With the sudden popularity of tendon restaurants in Singapore and several openings of tendon restaurants over the past year or so, Tensho is the latest new tendon restaurant in Centrepoint shopping centre just opposite Somerset MRT that opened in autumn last year.
I was excited to try this place as it’s just down the road from me and surprisingly doesn’t have the long queues that you would find in Ginza Tendon Itsuki or Tempura Kohaku but after dining there I now see why it’s not as popular.
They have a larger menu than it’s competitors, offering the usual Mixed Tendon ($14.90) that comes with prawn, fish, an onsen egg and vegetables and Vege Tendon ($13.90) where you get an assortment of vegetables and an onsen egg. But they also have an Ebi Lover Tendon ($19.90) that comes with 4 prawns, an onsen egg and vegetables as well as an Anago Tendon ($18.90) that has sea eel, prawn, an onsen egg and vegetables in it. You can choose either the original or spicy tempura sauce for your tendon and if you don’t fancy eating rice, you can order one of the tempura sets that come with either udon or soba noodles. A-la-carte items are also available including tempura, noodles and other side dishes and you can upsize the rice in your tendon for only $1. Drinks are cheap here at only $1.50 for green tea and $8 for a Sapporo beer.
On arrival at the restaurant we were greeted with a frown by the bored looking waitress and were told to place our order at the till first. I chose to get the Vege Tendon with spicy sauce and my friend got the Mixed Tendon. After paying, you are given a receipt with your table number which you have to find yourself. I didn’t realise that tables were allocated when you order otherwise since the restaurant was practically empty I would have requested to sit a bit further into the restaurant rather than at the side just opposite Cold Storage where a lot of people seem to wait which can be a bit uncomfortable since the restaurant is open plan.
Food took around 15 minutes to arrive even though there was only one other table that had ordered before us, not the usual speediness of a tendon restaurant but not too long to wait for a good tendon. Unfortunately the tendon wasn’t good…
Granted the tempura batter was crunchy and the spicy sauce was actually spicy unlike the one in Tempura Kohaku, but the batter was a bit too hard and oily and my Vege Tendon came with 2 kakiage (mixed vegetable strips made into round fritters and deep fried in tempura batter) which I found to be very heavy and I didn’t enjoy eating them at all. The Vege Tendon also had 4 other types of vegetables but was mostly kakiage and was not what I expected as vegetable tendon would usually have several different types of tempura vegetables. The tempura also didn’t have the delicious taste and fragrance of sesame oil of the Edomae (Edo-era type) tempura that you get in Ginza Tendon Itsuki and the sauce although nice wasn’t as tasty in comparison either.
The original tempura sauce is available on the table if you need to add extra sauce and you can also help yourself to pickles. The pickles however didn’t look too appetising and looked like they had been sitting there half eaten since lunchtime. The tongs on top hadn’t even been cleaned.
All the different types of tendon comes with a bowl of miso soup and a chawanmushi (Japanese egg custard). Both were quite nice and the chawanmushi was silky soft and tasty.
The only real good point of Tensho is that there is no queue and it’s fairly quiet most of the time. You don’t leave smelling of oil, in fact you can’t even smell the cooking although there is an open kitchen. The layout of the restaurant is not the best as there’s not a lot of privacy but you’d probably just go there for a quick meal anyway. Service was quite efficient although not the most friendly but I won’t be back again for the food because frankly it was disappointing and you can find much better elsewhere.
Address: #B1-20 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238843 (Nearest MRT: Somerset)
Tel: 6733 0449
Opening Hours: Sunday – Thursday: 11:30am – 10pm, Friday & Saturday: 11:30am – 10:30pm
Hope you’ve enjoyed my Tensho review, please feel free to leave a comment below with your own review of the restaurant or if you have any questions!