Mon - Sat: 18:00 - 23:30
Sun & PH: 16:00 - 22:30
Tamaya Dining offers both classic and contemporary Japanese cuisines, as well as charcoal grilled dishes and western fare. There is also a wide selection of drinks from beer and wine, to shochu and sake.
Reservation was made for 2 people on a weekday evening. And over the phone, the lady asked if we wanted the alfresco seat, dining table (at level 2) or counter seats. Needless to say, I went with counter seats. Ha.
Upon arrival, the staff checked our reservation before leading us to the sushi counter. Clever usage of wooden poles shed us from what happened outside. And the menu for counter seat is only omakase. For kitchen dishes, one would need to request for the menu that’s for diners sitting at alfresco area.
And from the menu (pages 1, 2), I decided to go for the $200 omakase course while my friend went for the $170′s. And while having our order taken, we highlighted to executive chef Koike Koji that I take no beef and oyster, but love my sea urchin. My friend also mentioned he take no beef. And with that, we started our dinner with:-
1) Omakase course, $200 comprising of:-
(A) Appetizer – We were served wild vegetables, smoked duck and (thick) burdock soup. Chef Koji overheard our conversation (where we were trying to figure out what we were drinking) and tried to tell us “burdock”. I caught it, but not my friend. To which chef Koji went into his kitchen and took out a burdock for us to see. Nice.
(B) Sashimi – And I was given an assortment of hairy crab, spanish mackerel where I could dip 1 slice in soya sauce and 1 slice with sea salt, and fatty tuna (otoro) (raw and seared).
(C) Grilled dish – Black throat sea perch. We were told the salt at the side was for the broad bean.
Due to the (silly) 3000 characters limit, continue to read my review on other dishes here: PART2
(G) Soup – Clam soup. We were also given pepper and chilli powder where we could add into our soup if we wanted to. I didn’t. And it was a nice surprise to find fish maw at the bottom of the bowl too. Yum!
(H) Dessert – Melon, strawberry and apple.
So although Tamaya Dining has been around for a long while now, we learnt from the staff that the sushi counter was only created 4 years ago when executive chef Koike Koji came on board. And although there were 3 chef (2 being sous chef) with 2 different groups of customer at the sushi counter, it was nice that chef Koji would personally prepare the sushi for (all of) us. I always preferred this kind of personal touch.
And if one doesn’t wish to splurge on an omakase dinner, one could opt for a very dinner by sitting at the (dimly lit) alfresco area or at level 2 for a quiet dinner.
Would I recommend Tamaya Dining? Well… In terms of value for money, it was pretty okie. But they are definitely one of the very few Japanese restaurants which has the sushi counter opened till really late. Like till 1am! Wow.
PS : I am a blogger too! Lifestyle blog, Food Blog
One of the biggest motivating factor to visit Tamaya is the authentic Japanese dining experience where the patrons get to dine at the low tables in traditional Japanese horigotatsu style with screens between each table for some privacy. Sitting seiza style is not required since there is a sink-in area underneath the table for some leg space. Getting the attention of the attentive service staff is surprisingly easy, in spite of being on the more secluded second floor.
As for the food, the variety is pretty impressive, ranging from the staples of sashimi and sushi to those items not regularly found in other Japanese restaurants. One of my favourites is the Otsumami Chashu, roast pork that is like no others. Served cold, this roast pork, made up of swirls of fat and meat, is soft to the bite and is packed with the sweet flavour of slightly charred meat. I am very impressed with how the fat, which is creamy instead of gelatinous, renders the overall texture of the meat to be smooth. I will usually pick off the fat from my dishes, but I gladly make an exception for this dish.
Another one that is good is the Iron pot Rice with Chicken and Burdock Root. The presentation of the rice topped with meat and vegetable served in a dainty iron pot encased in wooden box had already made me excited about getting a bite of it. I was not disappointed. The fragrance of the quality rice, imbued with the aroma of fresh chicken and burdock root, is concentrated into that little pot to yield incredibly flavourful rice.
The Yasai Itame, stir-fried vegetables, is good as it retains a bit of the crunch of fresh vegetables and is not too salty. Though it is not really outstanding in any particular aspect. Another pretty good dish is Tonpei Yaki, egg omelette with pork and shredded cabbage. The fresh ingredients and the combination of runny egg mixture drizzled over cabbage and pork result in a wholesome and healthy appetizer. I suggest to add some soya sauce to this because the unseasoned raw cabbage may taste to be a tab plain.
The lowlight of the repertoire of dishes ordered is the yakitori moriawase. The sticks of grilled food are dry and tasteless. To make things worse, most of the items included in the moriawase are not the specialities of this restaurant ... at least that is my impression since specialities should not be epic fail in terms of both texture and taste, consisting of strange items in the likes of green chilies, chicken skin and chicken gizzards that is rubbery hard. Only the chicken meat is decent, in fact, it is pretty tasty. The better idea is to order individual kushiyaki items instead of the moriawase or go to Kazu for kushiyaki feast.
Tamaya does offer an authentic and a relatively unique dining experience that sets it apart from the competitors and gives me the incentive to visit it once in a while.
This review (with pictures) can be found on my blog: http://morsels-of-delice.blogspot.sg/2015/07/tamaya-dining-authentic-japanese-dining.html
I was in the Cuppage Area and decided to try out some Japanese food - hence chanced upon Tamaya Dining and off we go. Seeing Japanese clientele, I felt even more comfortable entering the premises.
I started with the 5 Kind Sashimi ($49.80), which had slices of salmon, tuna, red snapper and two varietals of yellow-tail. The fish were very fresh and served at room to slightly chilled temperature, although I would not exactly call this "five kinds", more like four maybe.
From the grilled menu I then had the Tebasaki ($6), consisting of two lightly grilled tasty chicken wings as well as the Chicken Liver ($5), which was slightly grilled so it still had the slight mushy bite to it.
I also tried the Saba Yaki ($11.80), which turned out as expected.
My favourite dish for the night though had to be the Mentaiko Pasta ($18.70). The cod roe sauce was well mixed into the boiled spaghetti and topped with salmon roe - really addictive.
Overall, food was above average and prices were reasonable. The only gripe I had is that the entire second floor was manned by just one service staff - and it did not help that she was rather inexperienced and could not answer questions about the menu. Thus, even calling for assistance or even the bill was a chore as I had to leave my seat several times to figure out where to get help.