Tan Yu 探鱼

April 17, 2020 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Tan Yu 探鱼
313 Orchard Road
#B3-30 313@Somerset

3 Gateway Drive
#B1-01 Westgate


https://www.facebook.com/tanyusg313/


Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd (SGD $48.90)



Delicious Grilled Fish But Long Waiting Times

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 5
Ambience & Setting: 6
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 2
Value for Money: 6
Spent about SGD $40 per person.


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Hailing from Nanshan, Shenzhen, Guangdong province of China, where it was established in December 2013, Tan Yu 探鱼 quickly expanded to over 200 outlets across the country, and opened its 1st international branch in Singapore in November 2017. While many places serve Chinese grilled fish, not many offer the variety or quality that Tan Yu 探鱼 does, with their range of 12 different flavours and 3 unique types of fish.

Ambience at Tan Yu 探鱼 is modern industrial, with a grungy street feel. The place is primarily coloured black, with metal grill partitions and wooden booths, carefully positioned to accord some privacy to diners. Surprised the ventilation was rather good, there's only a slight cooking odour that'll stick to you. Graffiti artwork and retro equipment (typewriters, radios) serve as decor. The place is usually fully packed and crowded, but the clever positioning of seats doesn't make it feel that way.

Service at Tan Yu 探鱼 is transactional and efficient, but impersonal and seemingly lacking in common sense. You queue to get a table number, but this can be rather disorganised. After getting a table number, you'll receive a text message on your mobile which allows you to track when your queue number is called. The tracker is supposed to buzz you when your table is ready, but this never happened for us. Waiting time on average is about 1 hour; during our visit, we waited for 1 and a half hours. If they've distributed all queue numbers for the day, they won't take any new customers, but staff fail to properly explain this to guests turning up at the entrance, leaving them slightly confused.

Once the queue number at Tan Yu 探鱼 is called, you'll still have to wait 10 minutes while staff clean up and prepare the table. Why they cannot do this before calling the customer is beyond me. After you're seated, they take your order, again, this is something they could do earlier. To fulfill and serve your order will take another 20 minutes or so. Thus, a meal at Tan Yu 探鱼 could take upwards of 3 hours or more, meaning you should only visit if you can afford half a day to spare for a meal. Staff also make odd choices, they served our beer without any mugs. When we asked for mugs, they brought us 1 mug, even though we clearly had more than 1 person. Overall, terrible service at Tan Yu 探鱼.

Food at Tan Yu 探鱼 is focused on Chinese Sichuan / Szechuan cuisine, in particular, the Chinese grilled fish. They offer 3 varieties of fish here, including the limbo / basa catfish, qing jiang / channel catfish, or sea bass fish. There's a wide range of 12 different flavours for the fish, from Green Pepper to Golden Combination. Mostly firm, flaky, white fish, these lend well to grilling, and I like that ingredients are fresh. Portions are large, sized for communal dining. Prices are comparable to other such grilled fish restaurants, and are fairly reasonable, though drinks are expensive. Budget about SGD $40 per person for a meal here.


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Tan Yu Signage
Tan Yu Signage


Tan Yu Exterior
Tan Yu Exterior


Tan Yu Interior
Tan Yu Interior


Entrance Foyer
Entrance Foyer


Seating
Seating


Decor
Decor


Artwork
Artwork


Floor Patterns
Floor Patterns


Menu
Menu


Menu


Table Setting
Table Setting


How To Enjoy Grilled Fish
How To Enjoy Grilled Fish



The Beer Laoshan (SGD $9.80) is an American light lager brewed by Tsingtao Brewery Co. Ltd. in Qingdao, Shandong, China. It has a clear, pale yellow colour, with aromas and tastes of steel, grass, barley, and corn. The body is light, crisp, and watery, with mild bitter sweet grainy flavour that is really light. Made with fresh spring water, this is drinkable in the same way that water is drinkable - easy on the palate, refreshing, but almost tasteless.

