Review of Tendon Kohaku @ Circular Road

Review of Tendon Kohaku @ Circular Road

Review of Tendon Kohaku @ Circular Road

Tendon Kohaku

My friend suggested that we meet here for dinner in a get together session. According to that friend, this shop served “awesome stuff” and is “quite good” and has another branch over at Suntec City.

Thinking about it, I do remember a long queue over at Suntec over some Japanese restaurant the last time I was there.

I did a little of digging online and I found out that it is a shop selling Tendon –  An abbreviation of tempura and donburi (or tempura served over a bowl of rice). The highlight is apparently their spicy Tendon at SGD 15 with the option of upgrading it to a set (an additional bowl of udon) for a total of SGD 19.50.

Having done my “research” and having left my office at Tanjong Pagar late, I arrived at Tendon Kohaku at 7pm despite having arranged to meet earlier at 6.30pm. Naturally, I excused my lateness by reason of the slow train and the human mass down at the station. 

The restaurant will not seat you until your entire party is here so my poor friends had to wait for me outside.

Dining experience at Tendon Kohaku

Thankfully, when I arrived, there was a table ready for the three of us. We were seated and promptly waited on. I decided to go with the spicy Tendon with a udon thrown in (Again, one of the things I go through to ensure that you my viewers get the best and most comprehensive review). I also got myself a bottle of Sapporo at SGD6 a bottle which is rather decent a price but not the cheapest around.

The food came pretty fast with my bowl of udon served first with a generous serving of crispy crumbs over my bowl of noodles:


First up: Udon served with a generous serving of crispy crumbs

While the weather was great for having a bowl of piping hot udon, the udon was nothing special. No mind blowing moment.

Then came the long awaited mains:


Just in case you ever want to look knowledgeable or just want to have some small talk over an awkward lunch, let your dining companion know that the word tempura is in fact derived from the latin word “Tempora” and in fact is a European creation – Check out my post explaining this oddity here.

In terms of portion, the bowl was generous with many pieces of tempura served over a generous serving of rice grown in Hokkaido. The tempura was covered in their special sweet and spicy sauce. You can will likely bite into more unique pieces such as fried chicken tempura and baby corn tempura which makes this dish somewhat unique compared to the typical tempura dishes you find in other restaurants. 

It was spicy. Really spicy. Well, at least for me it was slightly above my comfort level.

You can dub down the heat by dipping it into more of their special sauce (which thankfully is in its original form without any heat). Phewww…

Review of Tendon

My impression was that this dish was just average.

While the tempura was crispy, the fact that it was served over a steaming bowl of rice made it somewhat soggy or damp lessening the crisp factor. It would have been better if the tempura as served separately (but in so doing it would not be called a “tendon”). But… substance over form, right? I rather an excellent bowl of rice served with extra crispy tempura on the side than a bowl of rice with soggy or damp tempura.

Tendon Kohaku, if you are reading this, why not offer your consumers the choice of serving it separately or together in a bowl. I think it would be even faster serving the dish separately than having to arrange the pieces nicely on a bowl each time.

Further, the udon appears to be out of place.

One, it is likely the case that you will still be finishing up your udon when the mains are served. This will result in a gap between the time you are served and the time you start digging into on your main. The longer the tempura sits on your rice, the more likely it will end being soggy or wet detracting from the overall experience.

Two, the udon is not that spectacular anyway. If it’s not good, why bother putting it on the menu? The rice bowl should be more less filling enough.

Sorry, despite all the good reviews on Google (4.2 out of 5), I will be rating this a zero star (it is neither worthy of a special trip down nor a detour and it also not good for its category). I think many would agree.

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