Teppan Kappou Kenji had been opened since November 2018, serving up Japanese teppanyaki dishes along Tanjong Pagar Road.
Occupying the shop space beside Ginza Tendon Itsuki at Tanjong Pagar Road, Teppan Kappou Kenji adds to the myriad of Japanese cuisine options available in the neighbourhood. Unlike many other restaurants which choose to focus on Donburi and Ramen, Teppan Kappou Kenji places an emphasizes on teppanyaki-style dishes. Whilst the interior is decked in true Japanese-style with both dining tables as well as a bar counter that oversees the Teppanyaki grill, the dining environment can be described as casual, yet meticulously set up to ensure an intimate dining experience with the staff of the restaurant. Offering a variety of menus, diners can opt for Omakase set meals (available for both lunch and dinner hours), the ala-carte menu (which consists of items such as salads, apppetisers, sashimi, agemono, yakimono, teppanyaki, seafood, meats, rice, etc.) and the seasonal menu which features sourced ingredients that are available for a short period of time. We visited Teppan Kappou Kenji during the lunch hour, where we opted for items off the Express Lunch Menu which provide patrons quick and casual meals that is bang for the buck; most of which affordably priced around S$12 to S$15 with only a handful dishes going up to S$35 before GST and service charge.
[Chawanmushi and Kobachi (side dish)]
Teppan Kappou Kenji serves up all express lunch sets with Chawanmushi and Kobachi (side dish), as well as dessert. The Kobachi that was served during our visit involved greens served with a drizzle of light soya sauce; the greens were rather crunchy, while the bonito flakes provided an umami flavour to the side dish. Chawanmushi was equally well-executed; smooth and custardy, one could taste the light, savoury notes of the dashi broth used in its preparation, while it includes a chunk of tender, juicy chicken as well as sliced mushroom to add some meatiness and earthiness to the steamed egg.
(Teppan Garlic Rice – Beef)
One Japanese dish that we cannot get enough of is the Teppan Garlic Rice; a number of variants of this dish are being offered here, from one that features Shiso to one that comes with seafood. We opted for the beef option; a choice that we were glad to have made. Taking our first spoonfuls of the rice, we noticed that the flavours were pretty subtle for the first few mouthfuls; the savoury notes of the fried rice were evident, but not overwhelming despite involving garlic. The rice was also notably pearly, though not glistening in excessive oil. Garlic chips atop the rice helped to enhance the flavours further, while the flavours of the garlic fried rice slowly build up with every spoonful as it gets more flavourful with the aroma of garlic. The small chunks of teppanyaki beef round off the experience perfectly. Coming with marbled fats, the beef was melt-in-the-mouth tender, coating the lips with its juiciness and aroma; an experience usually only associated with Yakiniku that was on-point and really well-executed, totally addictive. No doubt a dish that surpassed our initial expectations, and extremely value-for-money at S$18 before service charge and GST.
(Salmon & Negitoro Don)
We also went for the Salmon & Negitoro Don; yet another stellar dish that is pretty comforting without being in-the-face. We liked how the rice was served at room temperature; a rather comfortable temperature which helps to maintain the freshness and texture of the fish without warming it up substantially. The vinegared rice was also well-flavored, carrying a light hint of sweetness without being excessively flavourful with a sourish tang; a problem that is often encountered with more casual, mass-market Japanese establishments serving up Chirashi Don. The slices of salmon were fresh, though the bigger star of the dish was possibly the Negitoro; very finely chopped minced tuna which carried a consistent texture being fibrous yet without much of a need to chew, whilst having a clean finish without any hint of fishiness. The wasabi provided was not shy at all with its kick of numbness, sending shockwaves to the head even in small amounts; pretty refreshing, though we did feel the addition of the sous-vide was a little out of place in this dish despite being something good-to-have. Given its stellar quality and finesse especially in the execution of the rice and Negitoro, we felt that the Salmon and Negitoro was a real steal at S$12 before service charge and GST; something which would have cost way higher at other establishments at varying levels of quality.
The dessert served during our visit was a Sakura Ice-Cream; a sweet treat that was smooth and creamy, yet carried berry-esque floral notes that ended off the meal at Teppan Kappou Kenji on a good note.
Placing an emphasis on the produce used in their fare, the food at Teppan Kappou Kenji is no doubt a stunner in its own right. Sure; the food here lacks the snazziness of modern and hipster Japanese joints, and the flavours are certainly not loud and in-the-face, but it is that subtlety of the cuisine and the refined execution that takes the cake here — a true Japanese establishment that places an emphasis on classic tested and proven recipes that are brought to the patrons for an authentic experience. The Express Set Lunch is also extremely affordable and value-for-money, considering the food quality here. Service was also warm and hospitable; the staff ensuring that everything was well taken care of whilst also patient in explaining some of their dishes in further detail as they come to the table — also proactive in getting feedback on the food. With such detail placed into the entire dining experience here, Teppan Kappo Kenji is a place we would seriously recommend for an affordable Japanese Teppanyaki experience in a casual, yet authentic setting; somewhere which we would revisit again for intimate catch-ups without breaking the bank especially for their Express Set Lunch options.
Teppan Kappou Kenji
99 Tanjong Pagar Road