The Tendon craze just simply refuses to die down; we checked out Kogane Yama by the group behind Chir Chir and Massizim last month, and Akimitsu is the latest to jump onto the Tendon bandwagon.
Akimitsu is owned by the 5th generation owner of Dote No Iseya, Chef Tanihara Akimitsu, using a recipe that was developed and refined for 128 years. Shitamachi Tendon Akimitsu seemed to have expanded into an overseas venture pretty recently, with outlets situated in Taiwan, Philippines and Malaysia. Akimitsu is being brought into Singapore as a brand under the Japan Food Holdings group, which also run brands such as Ajisen Ramen, Menya Musashi, Osaka Osho and New Man Lee Bak Kut Teh. Taking over the former spot of Ambush’s kitchen area (the dining area by the corridor is replaced by several eateries under the Japan Food Holdings umbrella as well) and House of Turntables, the restaurant is mid-sized and fills up pretty quickly for lunch as we observed on the first day of operations. The menu features several types of Tendon with Tempura Rice Sets and Tencha available, whilst serving simple sides and a very small list of desserts as well.
Every order of a main comes with complimentary free-flow pickles as well as a single portion of Chawanmushi. The Chawanmushi was decent; silken and smooth with evident flavours coming from the dashi stock within whilst coming with mushroom and shrimp. We thought the latter was a little overdone; a little lacking a juicy bite though it’s still pretty fine if one is not too picky.
(Akimitsu Specialty Tendon)
For those looking into trying all everything at one go, the Akimitsu Signature Tendon would be the Tendon to go for; the bowl itself consists of Tempura Prawn, Assorted Vegetables, White Fish and Egg. Patrons also do get the option to either go for the Original or Spicy here. Every order of a main also comes with a bowl of Miso Soup on the side. Generally, the Tempura items were decent; light and crisp batter, though the batter seemed to disintegrate rather easily from the condiments and that some pieces were a little on the limp side. We also thought the fish was a little dry for our liking, though we could be nitpicking a little too much on the execution of the dish. The Tempura Egg did not disappoint, however; a poke with the chopstick reveals and oozy egg yolk within that flows of golden yolk. While we opted for the Spicy variant, the sauce was rather mild in spiciness and we thought we could actually do with more sauce for the rice.
One of the items that make Akimitsu stand out from the other Tendon speciality shops around would be the Kakiage Tencha. The Kakiage Tencha is essentially a large fried fritter of prawn, whitefish, shellfish, onions and assorted vegetables served atop a bed of rice with condiments such as seaweed, wasabi and spring onions as well as Dashi Soup on the side. Unlike the Akimitsu Signature Tendon, the Kakiage Tencha only comes in Original (which means there is no Spicy variant for the Kakiage Tencha). According to the staff here, there are three ways to enjoy the Kakiage Tencha; one could either enjoy the Kakiage just as-is, add on the dry condiments or simply drenching the entire bowl with the Dashi Soup; a concept similar to a Chazuke with a different soup base. We tried all three methods of having the Kakiage Tencha; having it just by itself, the Kakiage is fried light and crisp with a nice hint of umami-ness from the elements used for the Kakiage. Adding in the condiments, the flavours do not change much especially since the condiments are all dry; the only difference is the slight hint of numbness that one would get from the wasabi. Drenching the entire bowl with the Dashi Soup, the Kakiage and rice absorb the soup for a lightly savoury touch that seemed to counter the fried items in a rather refreshing way. That being said, we would probably recommend not to drench the entire bowl with the Dashi Soup especially for those who prefer to maintain the crispness of the Kakiage.
(Matcha Ice-Cream Puff)
As part of their opening promotion, we received a complimentary Matcha Ice-Cream Puff after liking their Facebook page. This was decent considering it is coming out of a Tendon speciality shop; while the pastry is a little dry, the exterior was considerably crusty with a scoop of decent tasting Matcha Ice-Cream sandwiched in the middle. It is definitely a little overboard to expect patisserie standards for this item here considering their main focus, so this was an item that did end the meal in a good way.
Akimitsu opened to much hype on the very first day; the restaurant itself was packed during lunch hours and there was even a queue waiting to enter at a point of time; we waited for around 15 minutes for a table ourselves. Having tried the food at Akimitsu, we thought that the food was decent, but probably not very much worth the queue; it serves as a convenient spot to settle Tendon cravings in town, but there are quite a number of Tendon spots around by now that seemed to be able to carry themselves better considering Akimitsu is rather late in joining the game. Hopefully, Akimitsu would be able to refine their offerings in the long run; there is certainly quite a bit of potential here somehow.
(PS: Do look out for another outlet opening at Vivocity soon!)
68 Orchard Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/akimitsu.sg/