Beer Laoshan (SGD $9.80)


Beer Laoshan
Beer Laoshan



Both of these are served only if you order a grilled fish dish that is extra spicy. The Dried Apricot (SGD $Complimentary) has a firm juicy chew, with bright fruity sweet flavour. The Dried Chinese Hawthorn (SGD $Complimentary) has a firm gelatinous chew, with deep earthy sweet herbal flavour.

Dried Apricot
Dried Apricot (SGD $Complimentary)


Dried Chinese Hawthorn
Dried Chinese Hawthorn (SGD $Complimentary)



The Pork Dumplings With Chili Oil (SGD $3.80) here aren't good. The dumpling skin is thick and doughy, the filling of tender minced pork is overly salty, and the chili oil gravy is lacking in both black vinegar and chili. Could be improved.

Pork Dumplings With Chili Oil
Pork Dumplings With Chili Oil (SGD $3.80)



The Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd (SGD $48.90) features a large limbo fish / basa catfish, laid over sheets of beancurd skin and pickled mustard greens, in a fragrant mildly spicy gravy. Surrounded with fried soy beans, tofu beancurd, and heaped with dried red chili and parsley. Not as spicy as it looks, this was delicious and filling. Highly recommended!

Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd (SGD $48.90)


Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd


Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd
Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd


Chong Qing Grilled Limbo Fish With Tofu Beancurd



You can choose to add-on ingredients to your grilled fish. The Luncheon Meat Spam (SGD $4.80) has thick yet tender cuts of pork luncheon meat / spam, with less sodium, having a more savoury and less salty flavour. The Sweet Potato Noodles (SGD $3.50) are silky smooth and glass-like, with a delicate sweet starchy flavour.

Luncheon Meat Spam (SGD $4.80)


Luncheon Meat Spam
Luncheon Meat Spam


Sweet Potato Noodles (SGD $3.50)


Sweet Potato Noodles
Sweet Potato Noodles



The Dried Chili & Parsley lend fragrant aromas to the grilled fish, but aren't as spicy or numbing as mala peppercorn. The crunchy Fried Soy Beans burst with grainy sweet salty flavour, and is best eaten together with the fish. The soft Pickled Mustard Greens have a deep vegetal salty sour flavour, while the chewy layers of Beancurd Skin have a mild grainy sweet flavour. The spongy Tofu Beancurd absorbs all the savoury spice flavours of the gravy so well, and looks enticing in the corners of the dish.

Dried Chili & Parsley
Dried Chili & Parsley


Fried Soy Beans
Fried Soy Beans


Pickled Mustard Greens & Beancurd Skin
Pickled Mustard Greens & Beancurd Skin


Tofu Beancurd
Tofu Beancurd



The Grilled Limbo Fish, also known as Basa Catfish, is large and meaty, with a tender moist firm flaky texture. Has beautiful delicate sweet savoury flavour, and the grilling in the gravy causes it to absorb all the savoury spice notes. This is the signature fish here.

Grilled Limbo Fish
Grilled Limbo Fish / Basa Catfish


Grilled Basa Catfish
Grilled Limbo Fish / Basa Catfish


Grilled Limbo Fish / Basa Catfish



The Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies (SGD $45.90) features a large limbo fish / basa catfish, in a fragrant extra spicy gravy, garnished with dried red chili, fresh red chili, pickled green chili, Sichuan / Szechuan mala peppercorns, and spring onions. With robust savoury salty spicy flavours, and a fiery kick that numbs and lingers, this fiery dish is not for the faint-hearted. You're served some complimentary dried fruits before the dish arrives, which you should consume, in order to prevent hurting your empty stomach.

Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies (SGD $45.90)


Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies
Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies


Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies


Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies


Grilled Limbo Fish With Mixed Chilies



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Disclaimer: All our visits here were before COVID-19, and thus, before the circuit breaker in Singapore was implemented.








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