Tanuki Raw Bar

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I still remember the rather noisy night at Tanuki bar. Dining alfresco at Orchard Central in the night wasn’t that pleasant with the crazy chattering of birds but it sure did not stop the casual bar from going full house. It is easily one of the busiest, liveliest dining place in Orchard Central. There was supposedly a second visit to Tanuki but unfortunately I went a little late and the long queue seemed to be doing no justice to my grumbling tummy.

Decor-wise, you might notice that it is no usual Japanese restaurant or bar. Cement floor, red swanky chairs, and a hip modern bar counter – definitely more than the usual Japanese eatery.

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I didn’t come knowing what’s offered on their menu (except that it’s Japanese food) so boy was I surprised to spot some truffle fries in the Trio of Fries ($8). Truffle fries have become quite a mandatory thing be it for myself or my dining partners so we didn’t miss out on it. This time it came in a small basket of 3 types of crisps – truffle fries, spam fries and lotus root. If only the portion could be bigger.

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Sashimi Salad ($15)

The Godfather Don ($15) comes with a rice bowl, miso soup and salad but of course the spotlight would be on its chicken with pomodoro sauce and cheese. Having an Italian-based tomato sauce heavily drizzled over Japanese-styled chicken was something really new. And it seems to be working well for this don. Perhaps the seasoning of the pomodoro sauce could be further adjusted so that it would complement its counterpart better.

Moving on to Tanuki Rolls, which they claim (on the menu) to be sushi but not exactly sushi either…. the Little Pig ($10) was a refreshing dish, much thanks to the shredded green apple slices in the sushi’s core, together with some bacon. The succinct apple flavor was there, even outshining the bacon. What’s better still is the crispy covering which gave crisp to the roll altogether.

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Next, meet the Caveman ($10) – sushi roll with minced raw Australian beef with wasabi mayo. I thought the beef was a tad too raw for my liking though.

Now, meet the recommended and all-time favorite Rockstar ($10) [pictured at the top of my post] – seared salmon enclosing a mozarella ball, topped with mentaiko sauce. When the salmon (seared very nicely) was eaten together with crispy, fried mozarella, the subtle crunch and combined textures were superb. Never thought I would find a gem here.

I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the concept at Tanuki. Incorporating western elements into the conventional sushi and don is interesting and certainly very likable for a person who loves her western food like me. However, I felt greatly disappointed by their service here. Unusually long waits to call for waiters were irritable.

PS I’m not too much of an oyster eater but I heard their oysters are good.

181 Orchard Road

#02-03 Orchard Central

11.30am – 10.30pm daily

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