Tanuki Raw

June 30, 2017 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Tanuki Raw
181 Orchard Road
#04-01 Orchard Central

111 Middle Road
#01-05 National Design Centre


http://tanukibar.com/


Unagi Foie Gras Donburi (SGD $23.90)



Mischievous, Playful Japanese French Fusion Dishes

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 8
Ambience & Setting: 8
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 5
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $33 per person.


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Established in December 2012 by Howard Lo, Tanuki Raw is named after the Japanese raccoon dog, said to be a master of disguise and shapeshifting in folklore, with a mischievous and jolly spirit. Taking inspiration from this, Tanuki Raw offers exciting modern fusion cuisine, a blend of Japanese and French, in a cozy, casual setting.

Ambience at Tanuki Raw projects a clean, minimalist look. The brightly lit area is neatly but tightly packed with modern wooden furniture, in shades of white, brown, red, and pearl. The open concept lends a sense of space, and there's even communal tables for groups. Both outlets have a small al-fresco outdoor dining area too.

Service at Tanuki Raw is efficient, but comes across as hurried rather than personalised. The mostly young staff are quick to seat guests, and display good product knowledge, able to offer recommendations and briefly describe dishes. However, I didn't like that they refused to change out ingredients in a dish, though they did offer suitable alternatives. I note they're otherwise quick are clearing away empty / dirty tables when diners leave.

However, we had a bad experience on another visit. Staff forgot to prepare my food, and they also overlooked my drink order. The meal ended up taking over 30 minutes longer because of the wait. There was no apology, and no attempt to perform service recovery.

Food at Tanuki Raw is modern fusion, a blend of Japanese and French cuisines. Dishes are attractively plated, made with good quality ingredients, and generally delicious in taste. I like their consistently good execution. Portions are medium to large for individuals, also sufficient for sharing. Prices are comparable to restaurants, slightly high for a cafe, budget about SGD $33 per person for a meal here.


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Tanuki Raw Kapok Exterior


Tanuki Raw Kapok Interior


Tanuki Raw Orchard Central Facade


Bar


Greenery Brick Patterned Wall


Preparing Seasoned Rice



The Beer Sharkinator White IPA (SGD $12 / $14) is an American style India pale ale, brewed by Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka city, in the state of California in the United States Of America. It has a hazy, pale straw golden colour, with aromas of grain, lemon, pine, and dew. Body is smooth, refreshing, and medium, good carbonation, with tastes of bread, grapefruit, cereal, and resin. Low sweet and bitter notes, with a short off-dry finish.

Beer Sharkinator White IPA
Beer Sharkinator White IPA (SGD $12 / $14)


Beer Sharkinator White IPA



The Cocktail Kyoto Protocol (SGD $14) is a refreshing sake-based cocktail. Made from a blend of junmai daiginjo sake, grapefruit, Merlet crème de pêche / peach liqueur, and green tea. Notes of fruity sweet sour, slight floral, very fresh like a winter breeze. Light on the alcohol though, so those who prefer something stronger should pass on this.

Cocktail Kyoto Protocol
Cocktail Kyoto Protocol (SGD $14)



Among the newest drinks on the menu, the Nitro Cascara Honey Lime Cold Brew (SGD $7.50) is actually not a typical coffee. Rather than coffee beans, this cold brew is made with cascara - the dried skin of coffee cherries from the coffee plant. Cascara is more commonly known as coffee cherry tea, and is in fact, a herbal tea beverage. Here, they've infused it with honey, lime juice, and nitrogen, giving it a silky smooth texture, with a sweet sour tangy zesty flavour, and a hint of hibiscus flowers on the finish. More sweet than sour though, nicely unique. Worth ordering!

Nitro Cascara Honey Lime Cold Brew
Nitro Cascara Honey Lime Cold Brew (SGD $7.50)



The Beef Gyoza (SGD $Complimentary) features nicely pan-fried gyoza dumplings, whose skin is thin enough to yield easily with a chew, yet thick enough to hold the filling without breaking. Nice slightly crisp edges too. Within are sweet caramelised onions, and juicy meaty savoury chopped prime beef, which has a bold, robust flavour. Decent enough, it's complimentary during happy hours.

Beef Gyoza
Beef Gyoza (SGD $Complimentary)


Beef Gyoza


Beef Gyoza



The Oysters Coffin Bay (SGD $2 / $6 per piece) are clean-tasting and fresh. These oysters are petite and well rounded, with a meaty texture, a crisp freshness, and a deep briny salty flavour with a sweet finish. Even better value during happy hour!

