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Japanese Restaurants K kuchiki March 05, 2013 265
Overrated and sub-standard
(Updated: June 27, 2013)
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Since it opened for business not too long ago, Tamoya has gained somewhat of a name for itself. It has received good publicity from the local media, and I have on many an occasion seen for myself the restaurant's bustling lunchtime crowd, which is quite a success for a new and poorly situated restaurant. The food must be first-rate, or so I thought.

But my experience at Tamoya was mediocre at best. We had their Curry Udon and Pork Bukkake Udon, an assortment of tempura, and an onigiri. While I did not like anything in particular, I must credit the restaurant for making their udon noodles so soft, chewy, and silky. The textural difference between their noodles and the packaged ones sitting on supermarket shelves is certainly noticeably vast. But even so, I personally didn't find them very delightful, and would much prefer a firmer, springier texture more reminiscent of perfectly cooked pasta. I also didn't like the thickness, though of course udon noodles are meant to be thick. So this is perhaps just a personal dislike of mine.

I do love Japanese curry, but definitely not with udon. The combination of both, while far from repulsive, was still rather odd for me, and I regretted my choice as soon as I took my first bite. At least with rice, every grain is drenched with and soaks up the gravy, which makes for a satisfying (and texturally, more exciting) meal. But this is not the same with udon, which doesn't soak up the curry like rice. The second order of Pork Bukkake fared better. The broth was a light, somewhat salty soy base and gave flavour to every slurp of udon, while the thin meaty pork slices gave textural contrast. The dish was passable.

The tempura looked amazing but was disappointing, taste-wise. Every one I picked, with the possible exception of the shrimp, was cold, and not crispy at all. They were all vegetable tempuras, presumably prepared earlier in the day and left to turn cold on the counter. Most of them were cold grease and leathery fried batter on the outside, and a far-from-pleasant mush on the inside.

The onigiri was the worst of the lot, and it was a mistake on our part to conclude our meal with it. The exterior was seasoned with what seemed like a spice mix, but the inside was nothing but plain rice. But it wasn't just the lack of flavour or seasoning that bothered us, because we found ourselves forcing down clump after chalk-dry clump of what might very well have been cake flour.

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