As the harsh winter season in Japan ebbs away, one would eagerly anticipate the lush greenery, a harbinger of spring which unveils the umami ingredients hidden in the snow.
This year at Suntec City’s Eat at Seven, Kohaku Tendon’s attempt to unify these harvests and highlight spring results in their latest fruition of their seasonal special: the Spring Tendon ($18++).
The Spring Tendon is a bountiful gather of usual Japanese staples such as prawns, chicken and mushrooms present in a commonplace tendon, save for the tilefish, sakura leaf, bamboo shoots, white asparagus tempuras as well as fu, a Japanese wheat gluten found commonly in Japanese broths. All these ingredients rests on a bed of either white Japanese rice or the Premium 16 Multigrains that we had occasionally mentioned here and here. It is then drizzled with an inviting embrace of mentaiko sauce. One could have it as it is, with plain tendon sauce, or a preference of a spicier version for the more adventurous.
The main focal point of this dish is the amadai (a Japanese tilefish), which Kohaku coats the flesh side with batter, leaves the skin and scales on before deep frying in oil. Fret not, for the tilefish scales are smaller than most other. This results in a fragrant crisp exterior, belies its surprisingly moist and tender interior. A fair heads up for those who are not used to the usual tolerable tang present in fish, it may be too robust for some.
We felt that the juxtaposition of the tilefish, prawns and chicken tempura in the Spring Tendon contrasted more than it should, but we understood that it was an affirmatory nod to the traditional tendon.
There are certain ingredients such as the sakura leaf, mushrooms, white asparagus and tamagoyaki (Japanese omelette) that is coated in a special batter made with grinded sakura ebi, a delight for the savoury glands. In my opinion, the tamagoyaki was not overly-decadent per usual, which i so relish. The mild sakura leaf, white asparagus and bamboo shoots were mediocre but definitely provided a composition of different textures throughout the meal.
We were told that the tempura are deep-fried for 7 minutes in a specially customised water filter system-based oil deep fryer, which prevents the usual odour of deep-frying multiple tempura.
The underdog of the Spring Tendon was undeniably the fu (the sakura-shaped wheat gluten), although minute in amount, was a welcome chewy and sweet addition.
The mentaiko sauce gave a flavoursome anchor to the entire dish, but it has a tendency to cloy with deep-fried dishes such as the tempura.
Overall, if you’re a fan of all things fried and greasy, you might just hit the jackpot for a heavily indulgent don! However, one might request to not have the tendon sauce to be pre-drizzled if you prefer to have it less salty.
The Spring Tendon is only available for a short period of 3 months starting from 4th March 2019, so hesitate not for a chance to savour the flavours of Japanese Spring at Kohaku Tendon!