Oysters Coffin Bay
Oysters Coffin Bay (SGD $2 / $6 per piece)



Loved the Sweet Potato Truffle Fries (SGD $11.90). The long strips of sweet potato fries are slightly crisp on the exterior, and soft on the interior, with good sweet potato flavour. The garnish of tender chopped shiitake mushrooms, fragrant white truffle oil, and creamy truffle aioli, all lend a nice earthy savoury sweet flavour, contrasting well. Portion is rather large, served in a bucket, and is sufficient for sharing. Good!

Sweet Potato Truffle Fries
Sweet Potato Truffle Fries (SGD $11.90)


Sweet Potato Truffle Fries



The Wham Fries (SGD $11.90) have magically made sweet potato fries even better. Topped with gooey marshmallows, gruyere cheese, mozzarella cheese, sour cream, and a house special 5-spice powder, this delicious appetizer has achieved a layered flavour profile of sweet salty savoury. Each component is distinct enough in taste, yet complements the whole. Highly recommended!

Wham Fries (SGD $11.90)


Wham Fries
Wham Fries



The Unagi Foie Gras Donburi (SGD $23.90) is a luxurious, satisfiying rice bowl. A bed of fluffy sticky sushi rice, seasoned with garlic, seaweed, white vinegar, furikake sprinkles, and other secret ingredients, topped with shredded tamago / egg, pickled daikon radish, fresh wasabi, a savoury salty sweet house made unagi / eel sauce, and sesame sansho / Japanese pepper spice. A medium fillet of tender grilled unagi / eel, with notes of smoky savoury sweet salty. And a large slab of creamy pan-seared foie gras, decadent with smoky fatty flavour. Loved every bite of this. Highly recommended!

Unagi Foie Gras Donburi
Unagi Foie Gras Donburi (SGD $23.90)


Unagi Foie Gras Donburi



The Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Donburi (SGD $24.90) is built for sashimi lovers. A total of 10 different cuts of fresh fish and seafood are lovingly stacked over their signature seasoned sushi rice, along with shredded tamago / egg, briny ikura / salmon roe, and chewy ebiko / shrimp roe. Features tuna loin, tuna tartare, salmon loin, torched salmon belly, scallop, sea bream, swordfish, Japanese amberjack / yellowtail, and escolar, the overall dish has bright notes of sweet savoury, very clean-tasting and refreshing. While tasty and of good quality, the bold flavour of the seasoned rice overwhelms the freshness of the fish, knocking this down from good to decent. There are better versions elsewhere.

Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Donburi
Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Donburi (SGD $24.90)


Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Donburi


Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Donburi



The Chamomile Yuzu Chicken Donburi (SGD $16) was the weakest link here. While it has that same signature seasoned sushi rice, pickled daikon radish, and a lovely wobbly soft onsen egg, the pan-seared skinless chicken fillet had a dry, chewy texture. At least the dressing of fragrant yuzu and chamomile tea honey gave it a refreshing zesty sweet fruity flavour. Tasty, but I wouldn't order it again.

Chamomile Yuzu Chicken Donburi
Chamomile Yuzu Chicken Donburi (SGD $16)


Chamomile Yuzu Chicken Donburi



The Truffle Yakiniku Donburi (SGD $18) is delicious, and I'll return for this. This rice bowl features their tasty signature seasoned rice, overlaid with pan-seared black angus beef short rib slices, which are juicy, tender, nicely medium-rare, and have a bold savoury salty flavour. Completed with a wobbly runny onsen egg, earthy salty truffle soy sauce, and pickled daikon radish. So satisfiying. Good!

Truffle Yakiniku Donburi
Truffle Yakiniku Donburi (SGD $18)


Truffle Yakiniku Donburi



Loved the trio of Beef Sliders (SGD $16.90), plated on a bed of fresh purple cabbage. Each slider features thinly sliced beef sirloin, pan-fried in the house-made yakiniku sauce. Stacked in generous portions within soft buttermilk rye brioche burger buns, along with a thick slice of juicy sweet tomato, fresh crunchy lettuce, savoury salty gruyere cheese, earthy sauteed button mushrooms, and a truffle mayonnaise. Each bite is juicy, meaty, with a satisfiying chew, you get the full savoury sweet salty earthy flavours within. Good!

Beef Sliders (SGD $16.90)


Beef Sliders
Beef Sliders


Beef Sliders



The Toasted PB&J Cake (SGD $10) actually sounds much better than it tastes. Described as a Madagascar vanilla sponge cake, layered with toasted chunky peanut butter, balsamic raspberry jam, peanut butter cream cheese, raspberry, and candied peanuts, its texture hits all the right notes of fluffy, soft, airy, and creamy. However, the taste didn't sit right with me; having an oddly savoury sour sweet clash of flavour, with an artificial feel. This dessert cake tries too hard, and fails. Skip this.

Toasted PB&J Cake (SGD $10)


Toasted PB&J Cake
Toasted PB&J Cake



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