Takumi Tokyo @ Marina at Keppel Bay

I had been waiting for Takumi Tokyo @ Marina at Keppel Bay to open and was thrilled at news of their Grand Opening on 15 May 08.
Takumi - Chopstick rest & a drink to start the meal

Takumi Tokyo is the newest addition to the chain of fine dining restaurants run by K's Culinary Planning. This is their first outlet outside of Japan, in addition to the 11 restaurants in Tokyo and Yokohama. The group is focused on creating pearls of gastronomic pleasure by using the finest and freshest ingredients. This philosophy reminded of a phrase that one of my culinary instructors, Samia of Coriander Leaf, always used in class: "A chef cannot rise above his ingredients" (I think she attributed this phrase to another chef but I cannot recall who)

Cat's eye view of the Teppan counter

Takumi Tokyo's culinary focus is on Teppanyaki (food grilled on a hotplate) and Robatayaki (food cooked on a charcoal grill). Though many of the service staff were not Japanese, the 2 chefs were. Mr. Ryutaro Shimonoma is the Teppanyaki Chef and General Manager. He is assisted by Mr Keisuke Uno, Sous-Chef.

We sat at the Teppanyaki counter as we wanted to watch the chefs in action. The disorganized and slow service was a test of patience for 4 hungry girls on a Friday evening. There were quite a few inexperienced staff bumbling around like headless chickens. Thankfully, our orders were taken by a more experienced waiter.

SS, ST and FW selected the "Tokyo Teppan Course" @ S$100. I couldn't resist an opportunity to taste 3 different types of Wagyu so I ordered "The Three Finest Wagyu Course" @ S$250. We also ordered a few sides to share. Our set menus had essentially the same items, the only difference was our main courses.

Takumi's Appetizer - May08
Assorted Seasonal Appetizer Kohada (Gizzard Shard) Sushi, Toro Sashimi, Pickled Vegetables, Salmon wrapped with Daikon & topped with Salmon Roe, Gluten with Miso Paste & Organic Cherry Tomatoes

We started with an appetizer platter that must have also incorporated our assorted sashimi. I didn't like the gluten as it weighed heavily on my stomach, neither was I fond of the pickled vegetables. The salmon roll was enjoyable with the savoury bursts of flavour offered by the salmon roe (ikura). My favourite items were the Toro Sashimi for its fresh and rich flavour and the Kohada sushi (with pickled ginger) for its refreshing taste. The staff proudly told us that the fish were from the world famous Tsukiji fish market. The freshness and quality of the fish comes close to eating sushi/sashimi at a sushi bar just outside Tsukiji market. I wished my sashimi slices were a little thicker and I didn't have to bug the elderly waitress a few times for a saucer to pour my shoyu (soy sauce) into. The organic cherry tomatoes were very sweet too and should not be missed.

Grilled Vegetables @ Takumi
Grilled Eggplant with Soy Sauce & Ginger @ S$15 Grilled Asparagus with Himalayan Rock Salt @ S$15 Charcoal Grilled Large Pepper with Spicy Miso Paste @ S$12

I realised from looking at my pictures that in their confusion and disorganized state, they had forgotten to serve us the seasonal vegetable teppanyaki (part of our set). We were unaware of the slip up at that time as we had ordered various other vegetable dishes and were so hungry that we ate just about everything that was placed before us.

The eggplants were delicious with a distinctively smoky flavour. They went well with the freshly grated ginger. The asparagus spears were delightfully juicy with a hint of saltiness. The green peppers brought tears to the other girls' eyes but I was alright with it as the grilling had reduced the spice factor and helped to enhance the natural sweetness.

Grilled Scamorza Cheese w Balsamic Soy Sauce

Grilled Scamorza Cheese with Balsamic Soy Sauce @ S$22

Scamorza is an Italian stretched curd cheese that is made from cow's milk. It is traditionally made into a money-bag shape and has a smooth, shiny surface. Its rubbery and stringy texture is similar to mozzarella, albeit a drier version. There are 2 versions: (1) the fresh version - reputed to melt better than mozzarella is bland tasting & (2) the smoked version which has a stronger flavour. This dish was excellent as the cheese had an interestingly chewy texture and a smoky flavour which was well-balanced by the balsamic soy.

