No longer near the Ngee Ann City taxi stand where you have to queue in the heat, Sushi Tei has moved to the fifth floor. And to celebrate, Sushi Tei launches a “We Are Back!” promotional menu only at this outlet from 10 May to 31 July 2012.
Items from ‘We are back!” Menu
Zuwai Kani Pitan tofu ($6): Plump Zuwai crab meat, flying fish row and minced century egg atop of organic tofu in a creamy century egg sauce. This is a clear crowd-pleaser. Not at all pungent, there are different types of sweetness from the tofu, crab meat and sauce; there are different textures of grainy roe and smooth tofu. As Hookerlily, my eating companion, was ingesting this dish, she exclaimed, “I feel pretty already! Don’t you, don’t you?” This dish should indubitably be promoted to the permanent menu.
The ingredients–well-seasoned chicken, pork, prawns and turnips–are held in a gyoza dumpling skin by a sprig of chive in this dish, kinachaku age ($6). The accompany chili mayo dip is zingy. A decent, if unmemorable, dish.
Although the red prawn sashimi is on the permenant menu, I group it with Kurenai Roll ($12) because the roll uses sashimi-grade red prawns. The prawns are first breaded and fried because they are rolled up with mango and cucumber in rice, topped with Zuwai crab meat, flying fish roe and salmon roe.
Between the sashimi and Kurenai Roll, the latter is superior. There are nuances of sweetness from the prawn, mayo, crab and mango; while the seaweed–tasting like ocean–brings all the different sweetness together and at the same time, contrasts itself with the sweetness.
Creamy avocado; crunchy, bitter lettuce; crispy cucumber; sweet tamago; and crab meat are wrapped in rice paper in Vietnam Harumaki ($8). Refreshing, light and, unlike Vietnamese roll, very tasty. It makes for an excellent appetizer.
The chasyu don ($9) has one of the best molten-yolk egg I’ve eaten. The in-house sauce soaks through the egg completely, super savory. But the roasted pork, coated with a sauce that is alike to a sweeter, heavier unagi sauce, could be tenderer. (Note: This is the tasting portion and the actual portion would have twice as many ingredients.)
Healthy yuzu yogurt parfait ($7.80) and Matcha Azuki shiratama parfait ($8.80)
All the ice creams are imported from different cities in Japan. Yuzu parfait ($7.80, granola, yogurt and yuzu (citrus) ice cream) is light and refreshing. Hookerlily thought the cornflakes in matcha parfait ($8.80, red beans, shiratama (mochi-like ball) and green tea ice cream) do nothing to enhance the dessert and could be left out. Overall, while we like the ice cream, the parfaits make the desserts excessive after a heavy meal. Luckily, you can just order the ice cream on its own.
Highlights from the a la carte permanent menu
The difference between Kaisen ramen salad ($16) and the very popular sashimi salad (I used to eat this regularly) is, of course, the additional noodles, providing more texture. The seafood is generous and fresh: the actual portion consists two full Zuwai crab legs, two full Hokkaido scallops, two pieces of salmon sashimi and roe.
The salad dressings are legendary, one better than the next: sushi tei dressing (savory with a hint of shallot); wafu dressing (tangy, slightly sourish, appetizing) and sesame dressing (sweet, nutty, very fragrant). We couldn’t decide which our favorite is.
Karel Saikyo Duke ($15), flat fish marinated in salty saikyo-miso, grilled slowly on a low fire as the fish is delicate. While we find it overly salty, the flesh is so soft, melts in your mouth but without being flakey.
When we received the invite for Sushi Tei, we were hesitant to go since we don’t normally write on famous chain restaurants. But Chiobu persuaded us that Sushi Tei is one of the best, if not the best, Japanese chain restaurants. Hookerlily remarked, “Don’t be elitist; that is not the motto of our site.” And we were glad we went for to our pleasant surprise, we really enjoyed the food. Hookerlily said, after the tasting when the PRs were gone, “Wow, I don’t remember Sushi Tei being this good.” While we don’t think that Sushi Tei serves purely “authentic Japanese cuisine,” as written in the press release (Vietnamese spring roll?), who cares? The food is good and the eatery unassuming and modest, that’s all that matters.
391 Orchard Road
#05-30/31 Podium Block Ngee Ann City
(the middle block where Kino is, just take the escalator to the 5th floor.)
T: 6737 8878
Rating: 3.428/5 stars
PS: We thank Irene, Chenyze, Kelly and Sushi Tei for the invited tasting.