Five Ten Fifteen Twenty, Two Tendon Shops: Tempura TenTen at Raffles City Shopping Centre and Tensho (天勝) at Centrepoint

Riding on the insane popularity of Tendon Ginza Itsuki and Tempura Kohaku, tendon shops have been sprouting. Everybody loves fried food on carbs, right? But while fried food is good, some fried food is better than others, and other fried food really cannot make it. It’s useless to jump onto the bandwagon, you need to be good. But I’m jumping the gun here. These are the tendon shops that we visited:

Tempura Tenten
252 North Bridge Road #B1-13 Raffles City Shopping Centre Singapore 179103
tel: +65 6336 7457

Tenten has taken over the space of Daidokuya at the basement of Raffles City. When we were there at 1pm to find it relatively empty, we knew we were in trouble although we heard positive reviews.

The simple menu offers tendon and ramen. Huccalyly and I both ordered the unagi tendon ($19.80), which doesn’t come with an egg (additional $2). You can change the white rice to truffle rice (additional $1). For the sauce, you can choose between original, spicy, or yuzu pepper; our friendly and helpful server recommended that the original goes best with our unagi tendon.

The unagi tendon comes with a thick slab of unagi, tempura ebi, pumpkin, mushroom, long bean, seaweed and Chicken Patty. The unagi tastes really generic, like those frozen kind you buy at supermarket and heat it up yourself. Nothing else here is satisfying and the rice isn’t fluffy. I guess there is a reason why everywhere else was crowded with lunch crowd but not here.

We paid $51.30 for two persons.

Tensho by MOF
176 Orchard Road, #B1-20 The Centrepoint, Singapore 238843
Tel: +65 6733 0449
Sun-Thu 11.30am-10pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am-10.30pm

You have to give it to MOF. Whenever there is a trend, they pounce on it quickly. Like the Korean fried chicken and bingsu trend (Ssiksin at nex). But they keep jumping from trend to trend that I fear that few of their products are any good.

Case in point. Tensho at Centrepoint first opened in Sept 2016 but has quickly expanded to a few outlets including at United Square (Novena)Waterway Point, Cineleisure, and GSH Plaza. MOF’s Japanese division is headed by Chef Sonoda Kazunori. The restaurant offers only two things: mixed tendon ($14.90) and veg tendon ($13.90). Both sets are served with chawanmushi and miso soup. You can upsize the rice, which comes from Japan, with an additional of $1. You can choose between their handmade original or spicy sauce. Free pickled cabbage on the table. Pretty good value all things included.

The mixed tendon comes with prawn, fish, onsen egg, and vegetables on rice. I like this bowl just slightly better than the one at Tempura Tenten. The ingredients here feel fresher but on the whole, it is still a mediocre bowl. The batter is limp and the rice is too wet. But the sauce is nice.

As a constructive feedback to MOF, I really think they should take a backseat and reconceptualise what they want to achieve. If you want to provide inexpensive, trendy food, then they achieve it. If they want to provide delicious food, food that is outstanding in that particular cuisine, then they need more R&D.

That said, I’ve to compliment the service. There was a chipper and helpful guy who brightened my visit here. It’s nice to meet servers like him. I forgot his face and didn’t take down his name, or I’d have sent an email to MOF to compliment him.

Including a drink, I paid $21 for my set.

You may be interested in…
Katsudon HANAKATSU, Suntec: Only $13.50! Tendon Kohaku Opens a Katsudon Shop Next Door
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka, Japan Food Town, Wisma Atria: Another Tendon Shop in Singapore! Specializing in Sea Eel Tempura Don
Yomoda Soba, Japan Food Town, Wisma Atria: Value-for-Money Soba (That Comes With a Tendon!)
Tonkatsu Anzu, Japan Food Town @ Wisma Atria: Farm-to-Table Deep-Fried Pork Cutlet. Sounds Healthy.

Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.

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