Mains: FW, ST & SS

FW: Mayura Wagyu Beef @ an additional S$50 ST: Premium Sirloin Steak with Grated Daikon SS: Sautéed Kuro Buta Pork with Rock Salt

Between the 3 of them, the other girls selected all the choices available for their mains in the Tokyo Teppan Course Menu. FW topped up an additional S$50 to get a wagyu steak called Mayura Station from Australia. ST had the Sirloin Steak whilst SS had the sautéed Kuro Buta Pork (Berkshire Pork). The pork was just a little too dry for my liking but it was tasty.

3 Finest Wagyu

3 Finest Wagyu : Mayura Station, AUS Kobe & Security

I'm a Beef-eater (not to be confused with the Beefeaters that stand guard at the Tower of London). :P No matter how many times I flipped through the menu, I kept going back to the page with "The Three Finest Wagyu Course". How often does one get a chance to savour 3 different types of wagyu beef in one sitting? I had to try it out just to satisfy my curiosity though it was burning a major hole in my pocket. *Ouch!!!* I started thinking about all the other things that I was willing to give up for an "almost once in a lifetime opportunity" to get a "horizontal tasting" of the beefy variety. I was reeled in hook, line and sinker when the waiter told me that it was worth a try. I know, I'm an irrational consumer, of the foodie variety.

My favourite was the Mayura Station which I found to be the tastiest and well-textured of the lot. The next time I visit, I will only order the Mayura Station. I thought the AUS Kobe was good too but not as well-rounded in flavour as the Mayura Station. The one I liked least was the Security wagyu, maybe its because the piece I had was just a little too cooked for my liking. I resolved to ask for my beef to be done "rare" when I next visit. It was an interesting experience but truth be told, I had a little bit of a beef overdose. It didn't help that we had already been eating so many other things before the beef arrived.

Fried Garlic RiceFried Garlic Rice

By the time the fried garlic rice was served, I was too stuffed to eat more than a few mouthfuls. It was a pity as the fried rice was excellent! It had the teppan equivalent of "wok hei". I'm definitely going to eat the whole bowl the next time I visit! The other girls finished every grain of rice in their bowls!

Seafood Miso & Grilled Scallop

Seafood Miso Soup (part of the set) & Grilled Hokkaido Scallop with "Shottsuru" & Yuzu @ S$30

The seafood miso soup was very richly flavoured and had to be the best I've had so far in Singapore! Unfortunately, I was too full to eat the crab. I tried a few nibbles and was pleased to find the crab extremely fresh and sweet (yet another Tsukiji import). Though I was pretty stuffed, I had to try a half portion of the scallop which was succulent and well-seasoned with the salty flavour of "shottsuru" (a pungent Japanese fish sauce, similar to Thailand's "nam pla" / Vietnam's "nuoc mam") and refreshing yuzu (Japanese citrus).

Takumi's Dessert - May08

Dessert: Green Tea Ice-Cream on Red Bean Paste, Marinated Kumquats & Fresh Strawberry

They had run out of Goma (Black Sesame) ice cream so we were served Green Tea ice cream instead. It was delicious but not exceptional. I hate red bean so I gave away my coin-sized piece of red bean paste to ST. The marinated kumquats were interestingly sweet but the strawberry stole the show! It was very richly flavoured with the fresh sweetness of a fruit at its prime.
Takumi Tokyo's Chefs
Picture on the right: From left - Ryutaro, Keisuke & Tommy

Here's the culinary team behind the enjoyable dinner. Ryutaro is the Teppanyaki Chef, Keisuke is the Sous-Chef (appetizers, desserts & grilled food) and Tommy cooks the Fried Garlic Rice.

In spite of the service hiccups, we enjoyed the meal because of the quality of the food served. We'll definitely be back but we hope that the service will have improved by that time.

Takumi Tokyo 2 Keppel Bay Vista, Marina at Keppel Bay (it's on the 2nd floor, and is located directly above Privé) Tel: +65 6271-7414 Email: info@takumi-tokyo.com Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Sundays: 5.30pm to 10.30pm Closed on Mondays

PS: Marina at Keppel Bay can be quite a pain to get to if you've not been there before.

1) You have to approach it from Telok Blangah Road in the direction of Keppel Golf Club. 2) After passing Vivocity and Harbourfront (on your left), make a left turn into a small street called Keppel Bay Road, which is located just before Caribbean at Keppel Bay (a luxury condo). 3) Cross the cable bridge (Keppel Bay Bridge) which links the mainland with Keppel Island. 4) You will be able to see the marina on your left as you approach the end of the bridge. 5) Please have their number on hand for emergency directions if you should get lost.