Tanuki Raw at Orchard Central is reopened after an update of the decor. When I first stepped in on a weekday afternoon, I was taken aback by how beautiful it is. A long, dark corridor opens to an enclave of chic, modern clean lines and ceiling-to-floor windows bathing the restaurant with natural light. Huccalyly said, wah you suaku. You say suaku, I say childlike innocence. Hahaha.
The concept is simple and elegant. A westernized version of Japanese one-bowl meal at an affordable price. There is innovation in the East-meets-West dishes, and they appeal to the young, modern, global, trendy tastebuds. They use a lot of truffle oil, and salted egg yolk—favorites of young people.
Huccalyly has been to Tanuki Raw several times before the renovations. She recommends coming during evening happy hours when you can order a cocktail that allows you to get discounted oysters.
The foie gras truffle yakiniku ($23) consists a thick slab of foie gras; some pieces of US black Angus short rib speckled with truffle soy; an onsen egg; and black garlic brown butter over rice. “In my defense,” Huccalyly said, “it was more shiok in my memory. The beef slices were thicker and they were more charred on the surface.”
I understood what she meant, but this bowl is excellent. The foie gras is buttery, cooked perfectly. So are the beef slices, pinkish in the middle with a nice chewy bite. Very juicy.
With the pregnant Huccalyly, we couldn’t order the signature chirashi ($22.90). But she tried it previously and said it was good.
But we did order the golden kani maki ($18.90); a maki of deep-fried softshell crab, fresh snow crab, and crispy mozzarella, topped with salted egg hollandaise. Very smart combination. Although we couldn’t really taste the salted egg, it is very shiok to eat crispy things with carbs.
Because Huccalyly is pregnant and I am fat, we ordered the sweet potato fries with truffle aioli despite our full, round bellies. This dish exemplifies what I mean when I said Tanuki Raw uses trendy, East-meets-West ingredients. Sweet potato, not potato; truffle aioli, not mayo.
It’s supremely tasty. The sweet potato fries are ok on its own but what a genius to combine it with truffle aioli. The sweetness of the carb is mellowed by the aromatic truffle aioli—it’s sweet and salty. An addictive combination.
We were there at about 2.15pm and it was still packed. People really know what is good most of the times. Despite the crowd, the service was attentive and swift. But Huccalyly wasn’t pleased when we were waiting in the queue and the server ignored us and didn’t give an indication that she saw us. I knew what Huccalyly meant, it felt like we were snubbed. The server could have acknowledged us and told us to wait. But I didn’t mind it as much as Huccalyly. People have good and bad days, maybe the server was having a bad day.
We paid $64 for two persons. We will return. I now see what the big fuss is with Tanuki Raw. It understands the trend, it grabs a moment in time, it supplies what the hipsters, youngsters, and whatever-sters want. It’s a genius concept that is carried out wonderfully.
No reservations, and there will be a queue unless you arrive early or late.
Tanuki Raw Singapore
181 Orchard Road, #04-01 Orchard Central, Singapore 238896
11am – 10.30pm
Overall rating: 3.594/5
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.