With Aaron Kwok’s eyes, Andy Lau’s nose, and Anderson Cooper’s salt-and-pepper hair, chef-owner Kyota Ishida has quietly opened Teppan Bar Q at Robertson Quay. Although the official address is Unity Street, the teppanyaki restaurant is situated along Muhammad Sultan, taking over the defunct En Dining. I had to walk all around seeking the restaurant for 15 minutes. Sweat.
Kyota-san owns 11 restaurants in total, 9 of which are in Fukuoka, where he’s from; Teppan Bar Q is his second restaurant in Singapore. He will be stationed in Singapore for 6 months in a year, spending the rest of the year in Japan. When he’s not in Singapore, Teppan Bar Q is in good hands of a Singaporean head chef Eric Neo with 40 years of experience, of which 25 were spent as a teppanyaki chef in Japan.
Tonpei Yaki ($22.90, with homemade teriyaki sauce and homemade mayo.)
There are three things that differentiate Teppan Bar Q from other teppanyaki places: Firstly, teppanyaki in Singapore costs either $20 or $200, and Teppan Bar Q fills the mid-range gap with set meals at $60, $80, and $100. A la carte dishes are also available.
Secondly, some dishes combine Japanese ingredients with Spanish cuisine, with a section on the menu devoted to “Teppan Tapas.” This is the second time I’ve come across Japanese-Spanish fusion, the first time at Boruto.
Because it has tapas food, the restaurant is a cross between teppanyaki and izakaya, the third unique point of Teppan Bar Q. The food comes from hotplate, but many a la carte dishes are tapas style, so you can slowly order dish by dish as you sip on sake until you’re full.
I prefer very much the traditional Japanese dishes to the Spanish fusion flavors. For instance, the roasted Hakata mentai ($12.90, above) suffers a bitterness from the roasting.
The octopus Galician style ($13.90, above) is inspired by the traditional Spanish dish, pulpo á feira, of boiled octopus on cachelos (sliced boiled potatoes), seasoned simply with paprika and olive oil. In Teppan Bar Q’s version, the octopus is cooked on the hotplate, not boiled, and the potatoes are from oden (Japanese niang tou foo). Here, I thought the dish is overly refined, losing the peasant-like simplicity of the Spanish flavors.
What I like at the restaurant are the more traditional teppanyaki dishes. Granted that foie gras isn’t a traditional Japanese ingredient (although Japanese have been using it for yakitori for decades), the foie gras and daikon ($26.80, above) is out of the world. Chefs have been trying to pair foie gras with new ingredients, but daikon is best companion I’ve tried. The butteriness of foie gras and sweet juiciness of daikon burst in a supernova of umami. My only complaint is it’s so small!
The US Angus ribeye steak (200g, $58.90) is par excellance although it is expensive. It isn’t those melt-in-your-mouth type; I don’t like that type anyway. It has a nice bounce like fishball, and when the meat finally breaks against your teeth, the juice oozes. A clean bite.
Head chef Eric did a “flying omelette” into fried rice:
I like Japanese food and Spanish food on their own but Japanese-Spanish food doesn’t work quite as well as Japanese-Italian (itameshi) and Japanese-French for me. Luckily, Teppan Bar Q has both Japanese-Spanish and traditional Japanese dishes. It gives a chance for the adventurous to try new things and still be satisfied with the old. Expect to pay about $80/pax if you order a la carte.
Teppan Bar Q Singapore
11 Unity Street, #01-21/22, Robertson Walk, Singapore 237995
T: +65 6235 0629
Overall rating: 3.313/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.