More than just teppanyaki

TEPPAN by Chef Yonemura is special in more ways than one.

Not only is this new dining concept conceived by the much-lauded chef owner of the Michelin-starred Yonemura restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, but some of the items on its menu come with captivating tales.

Take the green tea served at Teppan. It hails from a 93-year-old plantation at the foothills of Mount Fuji, currently run by Mohe Honda, a fifth generation descendant of a former samurai.

Located in Singapore’s Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), Teppan is Yonemura’s first restaurant outside of Japan. With only three rooms that hold 21 guests in total, reservations are a must.

The food served is prepared by chefs trained by Yonemura himself. Food and drinks are prepared right in front of guests, with the chefs explaining what ingredients are being used and how the food is cooked.

Teppan’s chefs de parte Katrin Dy, 22, and Jay Sison, 30, who hail from The Philippines, were on hand to prepare our dinner during a food-tasting session organised by RWS.

For the welcome drink, or amazake, Dy made a cocktail of vodka and yuzu liqueur, and topped it with a slice of dried orange soaked in fortified wine.

The orange was set alight, and we had to spray some Angostura bitters at it. Once the flames died down, we downed the drink in one gulp, and this warm citrusy shot really woke our tastebuds.

Next came a warm and cold amuse bouche.

The warm part was a toasted baguette topped with toasted mushroom, sautéed asari clams, genovese (pine nuts and basil purée) and pea shoots. It was a great combination of textures and flavours, especially with the smokiness from the mushroom.

The cold amuse bouche was thinly sliced seaweed flavoured flounder with seasonal fruit (mango) topped with a vinaigrette.

The subtle flavour of the fish went well with the sweet mango, and the vinaigrette balanced things out.

As Dy explained, Teppan’s concept is to combine both French and Japanese techniques into the cooking.

For the appetiser, we had Japanese wagyu beef cutlets topped with tartar sauce. The beef was so tender that it did not need the additional cocktail sauce served on the side.

The cold fedelini pasta dish came with salmon roe, chopped scallops, Thousand Island sauce, avocado, genovese, and topped with a soft-boiled quail’s egg. It was light and refreshing in terms of flavours.

Next was the rich and decadent French oyster and lobster bouillabaisse.

In a special pot heated on the hot teppanyaki plate, the bouillabaisse (seafood broth) is first added into the pot, then the oysters, cod fish and lobster.

This was followed by puréed red capsicum, garlic, mayonnaise, Gruyere cheese, parsley, and croutons before serving. You would find it hard to put your spoon down until the entire pot is empty.

The main was a choice between Boston lobster, or wagyu beef teppanyaki. Both ingredients were seasoned with rock salt (the beef had black pepper added) and then put on the hot plate.

Some olive oil and sake (which gave a great aroma) were poured around both meats, before they were covered with a copper dome.

The lobster meat was removed, tossed with a mixture of butter, garlic and parsley butter before being placed back in its shell.

Both meats were served with yellow capsicum, daikon radish, winter melon and okra cooked in ginger sauce, as well as fried slices of garlic and rock salt.

Teppan’s fried rice was cooked on a hot pan with garlic, onion, egg, yakisoba sauce, pork belly, fusilli pasta and Japanese rice.

According to Dy, Yonemora was inspired by how housewives used leftovers to create fried rice for their family.

Dessert was crepe suzette with a pineapple reduction and orange slices flambe with Grand Marnier, and served with vanilla ice cream.

We also enjoyed sharing plates of Japanese soy milk pudding served with brown sugar, a vanilla cheesecake served with raspberries and a cotton soft roulade with cherries and whipped cream.