It's been ages since I've done a food review, haven been eating out much and I can't really be bothered to write.. but since this was an outing organized by a blogger, I think I should just write and give my comments.. It's gonna be harsh coz it's based on what I know about Japanese fine dining..
It was a dinner organized by Wenwei's friend's bf.. Good effort on Rayner's end to organize the dinner, bad effort on the chef for the sub-standard food. Either the chef cannot handle large orders (for 32 pax), or my standards are too high, which I dun really think is the case as even Wenwei complained about the food.
The best comment about the whole dinner was..
Thank goodness it's only $40!
If I had to pay anything near the 120 bucks as mentioned, I would had talked to the manager and asked for a refund. The food is nowhere near the $100/pax kinda standard. My expectations for the place is pretty high after reading all the reviews and I haven't had a good japanese meal in ages, but the dinner was really a flop.
First thing first, just coz food is served in pretty little bowls doesn't make it keiseki.. To me, keiseki is an experience, the ambience of the restaurant, the waitress, the delicate food, the exquisite taste, the wonderful mix of flavours, Tetsu just dun make the cut in my books.. The ambience is nice but not the greatest, in terms of decor, I prefer Shoyu @ Central even though the food is pretty bad; even Ko is much better with it's simple but tasteful decoration, or maybe the decor of Tetsu just dun make any impression on me.
Now the food.. hmm.. to give the chef credit, there are several dishes which were pretty good, but overall, the standard is not fine dining, it's more like having dinner at Sakae, mass produced food for the masses.
The first dish was Kami Tofu and Kajiki Tataki.
I dun take raw stuff, but my sister liked the swordfish, according to her it's nice and chewy. The tofu with century egg was pretty good, it was an interesting mix of texture and taste. Good effort by the chef as the century egg did not have the overpowering kinda taste.
Up next is Sashimi Moriwase.
Again I dun take raw stuff but the sashimi was pretty good coz they gave mid-grade tuna (that's what my sister said and she does know her sashimi). The daikon is pretty good thought, they didn't soak it in water and it's nice and crisp.
The clear soup is bad..
Clear soup is meant to clear your plalette so it's should be very light but still flavourful. This fish soup was just fishy.. I dun like.
Gindara No Saikyouyaki, sounds cheem, basically it's just miso-grill cod.
The freshness of the cod is very important when it comes to taste, if it's fresh, the taste is superb, if not, the meat is just bland and dry. Some ingredient you can still cover with strong spices, but you can't do that with cod. The cod was not fresh and overdone. There was not much taste and the characteristic sweetness of the meat is missing.
Then after a very long wait.. the "main dish" finally appeared. There was hot udon, Hire and Rosu Katsu, Ebi Age, Soft-shell Crab Age, Scallop Age, Tempura Mori (Lotus Root, Mushroom and Capsicum) plus Dakonni.
The problem with serving large groups is that it's difficult to control the timing, sadly the udon was sitting in the soup for too long before it was served. The udon can easily be the best dish if it's served pipping with tender noodles, but they took too long to serve and the noodles were soft. The soup was still good though, so I think this dish can definitely be better if we ordered individually.
Daikonni is basically stewed vegetables, it's again a simple dish but one which is difficult to prepare due to its simplicity. The daikon is overdone and ends up leaving a bitter taste in the mouth.
Tetsu is famous for their kushi-style dishes but it was a total disappointment, if they are famous for their katsu, I dunno what to say about Tonkichi. Wenwei and I just had dinner at Tonkichi the week before, so we could tell the vast difference between good katsu and cannot-make-it katsu. The katsu was overdone, the meat was all dry, the skin was soggy.. When you eat katsu, what you want to get it the feeling of crispness on your teeth, followed by the burst of meat juices when you bite into the meat, that's the kind of meat you get at Tonkichi, not Tetsu.
Not to mention the katsu was oily, plus the sauce is just.. .. the brown katsu sauce is waaaaayyy too salty, dun the chef taste the sauce to make sure it's ok before serving? And what's with the 3 tiny drop of sauce?? Again timing, the sauce had been left out for too long that it formed a layer of "skin" on the surface, and it's just a teeny drop which you finish in one bite with nothing left for the rest of the food.
Ebi was not fresh, the meat sticks to the bamboo stick; soft-shell crab is oily and not meaty; scallop age is.. .. .. I just had scallops the other day at Crystal Jade and it's big, juicy and most importantly, sweet. The scallop at Tetsu is big, no juice and bland, there's like hardly any taste, the fake scallop meat taste so much better.
The tempura was ok to me but my sister complained that it was too oily.
The dessert.. Rayner was telling us that they made it fresh on the day itself.. well, I think the dumplings were freshly made, other than that, the green tea ice cream is definitely off the shelf and so are the red beans.
Like I mentioned earlier, it's good effort on Rayner's part to organize the dinner and get us a good lobang, but the chef really needs to step to the challenge. Serving 32 pax at one go is a challenge but as a chef, you have to really do it. And the thing is, the serving is kinda off, we were the first ones to be served and when we finish our food, I can see the waitress just about to serve the people at the other tables. They really have to do something about this timing issue.
Dining experience: 3 out of 10