The moment we have all been waiting for – the reopening of Tanuki Raw Bar at Orchard Central. Well.. Not for me because I didn’t quite have a pleasant experience at Tanuki previously. I thought their food was just overhyped by Instagram and just simply… Inconsistent.
When I heard that Tanuki Raw is set to re-open at a new outlet in OC, I’ve decided to give it another chance because there was no way so many people were crazy over this place, I HAD to see if my previous experience was just a one-off suayness.
Tanuki is a mischievous, shape-shifting creature (a racoon dog, to be exact) in the Japanese culture. Keeping true to its brand, Tanuki Raw aims to provide a twist to the other wise usual Japanese dishes through adding American street food influences into these dishes and creating weird combinations that would taste good. Fusion dishes are always exciting for me and let’s see how they fared in their revamped menu this time round.
Relocated to the 4th floor of Orchard Central, it seems like that was where all the “powerhouses” were. Tanuki, Pompompurin, ummm Genki Sushi? Just on its second day of opening, the place was PACKED to the brim. I didn’t even manage to catch much of the shots of its interior because of the crowds and the queue.
But this was definitely a bigger outlet. Sporting the similar island bar design that takes centerstage of the restaurant, Tanuki now also has “sushi bar” like seats and of course, al fresco seating.
We really liked how they have the ceiling to floor glass panes this time round to allow the natural light to seep into the place.
Their range of donuts: Uni donut, Foie Gras Donut and Spicy Salmon Donut; Truffle Carpaccio Roll, Negitoro Herumetto, Salted Duck Egg Char Siew Donburi, Tanuki Kaisen Chirashi Don, and the Fat Samurai – a deep dish PIZZA loaded with duck confit, bacon, prawn, onions, US beef, roasted cabbage and alot more atop of a charcoal crust.
I got to try this Fat Samurai soon.
We were highly recommended the WHAM! Fries ($11.90). Sweet potato fries topped with torched marshmallow, melted guyere, mozzarella, sour cream and a Tanuki spice mix. What a combination. The verdict? I enjoyed it. Even though the sweet taters got a little too soggy towards to the end. But I liked the refreshing sweetness brought on by the marshmallow pieces to the sweet taters, and the occasional cheesy surprise when you get one that’s smeared with cheese. Addictive. Very addictive. Hit me up with a couple of drinks with this.
I chose the Mini Salted Duck Egg Char Siew Sliders ($15.90) because. Salted egg. I was surprised that it came with such thick slices of pork belly. That was not what I expected when I read the words char siew.
Also, that katsu crusted brown butter buns smeared with salted egg sauce.. I could just eat it on its own. My favorite part of the slider has got to be the thick chunks of pork belly with just the right amounts of fats and MMMMMMM. Not a dish I’ll recommend you to go for if you’re on a diet though. I felt quite like a sinner after finish 1 of the buns and the pork belly. ):
Since this Negitoro Herumetto ($14) was a new dish, we decided to give it a go as well. This is like a taco but its shell is made of seaweed. Between the shells, it’s stuffed with spicy fatty tuna, avocado, tomato, onions and lettuce, finally finished off with umami cheese and spring onion.
Nope, didn’t like it. We thought the spring onion overwhelmed the entire dish and frankly, that seaweed taco shell felt a little weird. I would have preferred it to be more savory or something, instead of just being plain bland!
The dish that I was most excited to try was the Uni Donut ($21.90) All the donuts on the menu are a “pull apart” donut made with a blend of Tanuki spice mix, buckwheat and scallions, and then topped accordingly.
This was frankly… A little off. I didn’t quite get the purpose of an onsen egg with the donut, It sounded like a cool idea but everything just didn’t seem to go as well together. As a $21.90 dish, I actually did expect something more substantial within the donut. Afterall, most pull apart donuts I had, have fillings. I really thought there would be more to an otherwise plain donut. But no. It was nothing.
On the the donburi we tried,
I had a not so pleasant Truffle Yakiniku Don experience on my previous visit because the taste of truffle was absent and everything lacked flavor. Hence I was a tad bit hesitant to try their dons again, but I just couldn’t resist the thought of having foie gras.
Foie Gras Truffle Yakiniku ($23)
Oh gosh, this looks amazing. It’s basically an upgrade from the truffle yakiniku with an addition of the foie gras. BUT this time round, I couldnt stop myself from gorging myself with mouthfuls and mouthfuls of this. The rice was drenched with the black garlic brown butter, and they even had little bits of mushrooms within to go with the beef and rice. Gosh. I want another bowl of this NOW. That foie gras was melt in your mouth kinda good. An indulgent, indulgent bowl, but worth every single calorie and cent. It’s the dish that made my night, and it’s the dish that we didn’t manage to leave a single grain behind. GOSH. Need to go back for this.
I think my impression of Tanuki has lifted quite a fair bit from my this experience. WOW that don though. WOW. I liked how their menu seems so interesting with dishes and combinations that we wouldn’t play with in our wildest dreams. Even though it was more misses than hits for the “weird” dishes in my opinion, it doesn’t stop me from wanting to go back because everything else sounds just incredibly exciting and I’m just really curious about how they would actually taste like!
I wish there will be more of such restaurants in Singapore where they go against the conventions and be brave enough to come up with incredulously wacky ideas to make the experience with food exciting again! Yes, I’m not a purist and I’m bored of conventions. Please don’t lecture me thanks!
How to get there?
181 Orchard Road
Daily; 11am to 10pm