Sushi Tei is one of my favourite mainstream Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Apart from offering a good dose of tantalizing delights from their original menu, the restaurant also features seasonal promotions every quarter to please tastebuds with something new and exciting to try. This spring (now till the 15th of June), Sushi Tei is featuring highlights from the Kagoshima prefecture in Japan. Located on the island of Kyushu, the prefecture is well known for its pork, something that has made its way into the seasonal menu. However, that is not all that is new. I wonder what else awaits!
Start off dinner with a serving of Sashimi Moriwase ($22 – Spring Menu). Traditional cuts from Salmon and Maguro make their appearance here. The slightly more unique Aji (Horse Mackerel) is also presented for tonight’s dinner. Crisp and fresh, each piece was enjoyable to the last bite. The tuna was particularly good for its whole chunky texture that brought a firm bite into each piece.
The head and tail of the mackerel was then taken to the kitchen, where it was coated in a thin batter and fried before serve again. A great way to leave no remains behind, and definitely enjoyable if you love going through all the bits and pieces.
Next, tuck in to a serving of Sayori Sashimi ($12/$15 – Spring Menu ). The Halfbeak or Needlefish is often associated with the coming of Spring and is a telling way to start the season. The cut presents each piece in a long, translucent strip. It breaks apart easily on the first chew to reveal a deep sea flavour within that bodes of slight crisp muskiness and a touch of savoury at the side.
The Nokkemori has always been a personal favourite of mine ever since I walked into Sushi Tei by myself 3 years ago and ordered this from the menu. It is an excellent combination of Scallops, Sea Urchin, Minced Tuna and Salmon Roe. The scallops were fine and sweet, though I guess the real deal for anybody would be the servings of uni and ikura.
An appetizer to dig into is the Pitan Tofu. It is another familiar dish for me as it is something I’ve tried recreating at home. An enjoyable experience to go through the smooth silken tofu with the savoury earthy century egg sauce by the side. A complex combination of flavours livened with the salty Tobiko that burst with a surprising touch of salinity every time.
Another must order from the spring menu is the Amaebi Karaage ($6 – Spring Menu). These sweet shrimps, deep fried to a crisp are a great appetizer. Crispy on the bite, and then a mild savoury sweetness develops from within. Delicious. I expect this to go well with some alcohol.
The Kani Gyoza ($6 – Spring Menu) was also another favourite for me. These crab meat dumplings are always a delight at the dinner table. I was so interested in tasting the dumplings, I simply forgot about the vinegar dip by the side – salvaging the situation by taking in a little of the dip as the dumpling was in my mouth. Juicy, with a clear refreshing taste, the dumplings were good and wholesome. I wish they added one more though.
The Teriyaki Steak featured a cut of beef glazed in a sweet sauce of soy, mirin and sugar. Very, very tasty with strong umami flavours, it is a favourite for some.
For some real meat highlights, I thoroughly recommend the Kagoshima Miso Yaki Pork ($11.50 – Spring Menu). While kagoshima pork is already known for its deep well rounded savoury flavours tinged with a complex fatty flavour by the side, the touch of sweet and slightly salty miso complements the portion of meat very well, bringing the dish up to a totally different level. It is definitely one dish I will order again if I am back in Sushi Tei this promotion season. Do not forgo the fat in this dish though, it is really what makes the cut of meat sparkle like a piece of uniquely flavoured char siew minus the red colouring.
The other dish to consider is the Kagoshima Tonkatsu ($12 – Spring Menu). The pork cutlet’s crispiness is not to be missed and it reveals a nice cut of kagoshima pork within. It is however a little dry and greasy, but definitely a favourite who would love a decent serve of katsu every now and then.
For a unique dish to try, there is the Sunrise Meat Ball ($8.50 – Spring Menu). It reminded me of the Mingzhu roll I had from Keng Eng Kee Seafood. The minced pork ball with salted egg yolk featured a good combination of flavours from the savoury to the refreshing salty creaminess from the yolk. This visual appetizer is great for sharing!
The Kagoshima Pork Hamburger ($8 – Spring Menu) that was served up next was a hit and miss around the table. While I loved the tender soft meat patty, I do see the point when some noted that the sauce was too rich and salty for the hamburger. Yet, I might give this a second try as nothing beats indulging your bite in a smooth and meaty hamburger patty that tastes succulent with every portion.
To finish up the Kagoshima pork experience, there is the Kagoshima Pork Nabe in Spicy Soup Base ($15 – Spring Menu). This Japanese hot pot carry a mix of vegetables served up with slices of fresh Kagoshima pork. A warm, heartening experience is provided in each sip. Goes very well with rice if I may add.
Pork slices for the hot pot
For a staple to end before desserts, I was then served the Tako and Shirasu Yakiudon ($13.50 – Spring Menu). This generous portion of octopus, baby sardine stir fried with Japanese wheat noodles in a portion of soya beans, celery and seasoning is definitely a filler. A tad oily though, but delicious if you here for a single dish meal. Reminded me a little of Hokkien noodles, but only a reminder.
Desserts began with a serving of Chocolate Parfait ($6.50 – Spring Menu). A sinful indulgence by itself, dig past the chocolate ice cream, chocolate cereal into the depths of whipped cream and strawberry sauce at the bottom. A delight with a whole combination of textures and varying sweet flavours.
For a cross between the sweet and salty, the dessert I recommend is the Shio and Azuki Ice Cream ($3.40 – Spring Menu). The restaurant’s familiar salt ice cream is given a twist here with the addition of textured red beans. The addition cuts down the saltiness of the salt ice cream and adds a different sweet dimension with a nutty flavour to the overall dish. I prefer the original though as it is a dessert I can live with happily throughout the rest of the summer.
A unique favourite on the menu is the Matcha Nama Chocolate Ice Cream. These little pieces of chocolate are served frozen solid, so give it a little time to thaw and then enjoy the creaminess as you roll the piece around on your tongue. The table agreed that as compared to the Nama Chocolate Ice Cream (below), the matcha variant was the better one. However, I personally thought the inverse as the matcha’s refreshing bitterness was a little awkward in this setting, though I do agree that it is a perfect palate cleanser.
Nama Chocolate Ice Cream
To end of dinner, the servings of Pino Strawberry made a lasting impression. This little balls of cream with strawberry fillings were a hidden surprise. Icy and frosty, yet with a smooth creaminess as it slowly melts in the mouth, I enjoyed the tender sweetness of strawberry that reminded me of fresh fields and dancing yellow lilies (ok I’m imagining too much here). An enjoyable end I must add.
In overall, the delights from the Spring Kagoshima menu at Sushi Tei is worth a look if you looking for some reasonably priced and fresh Japanese food for dinner within these four weeks. I found highlights such as the Kagoshima Miso Yaki and Kani Gyoza worthwhile experiences to order. For sweet endings, I would still stick to my shio ice cream though I wouldn’t mind dressing it up now and then with the azuki variant available this spring. Now, that I’m on a sweet tooth craving, maybe I should eat some ice cream.
Many thanks to Sushi Tei for the invitation
391 Orchard Road
Ngee Ann City
Enquiries : 6737 8878
Opens from : 11.30am to 10pm