Dinner @ Ippoh Tempura Bar

January 7, 2017 in Japanese by thywhaleliciousfay

My friend and I were to meet for dinner, and it was coincidental that I got to know about newly opened Ippoh Tempura Bar through instagram. Upcoming meet up? New restaurant to check out? Perfect. Keke.

Reservation was made for a weekday dinner. However, I am not sure if it was my mobile phone or their telephone that’s spoiled but the lady on the other end (of the line) had much difficulty taking down my details. Had to repeat myself cause she couldn’t hear me properly. It was slightly frustrating cause I called during office hours and was trying to make the call short. Ha.

Did some research before my friend and I were to meet for dinner and got to learn that Ippoh Tempura Bar is an overseas outpost by Ippoh Tempura, a family-owned tempura restaurant which started in Osaka. Fifth generation master chef Masaru Seki was in town during the restaurant opening, serving some very lucky customers. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them. Sob.

And during the day of our dinner, I was thankful my friend drove cause Ippoh Tempura Bar was located at Dempsey. But if one is taking the public transport, it’s good news that they are not located way inside; Walking in from the main road is still manageable.

Located at COMO Dempsey, Ippoh Tempura Bar occupied a fairly small space. The counter was just 3 steps from the restaurant’s entrance with some some tables (on the far left) for bigger groups. It’s of no surprise that I requested for counter seats since I enjoy watching chef in action. Keke. And I liked that the set up at Ippoh Tempura Bar was similar to the tempura restaurants which I dined in Japan.

And from the menu, I ordered the $200 dinner course comprised of:-

1) Welcome tea, Complimentary (above)

2) Amuse (above) – Sesame tofu topped with sea urchin.

3) Assorted appetiser (trio of chef’s special) with options of:-

(A) Yam, beef, tomato (above)

(B) Yam, eel, tomato (above) – Was given the alternative of shio-marinated eel when I mentioned to the staff that I don’t take beef.

4) Assorted sashimi (above) – There should be a variety of 3 types, but I guess they didn’t have enough that night since we were only served 2 (tuna and squid). And I didn’t like the tuna. It was served too cold. My friend suspected it wasn’t that fresh too.


5) 11 pieces of tempura (above), comprised of:-

(A) Tempura #1, #2 (above) – Prawns. One wrapped with shiso leaf and seaweed, and the other plain. I learnt from my trip to Japan that a beautifully fried prawn would have its centre still slightly raw. So with every bite at Ippoh Tempura Bar, I would ‘study’ my half-eaten prawn. However, both prawns were thoroughly cooked. And I couldn’t help but notice the prawns were awfully thin too.

(B) Tempura #3 (above) – Scallop.

(C)Tempura #4 (above) – Shrimp toast. I liked this, although it would tasted better if the toast was pulled out from the oil a little earlier.

(D) Tempura #5 (above) – Cuttlefish wrpped with shiso leaf.

(E) Tempura #6 (above) – Onion.

(F) Tempura #7 – Sweet potato.

(G) Tempura #8 – Mushroom. I got a little flustered when the chef said “Japanese mushroom” as he placed it onto my plate. He didn’t use the word ‘Japanese’ when he introduced the previous ingredients. Does that mean the mushroom is the only vegetable that’s flown in from Japan? I hope not.

(H) Tempura #9 – Asparagus.

(I) Tempura #10 (above) – Prawn.

(J) Tempura #11 – White fish.

6) Uni, caviar and wasabi on fried seaweed (above) – Unfortunately, this failed to impress. The fried seaweed wasn’t as crispy as I expected it to. And oddly, it couldn’t hold well on its own. I had to use 3 (or was it 4) fingers when I picked it up.


7) Kakiage on rice with shaved truffle (above) – Served with miso soup. And this was what’s served for the $200 dinner course. However, I was disappointed with the small amount of shaved truffle which was insufficient to enhance the dish. I know truffles ain’t cheap, but restaurants should aim at getting their dish right if they wish to serve it. My friend went for the $180 course and was allowed to choose between tendon and tencha.

8) Dessert (above) – Melon and strawberry.

Manju (traditional Japanese confection) was stated on the menu, but we didn’t get any. Instead, ours was replaced with a vegetable tempura. Not very nice. The staff should have at least informed us of the change up front.

Having recently eaten at Michelin-starred tempura restaurants in Japan, I wasn’t impressed with the tempura at Ippoh Tempura Bar. Though it may be a different story if it was master chef Seki san that’s behind the stove.

That night, our tempura weren’t as crisp. And I thought it was weird that the ‘tempura skin’ easily detached from the meat/vegetable. Dinner felt rushed too. Before my friend and I even touched the piece on our plate, we were served the next. And this observation was based on my friend’s pace who was eating without taking any photographs of the food.

Would I recommend Ippoh Tempura Bar? Well… No. But if one insists, one should come during lunch instead. Lunch menu is almost similar to dinner’s, but at half of dinner’s price. Alternatively, do check their Facebook page for updates as they do mention when master chef Seki san is in.

And rest assured one would leave smelling as good as one arrived. =)

17B Dempsey Road, Singapore
1800 304 3388, Facebook
Overall: 7
Opening hours:-
Food/Beverage: 7
Mon – Sun : 12:00 – 14:30
Ambience: 7
Mon – Thu, Sun : 18:00 – 21:30
Value: 6
Fri – Sat : 18:00 – 22:30
Service: 7