Teppei Japanese (Orchid Hotel) Review - The Raved-About Kaisendon

If you have ever passed Orchid Hotel during lunchtime, you would not miss the queues. Apart from the queue for the ramen, there's also the other queue - for Teppei Syokudo. 

Teppei Japanese, run by Chef Teppei Yamashita, is known for its famously long (3-month) waiting list for its omakase dinner menu, which at $80++ is said to be one of the best quality and value-for-money in town. 

Apart from this, it is also known for its Chirashi Kaisen Don. $17.60 during lunch. There's no GST charge, making it one of the lower-end priced sashimi bowls in town. For those who can't trudge to Tanjong Pagar or don't want to brave the lunch time queue, they have takeaway outlets(named Teppei Syokudo) available at Takashimaya and Raffles City basement. Some say that it is better (fresher fish, not overly-marinated etc) to have it here on the spot, prepared by the chef in action himself. I have never tried, but I think you can hardly go wrong coming to the actual place where it first started.  

In the small space at Orchid Hotel, diners sit by the bar, and you can get a pretty good view of the chefs and the kitchen action because of the open-concept kitchen. The perk of eating in Teppei is that you get to see chef in action: cutting, marinating and portioning the chunks of raw sashimi fish into each bowl. 

Chef Yamashita in action
Once you sit down, you are given a menu and asked for your order. They also have other lunch sets (comes with hot/cold green tea and miso soup) ranging from $16.80-$19.90. The Gyu (wagyu beef) Don nearly tempted me with the delicious grilled smells. Nearly. I had to try the Kaisen don.

It was indeed as heard, generous with the sashimi. There is chunks, and I mean REALLY chunky and meaty, pieces of tuna, salmon, white fish, plump scallops and of course, the little orange balls of ikura (salmon roe) that go 'pop' in the mouth.   
This is not a don for people who want the pure unadulterated taste of sashimi. For those who like a little flavour along with the freshness of fish in their bowl, this is good. In fact, it is by far my favourite in town, perhaps because the previous bowls I have tried are not/little marinated. The Teppei Special Sauce marinate gives it the flavour needed that doesn't make one tire of the sashimi so easily. I would have liked the rice more sour with vinegar though. 
For those who are lucky without restriction of lunch hours, come early (11.55am) or at the later end (2pm) to steer clear of the queues. This is one of those places that definitely lives up to raves.

Teppei Japanese 
Orchid Hotel
1 Tras Link
Open Mon-Sat 11.45am-2.30pm; 6.30pm-10.30pm.
Closed Sun
Tel: 6222 7363 (no reservations unless for omakase dinner)

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