Tatsuya is our go-to for a low-fuss Japanese meal. We eat from the ala carte menu, which isn't as lengthy as a kaiseki, and we like its competitive pricing, especially in light of the quality of ingredients.
And, for an upscale restaurant renowned for haute Japanese cuisine, Tatsuya has somehow managed to retain a charmingly local flavour. Local chefs abound, in contrast to the predominantly Japanese cast of comparables Hashida and Shinji. Traditional fare is given equal billing as contemporary creations, skewed to local preferences, on its menu. And the warm service makes returning customers feel right at home. Little wonder you see very much more local regulars, mostly of the Tatler-set, at Tatsuya.
A tip to the cold-averse, bring along a sweater, especially if seating at the counter. For some reason, the air-conditioning at Tatsuya is kept at temperatures cold enough to keep the Tsujiki-imports fresh.
My usual options for Sashimi, Maguro ($35) and Shake ($30) lean tuna and salmon respectively, are a fail-safe. Generously sliced, and sparkling fresh, these were impossibly sweet. I liked that the light sprinkle of yuzu zest on a couple of the salmon slices lends a bright citrusy element.
The Hubs' standard order, is the more decadent Chu-Toro ($70 for 5 pcs) and Shake ($30), an indulgent portion of semi-fatty tuna belly.
I prefer my tuna belly in the form of the Chu-Toro Sushi ($30 for 2 slices), garnished with a dab of grated pickled ginger, for pure melt-in-your-mouth goodness.
Though off-the-menu, the Assorted Aburi Sushi ($50 for 3 pieces) is another usual order. First up was the wagyu beef burnished with nori, and imbued with a smoky char.
The Aburi Sweet Prawn was lusciously topped with truffle, heady and aromatic.
The Aburi Scallop was sumptuously layered with a slab of foie gras and finished off with crispy whitebait. Beautifully balanced.
Another favourite of ours is the Shrimp Makimoto ($30), a beautiful roll of fried giant prawn and cucumbers swaddled in nori and vinegar-ed rice, draped with fresh salmon, then blanketed in a creamy mayo, and torched to a melty puddle of gloriousness.
The Pan-Fried Salmon with Butter ($30) was sumptuous, especially with all that glorious butter. A green chilli pepper lent heat.
The Tempura Inaniwa ($25) is like the best Japanese noodles ever. Served cold with a shoyu dipping sauce, the kway teow-like noodles were unbelievably smooth. Feel free to make like a Japanese and slurp as loud as you'd like.
In cool(er) weather, there's the soupy version of Tempura Inaniwa ($25), a light shoyu broth seasoned simply with kelp, which hits squarely on the comfort button.
We usually get another round of Tempura Moriawase ($30) of perfectly battered prawns, sweet potato, brinjal, lady's finger and shitake, to supplement our noodles.
Another signature here is the fantastic Ozaki Beef ($80 for small), a rice bowl laden with scrumptious wagyu beef, a thin omelette and slathered in a creamy sesame beef gravy.
The Hubs loves the pickles, a type of Korean takwang, his favourite childhood pickle, delightfully crunchy, refreshing and a wonderful cleanser for the palate. He usually gets several helpings of these.
Tatsuya Japanese Restaurant
22 Scotts Road
Goodwood Park Hotel
Tel: 6887 4598
open daily from 12noon to 3pm for lunch; 6.30pm to 11pm for dinner