To be honest, this was a spur-of-the-moment dining spot, largely because I had driven to school that day (if I’m not mistaken, it was the 22nd of August this year) and Boyfriend happened to read about this restaurant located not too far away from school in that week’s 8-DAYS magazine (you don’t really have to guess). So I whipped out my old-school street directory and we popped by this place after lessons.
Tenza Izakaya, according to the 8-DAYS review, received its first customer in June this year. Young as it may be, but the restaurant already boosted an experienced chef with 30 years of culinary work under his belt. And we were dying to get out hands on the restaurant’s signature grilled items, based on the stellar reviews given.
After raking through a really thick menu and placing our order, we were served with a complementary starter -sweet raw cabbage with a miso-based dip. Great start to a meal, and the cabbage doesn’t carry the bitter aftertaste of other varieties of cabbage.
The first pleasant surprise popped – one of the staff came over with an ENTIRE TRAY of exquisite sake cups and asked Boyfriend to pick one for hissake. I liked that. It’s like serving Paris Hilton alcohol in her favourite Martini glass.
Boyfriend’s always the one who picks the alcohol whenever we’re dining, so he was pretty thrilled with the wide selection of sake Tenzo Izakaya offered. So he ordered Takijiman Ginjyo (S$32.0), a 250ml sake recently brought in by the restaurant.
Don’t you just love them? The crushed ice in the funneled bottle kept the sweet sake cold right up to the last drop, so you can have chilled sakewithout needing to dilute it.
I love swordfish, or Mekajiki, to bits. And Boyfriend loves salmon. So the best way to gauge how probable we were of returning to the restaurant, it has got to be those. The salmon sashimi (S$12.8) and Mekajiki sashimi (S$15.0) were fresh and plump, and free of that fishy smell atypical of sashimi you get from normal sushi bars. I loved my Mekajiki so much, I found little use for the shoyu and wasabi that came with it. Plus they provided us with fresh hojiso, which we clapped between our palms to release the fragrance, before swipping the buds off the sprig and into our soy sauce. Lovely.
I don’t take meat, so I ordered Nasu (S$1.8) (eggplant), Shitake mushroom (S$1.8) and Pineapple (S$1.8). The grilled eggplant was a little dry, but the shitake and pineapple were well-done.
Boyfriend had Enoki wrapped in Bacon (S$2.4), Asparagus wrapped in Bacon (S$2.6) and Pork Belly with Garlic (S$2.4).
If you’re wondering why the photos became so hideous all of a sudden, it’s because we had sat at the alfresco area, and it had started to turn dark at about 6pm. I hate flash photography, so I stuck to whatever light the restaurant had.
Boyfriend’s Cha Soba (S$7.8). C’mon, the prices are pretty reasonable. And the Cha Soba was nicely done, springy and cold. The thing is, they hadn’t served the Soba over ice, and yet it remained cold.
I wonder how many people make sense out of eating tea with rice and plum. I do. My Ume Chazuke (S$6.0) was a steal, I swear! Can I have the recipe, please?
Of course, what better way to end the meal than a good ol’ scoop of ice cream. The homemade Goma Ice cream (S$4.8) tasted heavenly. It wasn’t smooth like those you get in a tub in the supermarket, mainly because it’s probably homemade and thus wasn’t as finely ground as those churned out from the factories. But who cares, as long as it’s food good enough to gain weight over?
It was a pity we couldn’t enjoy the ogle-worthy granite-top counter seats; the seats inside the air-conditioned part of the restaurant were all reserved for the day. My suggestion would be to call up the restaurant to make an enquiry if you’d like a counter seat, just to avoid disapppointment. The staff were polite and all-willing to recommend dishes. I just didn’t get why it took so long for them to generate my bill. But then, it’s just a small speck of dust in the picture. Will visit it again, should I itch for Mekajiki.
Price: $$$ - $$$$
Price: $$$ - $$$$
Blk 106, Clementi St. 12, #01-38D, (S)102106
Tel: +65 6773 0093