Another day, another new tempura and tendon shop in Singapore.
Tempura Makino is no stranger to the tempura-business, first established in 2006 with over 10 outlets in Japan. (This is not to be confused to shabu shabu restaurant Makino at Paya Lebar Quarter.)
The chain specialises in serving the “Tsudoage” style of tempura – made to order and served one by one. The same flour, dashi and dipping sauces used are all imported from Japan.
One cannot help but notice that it is first opened at Suntec City (the next at VivoCity), with Tendon Kohaku – one of the restaurants which started the tendon trend in Singapore just a short walk away.
(Then again, Suntec City is also big many may not bother to walk to that end.) If you are lost, Tempura Makino is near the Convention Centre side, above H&M/Uniqlo, a few restaurants away from Din Tai Fung.
First impressions: lovely environment with counter, booth and usual restaurant table seating arrangements giving some of those Japanese vibes.
While the restaurant has been marketed as serving tempura starting with $1.50 per piece, nobody is going to order just one Japanese Eggplant or Lotus Root Tempura and walk away, right?
If you add all that up, the total bill may cost quite a bit.
For its ambience and setting, the set prices are still considered reasonable, with sets such as Chicken Tempura ($14), Vegetables Tempura ($13), Prawn & Vegetable Tempura ($16), and Anago & Seafood Tempura ($23).
Of course you can order individual pieces from Prawn ($2.80), Kisu Fish ($2.80), Oyster ($3.80), Squid ($2.80), Anago ($6.80), Scallop ($6.80), to even Uni Ohba ($8.80).
I went straight for the Makino Special Tendon ($25) considered more pricey than the average, but was at least filled with bountiful ingredients of 3 pieces of Prawns, Kisu Fish, Anago, Squid, Maitake, Butternut Pumpkin, French Bean and Egg served on Rice.
The verdict: the batter was light and appetisingly-crisp, more oishii than some of the recent tempura openings. It wasn’t particularly greasy as well.
The one feedback I had was the drizzling of the tendon sauce. A part of the bowl got heavily drenched which made that area tastier, yet some of the tempura pieces soggier.
A large half of the bowl (plus the bottom) ended up being rather plain-tasting.
Is this the best casual tempura restaurant you can find in Singapore?
I would think Kohaku (and some of the others) had a more delicious crunch, though I haven’t had that in a while and cannot vouch for its recent standard.
The item that was the highlight was none other than the Tempura Egg, oozing out with beautiful golden yolk beneath its crispy exterior.
Suntec City Mall #02-305/308/311 Singapore 038983
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)