Restaurant Review

Teppan by Chef Yonemura - Fusion fizzle

A few dishes at Teppan by Chef Yonemura are flavourful, but others are bizarre

Teppanyaki is known for being a dramatic style of cooking, almost a performance in fact.

The chef cooks on a flat metal griddle in front of diners at a counter, slicing the food on the pan with acrobatic deftness and then setting it aflame - more for effect than enhancing the taste of the offerings.

So it is no surprise that Teppan by Chef Yonemura, the two-week-old teppanyaki restaurant at Resorts World Sentosa, is all about show.

This includes plating every dish, including the amuse bouche and starters, in front of the diner.

The chef brings out the ingredients on a tray, introduces them and then puts them together.

It's a unique serving style and a very good idea because you get to see exactly what goes into the dish. Interested cooks with a good memory - or a handy video-filming function on their smartphone - can even try their hand at the dish later.

Chef Masayasu Yonemura owns a one-Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant in Kyoto serving fusion cuisine.

  • TEPPAN BY CHEF YONEMURA


    Level 1, The Forum at Resorts World Sentosa, 8 Sentosa Gateway, tel: 6577-6688; open: 6 to 10.30pm (Tuesdays to Saturdays). Closed on Sundays and Mondays

    Food: 3/5

    Service: 3/5

    Ambience: 3.5/5

    Price: $168 or $198 a person, without drinks

For Teppan, he keeps to the same style of mixing French and Japanese techniques and ingredients.

The restaurant offers only a five-course set menu at $168 and another eight-course one with more appetisers and desserts at $198.

Both start with a duo of amuse bouche - a Japanese-inspired spring roll of konbu seaweed-flavoured flounder and a piece of persimmon with pesto sauce, and a French-style warm toast topped with mushroom and mussels.

Packed with flavour, both dishes are promising starts to the meal.

They are followed by an equally tasty appetiser of mushroom croquette sitting in a beef stew sauce and topped by a tender piece of A4 wagyu.

It would have been even better if the croquette had a crisp coat of breadcrumbs. Instead, it feels limp and wasted.

I also have mixed reactions to another appetiser comprising two tomatoes, one stuffed with a prawn and the other with abalone. The prawn, chilled and sweet, goes well with the fresh tomato, but the abalone is too tough and the herbal green sauce on it overpowers the delicate flavour of the tomato.

Then there are the fused dishes that are probably intended to be creative, but turn out unnecessarily odd.

One is the clam and lobster bouillabaisse, that is made with a dashi stock, but also has Gruyere cheese and croutons added to it.

The result of bouillabaisse-meets-French onion soup is palatable, but nowhere as good as either of the classic soups.

The teppan fried rice, which ends the savoury part of the meal, is even more bizarre - it includes fusilli pasta.

It's the first time I've eaten the cockscrew-shaped pasta fried, let alone with rice.

And it does not work because the al dente pasta and the soft rice have absolutely no chemistry together and the fusion feels forced.

The cubed pieces of house-cured bacon in the dish are good though.

As for the star of the meal, the teppanyaki beef, I would have liked the A4 grade Tajima wagyu more if the chef had picked a sirloin or ribeye instead of tenderloin.

Tenderloin not only has a monotonous, tender texture that is boring, but it is also bland in taste.

What diners will enjoy though are the dramatic flames that accompany the cooking.

With lights dimmed and the entire griddle set aflame, it is quite a spectacle - for which the smartphone can be whipped out again.

This is also where I have to warn prospective diners against wearing anything flammable on their body. Like hairspray.

•Follow Wong Ah Yoke on Twitter @STahyoke and Instagram @wongahyoke

•The Sunday Times paid for its meals at the eateries reviewed here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 24, 2017, with the headline 'Fusion fizzle'. Print Edition | Subscribe