Tempura Kohaku is the last restaurant to open in the cluster of seven restaurants in Suntec City known as Eat at Seven. We had visited the place when the first few restaurants started opening (read about our visit to Cafe Nigiro here) and were back again to try the final one, Kohaku Tempura restaurant. We were fortunate to be early as a long queue soon formed. There are clearly many Singapore fans of the tempura rice bowls or tendon.
Tempura Kohaku is located on level 3 of the Suntec City Mall. It is a small restaurant, with seating for only about 30 patrons, which partly explains the queue. The good news is that the turnover is fast. Kohaku Tempura is a specialty restaurant serving only one type of dish (with four minor variants). The preparation and service of food was therefore fast and a typical person should eat and finish within a half hour.
Here is a picture of the Kohaku Tempura menu. They only serve tempura rice bowls. Customers only need make three decisions: (1) vegetable only or mixed tempura that includes seafood, chicken and vegetable pieces; (2) regular or spicy sauce which will be drizzled on the food; and (3) rice bowl only or a set which serves an extra portion of udon. We tried both regular and spicy versions of mixed tempura rice bowl ($15 each) and a spicy set ($19.50).
Eating just deep-fried food can be very dry and boring, so a pot of pickled radish was made available. The radish was very lightly vinegared and was nice to eat by itself and also as a palate cleanser in-between eating the tempura items.
Here is a picture of the udon that was served as part of the set. It was quite a small portion. The taste was quite normal but the texture was good. Very chewy and firm.
These are the tempura rice bowls. Colourful bowls filled with rice and stuffed with a large quantity of tempura items. Another, more shallow bowl was provided so that some of the items can be put aside to get access to the rice below. Be warned – these bowls contain more food than they look.
Here is a close-up view of the tempura bowl. These were the mixed tempura items : two large prawns, a crab stick, squid, pumpkin, corn, sweet potato, vegetables and chicken. Quite a lot of deep-fried items to go with the rice. Unlike normal tempura that comes with some broth to dip in, the tendon was eaten ‘dry’ as it is. Some sauce – either neutral or spicy was drizzled over the food. The spicy was quite spicy, even by Singapore standards. Unless you are keen to spice up your lunch, we suggest playing it safe with the regular sauce.
This review is easy to write as there was essentially only just one dish and each of the tempura items were good. The prawns, the vegetable items were all delicious. What was unusual was to find a piece of tempura chicken. It was a generous chunk of chicken breast. Slightly dry but still acceptable. It added to the heaviness of the meal.
Overall, we can understand the popularity of Kohaku Tempura in Singapore. $15 is quite a reasonable price for such a substantial and delicious meal. Some bowls of ramen cost more.
Service : 3
Overall Rating: 4 TOPs
Eat At 7
3 Temasek Boulevard
#03-311 Suntec City Mall
Tel: +65 6333 4386
Opening hours : 11am – 10.30pm (Last Order 10pm)
Nearby Stations: Esplanade, Promenade, City Hall