Kogane Yama – Customisable Crispy Tendon Bowls, Layered Matcha Latte At Bugis Junction
Another Tendon shop! Tendon, short for Tempura Donburi, has become one of Singapore’s most trendy food items. There should be no less than 10 specialty Tendon shops in Singapore which sprouted in the last year or two.
That one NEW Tendon shop to look out for is Kogane Yama, located on Level 2 of Bugis Junction.
Imagine my surprise when I found out that this was conceptualised by the team who introduced popular Korean fried chicken chain Chir Chir Fusion Chicken Factory and customisable meat stews outfit Masizzim to Singapore.
From Korean to Japanese. Can or not?
The team wanted to offer something delicious yet customisable at the same time, as they realised diners may have different preferences to their favourite bowl.
Therefore, the creation of “Kogane Yama”, which means “Golden Mountain”. This also reflects how the Tendon bowls are arranged, with crispy golden pieces of tempura stacked up on rice like a mountain.
The main question I had were: How do they differentiate themselves from other Tendon shops in Singapore? I found some 8 differences.
1. Customise your own tendon bowl
This should be the only Tendon shop in Singapore that allows diners to customise their own tendon bowl, from the key ingredients (chicken, prawn, vegetable or mixed), to base (rice, soba, udon), sauces (choice of four), and add-ons of chawanmushi and miso soup.
2. Crunchy coating
If you are looking for the fair, thin-coated type of tempura, this is no quite so.
You would find that the tempura looked more yellowish-golden, and upon eating would have a moderate *crunch*, crispier than the average brand – which might have turned soggy sometimes due to the drizzling of the sauces (or otherwise).
That is because premium Japanese tempura flour with fish seasoning is used to create that crispiness.
Bite into the shiso leaf and seaweed while they are hot to know what I am talking about.
3. Sesame oil aroma
The one thing that hit me first when the bowl was presented on the table was its distinctive nutty aroma, as each piece is deep-fried in a soybean and sesame oil blend.
4. (Almost) everything in a bowl
If you order a Mixed Bowl ($15.80), you get almost everything in that bowl.
Other than the ‘staples’ of crispy tempura prawns and chicken fillet, some of the other seldom-seen ingredients include shiitake and enoki mushrooms, sweet potato, seaweed (love this), shiso leaf, and the highlight to top it all up… eboki prawn roe.
Another interesting point I noted was that the prawn heads were separately fried from the body – so one part would be crunchy, while the body still juicy beneath the batter.
5. Four types of sauces
There are four types of tentsuyu sauces to choose from, which is a sweet-and-savoury blend of garlic, sesame oil and premium Japanese shoyu. I would recommend this sauce if you want to savour the original freshness of taste of the pieces.
6. Three levels of spiciness
Instead of one, you get a choice of three levels of spiciness, with the sauce created from bird’s eye chilli and Capsaicin.
I may not be the best gauge of fieriness, but the Level 3 was actually just nice for me. And I thought anything less didn’t have that shiok kick.
7. Soba or Udon
Not a rice lover? No problem. Kogane Yama provides two other options of soba or udon cooked in flavourful dashi broth.
Great that the tempura pieces were served separately on another plate, so that they stay crisp.
The udon was the thinner type so that you won’t feel that heavy after the meal.
Add on $2 to create a set meal which includes chawanmushi and miso soup. Quite value for the money.
End the meal with an ice-cold refreshing drink. If you know me, I would recommend the Matcha Latte ($4.80), which also comes with more fanciful versions of chocolate ($5.80) and Azuki red bean ($6.80).
If these drinks are too ‘filling’ then the Honey Yuja ($5.80) and Honey Ume Soda ($5.80) could help cleanse some of that oily feeling after fried food.
Kogane Yama with its customisable Tendon bowls and crispy tempura should be able to appeal to young diners.
It just needs more visibility to attract the Bugis crowd as it is hidden in a corner. Look out for Chir Chir when you are there.
Since this is a locally conceptualised brand, I think they can afford to put limits and try out more varied ingredients, or even try some Japanese-Korean sauces – since this is their strength.
Bugis Junction #02-50, 200 Victoria St, Singapore 188021
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Last orders 9.30pm (Sun – Thurs), 11am – 11pm Last orders 10.30pm (Fri – Sat)
* This entry is brought to you in partnership with K Food Holdings.
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