Teppanyaki has seldom been one of my to-go cuisine styles when the Japanese gastronomic crave kicks in. Instead, when the mood calls, I would opt for a good ol’ kaiseki, sushi, ramen, or to even the more elaborate omakase. Perhaps this is due to my experiences when much younger, where teppanyaki was frequently associated with the thought of having beansprouts cooked in a myriad of sauce and smoky aromatics. Though I can now appreciate the nuances in Teppanyaki (where there are both Western and Japanese styles), my visit to Teppan Bar Q at Robertson Walk for some Spanish-Japanese teppanyaki re-introduced me to a whole new world which I’ve never really took time or the effort to explore.
Dinner was started off with a serving of Roasted Hakata Mentai ($12.90++; tasting portion depicted). Hakata mentaiko is first grilled on the teppan before being sliced into bite-sized portions, decorated and then served. The flavours were bold, distinct, salty and savoury – with its intensities developing deeper upon each bite. While I do appreciate having good quality mentaiko as part of my meal, to enjoy it in chunks definitely suggests a need for pairing with rice, beer or some of that fine Kyushu sake I had.
I much preferred the next dish of Octopus Galician Style ($13.90++). Teppan grilled sliced octopus is served atop chunks of Oden potato and then garnished with salt, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and paprika powder. I found the octopus to be crisp and tender, with the seasoning lending a spritely contrast in flavour. The potato was, however, my favourite as I enjoyed its mealy warmth to the ocean lightness.
The Foie Gras and Daikon ($26.80++) was clearly the much stronger dish for the night. Though it is a simple enough dish to execute, the teppan is probably one of the best way to cook foie gras because of the good distribution of heat throughout: the fattened goose liver is crisp and smoky on the outside while buttery within. After the foie gras is well seared, it is then served on some sweet Japanese radish and then dressed with a mix of balsamic and teriyaki sauce. Beautiful.
After I discovered the existence of Tonpeiyaki ($22.90++) at Torikin, I was extremely excited when I heard that the same dish was to be served up during dinner at Teppan Bar Q. Originally from Osaka, this dish of finely chopped cabbage, pork slices, a beautifully rendered omelette and a dressing of soy mayonnaise with Japanese plum vinegar was truly a sight to behold and savour. I enjoyed witnessing chef prepare the dish in front of me, and the flavours when experienced straight off the pan, is simply something that is seared into memory. Somehow it reminds me of an Osaka yakisoba I had off a street from Waseda University one night when I was in Japan. Highly recommended for order!
The final main for the night was the US Angus Ribeye Steak ($58.90++ for 200g). Well grilled to a nice medium doneness, the meat was crisp to the bite and excellent on its own. If you like a little more flavour, the restaurant does provide an assortment of three dipping sauces by the side – sesame, soya sauce, onion garlic and ginger. The chef was also very kind and prepped up a portion of teppan grilled beef fat earlier removed from the steak. Its smoky and slightly seasoned flavours notwithstanding, it was remarkable having the fat simply melt in the mouth.
And those fatty bits were further used in the staple of Garlic Fried Rice ($12.90++).
As a way to cool off from an adventurous journey, the restaurant served up individual portions of Vanilla Ice Cream With Kinako ($6.90++). The unique touches to this dessert definitely has to go to the drizzle of brown sugar syrup and roasted soy bean powder sprinkled all over for that combination of hearty smoky aromatics complementing an intense, buttery sweet ice cream.
Teppan Bar Q provided me for the night an experience in revisiting Teppanyaki. Dishes like the Tonpeiyaki and Foie Gras with Daikon were outstanding and they are items I will order the next time I am back. However, while I do find the Spanish-Japanese creations to be innovative, they lack for me the punch that is usually delivered when I imagine how Teppanyaki dishes should be like. Still, a worthy endeavour, and one that should be on the notebooks for diners who wish to tuck in to both dinner and a mini performance.
Thank you Teppan Bar Q for the invitation.
|Teppan Bar Q|
|11 Unity Street|
Reservations: 6235 0629
Daily 6pm to Midnight