visit their Robatayaki restaurants for inspiration and to find out the new trends in this (Robatayaki) dining concept so that I can bring back what I have learnt, and share it with my customers.

How do you feel about the open concept of your restaurant?

Most of my customers sitting around the counter know each other through their frequent encounters at my restaurant. And even if they dont, they will by the end of the night. The concept here is like a Izakaya (a type of Japanese drinking establishment) where the regulars get to know each other over drinks and good food. Most of them are businessmen and traders who need to network for work so my restaurant gives them the opportunity to do so.

Read more about our Robatayaki experience HERE


2 Responses to Behind The Apron: Patrick Tan (Tamashii Robataya)

  1. […] For more on Chef Patrick  and his philosophy of food, check out our feature on him HERE! […]

  2. […] Patrick Tan has chalked up over a decade of experience at places like Tatsuya and M Hotel. Click HERE to read more about the origin and […]

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