In this cubbyhole of a restaurant, only kitchen counter seats are available and the restaurant filled up quickly, practically full by 12 noon. Interestingly, their lunch clientele was 30% locals and 70% Japanese salary men. Hopefully a good sign of things to come
For lunch, Teppei Japanese Restaurant offers tempura sets and a daily special – ours that day was yellowtail carpaccio, which reminded me of our local yu sheng, served with rice and miso soup. It looked really good and I would have gotten a set if not for my current situation. (Note: For dinner, they have a different menu; ala carte and consisting of more common items such as salads, kushiage among other things.)
While waiting, mum and I helped ourselves to some table-laid starters that were incredibly homely. I’m not sure if they offer the same items everyday but we had pickled vegetables; simmered chicken, mushroom and daikon; and an eggy mix of long beans and lotus root (very yummy).
At the same time, we were both given a bowl of Toyama Koshihikari rice and, wakame and enoki miso soup. The restaurant proudly proclaims they serve Toyama Koshihikari rice and for good reason too as these transclucent beads were gratifying chewy and slightly sticky. I felt bad for those waiting outside but I just had to get in every rice grain before I left my rice bowl alone for good.
We shared two sets – the Big Prawn Tempura Set that came with two large shrimps, a domino-sized sea eel and three pieces of vegetables – sweet potato, eggplant and lotus root; and the Niku Tempura Set that consisted of wagyu, pork loin, chicken breast and the same three pieces of vegetables.
Pieces of our tempura were served up periodically, resulting in a well spaced-out meal that guaranteed crisp hot tempura. There were three types of seasoning for you to flavour your tempura with – salt, curry powder and green tea powder – but I kept mine simple with just a pinch of salt.
What I liked the huge prawns, eel and wagyu beef. What I didn’t like were the chicken breast and pork loin that were sliced too thinly and dried out quickly in the frying process. If I ever went back, I would stick with their seafood and vegetable items.
You would be able to find tempura in most Japanese restaurants here and food-wise, Teppei Japanese Restaurant was above average.However, the quaint setup of this Japanese restaurant was quirky enough to make me want to return sooner than later for lunch.