Dinner @ Tanuki Raw

September 11, 2016 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

It was a Sunday after class when my crossfitters asked me to join them for lunch at Tanuki Raw. However, I had to turn them down because I had plans. I wanted to go home to cook. Weekends are my time to have fun in the kitchen. Haha. But when I saw what they had (oh yes, post meal photographs shared on their Facebook accounts), I was filled with regret! They had a dish called ‘sea urchin doughnut’ which sounded very intriguing. Should have joined them lah.

So when my archery mates from university days decided to meet up, I just had to suggest Tanuki Raw. However, I thought I should say up front that my first trip to Tanuki Raw was very disappointing. A second trip was made only because the sea urchin doughnut was not available on my first trip. I am stubborn when it comes to food. Once I ‘locked in’, I just have to have it.

Noting that Tanuki Raw does not accept reservation, we reached by 6.30pm to skip the long queue which forms by 7pm. If one is coming in a big group, Tanuki Raw needed at least 50% attendance. Well, they actually said everyone had to be present. But we managed to be seated when 2 of 5 of us reached, citing that the rest would reach in 5 minutes. Which was true, by the way.

I was glad we were seated at the alfresco area; On the balcony. When I stepped into the restaurant, I could smell what’s being cooked in the kitchen. Tanuki Raw had their kitchen designed as open concept, and the ventilation was not that good.

And from the menu (pages 1, 2), we ordered:-

1) Uncle hiro’s chicken, $10 (above) – Crispy fried boneless chicken marinated with Tanuki’s special recipe, served with spicy brown butter miso dip. This wasn’t good. The batter was doughy and sticky, and was detached from the meat within. My archery mates and I also felt cheated with the portion. When this was placed on our table, we thought the portion was really generous. However, only half of the bucket was filled; The bottom half was just parchment paper. I would prefer a more true in-my-face presentation of food.

2) Truffle sweet potato fries, $10.90 (above) – Thick-cut potato fries, Tanuki spice mix, truffle oil, served with truffle aioli.

3) Negitoro herumetto, $12 (above) – Spicy fatty tuna, avocado, tomato, onions and lettuce stuffed inside house-made crunchy taco shells made of seaweed, topped with umami cheese and spring onion. I liked that the taco shells were made with seaweed. A good option for people like me who try to consume less complex carbohydrates when dining out. Could have used a little more avocado within though.

4) Tanuki aburi maki, $14.90 (above) – Salmon and scallop wrapping a roll of snowcrab, unagi, cucumber and avocado, torched wasabi mayo, Tanuki oko sauce, crispy katsuo flakes and chives.

5) Golden kani maki, $18.90 (above) – A rolled maki with deep-fried house-seasoned soft shell crab, fresh snow crab, cucumber, and crispy mozzarella topped with toasted seaweed and a generous dose of golden salted duck egg hollandaise. Please skip this. This was horrible. The soft shell crab tempura was poorly done and there was barely any meat within. And the sauce didn’t do much to the overall taste of the dish. If one ever feels full from this, it’s only because of the plentiful rice used. The rice was simply not in proportion to the filling. Too much rice.


6) Foie gras donut, $18.90 (above) – Pan-seared foie gras, sauteed mushrooms and sour cream on top of a Tanuki-style pull-apart donut made with a blend of Tanuki’s spice mix, buckwheat and scallions, drizzled with balsamic okonomiyaki sauce and shaved parmesan cheese. And this was ordered on my second visit. I decided to get the foie gras donut instead of the sea urchin donut. And I am glad I made the switch because based on how the dish was served, it would have been very weird to eat sea urchin on bread. And I really enjoyed this. It was a delight to eat the bread, which I suspect Tanuki Raw used the recipe of challah bread. But of course, I didn’t think this dish came together very well. I was enjoying the foie gras and bread separately. But still, one of the better dishes I had at Tanuki Raw.

7) Garlic butter chicken, $16 (above) – Pan-fried chicken cutlet, garlic brown butter teriyaki sauce, mixed mushrooms over Tanuki’s signature rice. My archery mate wasn’t impressed with his choice of rice bowl. I stole a piece of the chicken cutlet, and wasn’t too impressed too. It was just mediocre.

8) Salted duck egg char siew, $18 (above) – Seasoned Japanese nagano pork belly char siew, onsen egg, mixed mushroom, and golden salted duck egg hollandaise over sushi rice. Again, this wasn’t impressive. The colour of the pork belly slices looked non-appetising. My archery mates and I didn’t think the sauce did much for the overall taste. It felt like Tanuki Raw was just trying to ride on the novelty of salted egg sauce.

9) Bara chiraishi, $200 (above) – Cut sashimi including tuna, salmon, scallop, swordfish, white tuna, yellow tail, ikura, tamago, ebiko over Tanuki’s signature rice. This was ordered on my second visit to Tanuki Raw. And with this, I concluded instagram feed was finally accurate for once; That Tanuki Raw’s chiraishi and bara chiraishi were commendable. Just go into instagram and one would see photographs shared of Tanuki Raw were mainly of their sashimi rice bowls.

10) Truffle yakiniku, $18 (above) – Pan seared US black angus short rib, onsen egg, truffle soy sauce over Tanuki’s signature rice. I didn’t get to try this since I don’t take beef. However, my archery mate was happy with his bowl.

Will I recommend Tanuki Raw? Frankly, I wouldn’t. First impression is important and I was very disappointed with my first visit. My archery mates seconded my opinion. So that helped to affirm that I was not being too harsh or critical cause I have a few friends who had been to Tanuki Raw before me and they had an enjoyable dining experience.

However, I was thankful that the doughnut, which I didn’t get to try on my first trip, made me return cause the dishes I had on my second trip (with a colleague) was better and satisfying. The dishes being the foie gras doughnut and bara-chiraishi. Thus, having tried almost something from the different categories on their menu, if one insist on checking out Tanuki Raw, the mentioned 2 dishes must be on one’s order list.

I had wanted to try their deep pan pizza too, but was told by the staff that it was pre-prepared with the beef. So they couldn’t leave out the mashed beef for the non-beef-eater me.

181 Orchard Road, Orchard Central, #04-01, Singapore
Overall: 6
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 6
Mon – Sun : 11:30 – 22:30
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Service: 6