Tentsuru is a tempura restaurant located in level 2 of St. Regis Singapore. Opened in 2022, the restaurant took over what was previously Italian restaurant LaBrezza. Unlike its predecessor however, Tentsuru is a tenant of St. Regis Singapore rather than a component restaurant of the luxury hotel.
Tentsuru fulfills a gap in an otherwise overcrowded omakase scene in Singapore by instead offering a tempura-focused set for both lunch and dinner. The lunch omakase starts from S$120++ while dinner omakase starts from S$280++.
In Tentsuru, there is a strong focus on condiments and unlike other tempura restaurants where the usual condiment is just the tempura sauce, here they provide so much more. Each dish in the omakase menu clearly indicates the suggested condiment. These other tempura condiments include lemon juice, plum sauce, yuzu pepper, curry salt and sea salt.
At the start of the meal, I was presented with a platter of assorted raw items which represent the uncooked version of the dishes we would be having later that evening. The main difference between the various omakase sets is the number of ingredients. Some of the higher priced sets may include premium dishes such as uni (sea urchin) or wagyu beef. The higher priced sets may also include a customary sashimi course.
For the first course, the Appetizer consisted of a quartet of dishes. This included Chinese lantern egg, deep-fried white fish with egg and yam, tofu paste with shrimp and edamame as well as a deep-fried river crab. Of the 4, the river crab stood out the most. Also called sawagani in Japanese, I was instructed to eat it whole, with shell and all. To be frank, I was not so sure about it as I never ate a whole crab before but it was fried to the point that the shell turned crispy and was easy to break down.
Next up, we headed straight to the tempura courses. The most classic one of them all – the kurumaebi or tiger prawn – came first. Here, the difference between a tempura specialist and typical Japanese restaurants become even more apparent. The prawn was deep-fried with a relatively light batter so the flour does not overpower the eating experience of the juicy flesh. The prawn is served in 2 parts – the body on one side and the head on the other. I was instructed to use a different condiment for each part – with either pink salt or lemon juice.
The asupara or asparagus came next. The naturally crunchy texture of the young shoots was enhanced with the light batter.
Tentsuru artfully utilizes a 50 gram portion of Japanese whiting or kisu to craft a tempura that is mildly delicate, tender and flaky with a satisfying bite. We were asked to pair with the yuzu pepper for a slightly spicy note.
The next course was my favorite tempura course. Plump scallops were fried with a thin batter. It looked even thinner when one looks at a cross-section of the huge shellfish. These scallops possessed a delightful sweetness and firm bite with a crisp and light outer batter layer. The plum sauce sets the scene with tart notes to bring out the scallop’s sweetness. We were recommended to use lemon juice for the other half.
As an intermission from the tempura, we were served a side dish consisting of grilled silver belt fish. Aside from the appetizers and desserts, this was the only non-fried dish of the evening. While I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the natural sweetness of the fish and the accompanying lime, I was more intrigued by the fish bone cartilage that came as a side. It was firm but crunchy and was surprisingly quite addictive.
A trio of tempura came after in quick succession. This consisted of the blackthroat, Miyazaki beef sirloin and sweet potato. The sirloin was notable for having its own condiment in the form of house-made negi sauce of onion, ginger and sesame oil binded with egg yolk.
For the main course (i.e. carbohydrate dish), we were asked to choose between 1 of 2 options. The first was a tendon or mixed tempura with rice. The second was tencha which is rice and soup with a kakiage topping. I went with the tencha which proved to be a comforting dish with the mild-tasting broth going well with the kakiage. However, if you are still feeling a bit peckish by this point, you can check out the tendon which comes topped with assorted tempura and a sweet-savory sauce on the rice.
Just as we started the omakase with some unique items, we ended it on an exotic note. For sweets, we had the Japanese red bean jelly. The jelly was hidden inside bamboo shoots and came with a scoop of thinly-coated mochi ice cream on the side.
Complementing the tempura delicacies is a curated list of premium sake. Tentsuru offers a Sake Pairing Menu which includes 4 glasses of premium pours, including a glass of their inhouse Tentsuru champagne as welcome drink.
Unlike the current trend in omakase restaurants in Singapore where showmanship and theatricality are part of the experience, Tentsuru remains refreshingly primal, focusing on the essentials, and that’s what I love about it. Despite several consecutive tempura courses, none of the items I had felt cloying at all and I loved how the batter was consistently thin and crispy throughout. The original seafood taste does not get diluted in any way.
Now I know where to turn to whenever I have tempura cravings.
29 Tanglin Rd
+65 8113 3612
Daily except Monday, 12PM to 2:30PM / 6PM to 10:30PM