4Morsels of Delice •
07 Aug 2015
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