Of late we haven't had very good experiences with raw oysters. From the very insipid ones at The Oyster and Crab Restaurant, to the downright inedible ones at Todai, they all seemed to be lacking the lovely, briny liquor and bright freshness of a good oyster. It could be due to them doing the unthinkable - rinsing off the oysters to get rid of bits of shell as a result of poor shucking techniques.
Thankfully, we found Tanuki, and my faith in oysters has been restored. Opened by the people behind Standing Sushi Bar, Tanuki has been drawing the crowds with its awesome Happy Hour promotion - between 5 to 8 pm, martinis are $10, plus with every drink order, you're entitled to order up to 12 oysters at $1 each.
The oysters were, for me, the perfect size. Slightly plump but not too big that it got too rich and cloying. They were very well shucked, without any bits of shell, and the oysters were cut completely free from the shell so you can just slurp it down in one. Best part? Loads of lovely oyster liquor with each one.
Being part of a sushi group means they have pretty good raw fish too. The Salmon Don comes with fresh salmon sashimi, salmon belly, aburi salmon and ikura (salmon roe). I would have liked the aburi salmon to have been aburi-ed a bit more, but this was pretty good and the ikura in particular was full of flavour.
Their appetisers were a bit touch and go though. The Tanuki balls - beef carpaccio draped over deep fried potato and cheese balls - were very good. The potato balls were light and creamy, with a nice hit of cheese in the centre.
The Edamame spring rolls sounded better than they tasted. The filling was mashed edamame, bringing to mind less than appetising thoughts of English mushy peas.
I quite liked the American roll, their version of a cheeseburger sushi with sliced beef and cheese rolled with sushi rice and deep fried, but A wasn't too keen. Until I told him to add the vinaigrette from the oysters to mimic the flavour of relish - the hit of acid really prevented the dish from being too rich.
Clearly we need to try our luck with the food items, but I'm coming back here any chance I get for their Happy Hour oysters.
Great value for the good quality oysters. Everything else is kind of average. But still, definitely a place we'll revisit.
181 Orchard Road
#02-03 Orchard Central
(No reservations for Happy Hour)