Nestled amongst the rows of Japanese eateries & pubs along the scenic riverscape of Clarke Quay is Kushikatsu Tanaka, a popular chain from Japan specializing in kushikatsu, or deep-fried skewers.
Bustling with Japanese patrons & with mouthwatering scents wafting from its facade, this place exudes the vibrant, homely charms of an Osaka-style Izakaya; and is a wonderful place for gatherings after work, or simply to enjoy a family dinner.
The kushikatsu here are breaded in super-fine panko & freshly-fried to a golden crisp upon order with a special blend of oil with beef lard; resulting in an irresistibly full-bodied & fragrant umami flavor which permeates the ingredients inside. With an addictively crisp exterior & moist juicy interior, it’s hard to simply stop at one!
Priced at $1.00 to $2.50 each, we tried the Shrimp, Beef, Marinated Egg kushikatsu ($2.00 each), as well as the Asparagus ($2.00) & Bacon Cheese ($2.50) (not pictured). Beautifully crisp with a firm, crackling – but not overly thick – breadcrumb crust, the kushikatsus were served piping-hot and were a delightfully crunchy pleasure to bite into! The ingredients within were tender, well-marinated, & not overly greasy you are spared that cloying sensation derived from consuming too much fried food.
Fresh Cabbage & a Special Dipping Sauce (chargeable at $3.00 each refill) are served alongside the fried dishes, helping to enliven their heaviness & act as a palate cleanser. Paired with a glass of ice-cold Beer ($6.00), the freshly-fried skewers here, dipped in slightly sweet, tangy Dipping Sauce, really do hit the spot after a long day at work!
Other than their eponymous kushikatsu, we also tried the Cheese Peiyaki ($8.00), & DIY Potato Salad ($8.00); the former a thin, Japanese-style omelette filled with mozzarella & spring onions, then drizzled generously with sweet teriyaki sauce & mayo, & finally crowned with copious heapings of more spring onions. Sweet, creamy, & indulgently cheesy with the spring onions imparting a refreshing crispiness, the Cheese Peiyaki made for a very enjoyable Izakaya-style snack-food paired with beer.
The DIY Potato Salad, on the other hand, consisted of boiled potatoes, marinated egg, Japanese mayo, mentaiko (cod roe), & bacon bits; and requires the diner to mix & mash the components up, DIY-fashion, to create a salad customized to their tastes.
This was a really fun & engaging dish that was tasty & filling as well! The potatoes were lightly steamed & mildly starchy, and when incorporated with the Japanese mayo, egg, savory bacon bits, as well as piquant mentaiko, yielded a salad that was flavorful & full of textures.
We finished off with the Pan-Fried Beef Cube Steak with Garlic ($14.00), consisting of lightly seared, melt-in-your-mouth-tender Wagyu topped with crispy garlic chips, as well as the Chiritori ($18.00 for beef, $16.00 for pork), a spicy hotpot-style stew that came with well-marbled Wagyu slices & beef intestines piled atop a heap of beansprouts.
After cooking, the beansprouts would wilt & shrink, imparting their sweetness to the stew. We loved how flavorful the stock was: filled with the beefy umami of Wagyu & the fresh sweetness of vegetables. The beef slices, as well as intestines, were wonderfully soft and fatty, with none of that strong gamey flavor. It was my first time trying beef intestine, & I (unexpectedly) found this rendition very enjoyable with the flavor & fatty mouth-feel almost resembling pork belly.
Apart from beer, Kushikatsu Tanaka also offers a dazzling variety of Jim Beam Highballs (from $6.00) to go along with your meal; with interesting, unique flavors ranging from Shiso, to Apple Cider, & Orange Cacao. There’s something for everyone at affordable prices, and it’s relatively child-friendly as well. The friendly, hospitable service, as well as vibrant, lively atmosphere along the picturesque Clarke Quay, keeps one coming back.
Address: Merchants’ Court Clarke Quay (Block A) #01-01B, 3A River Valley Road, Singapore 179020
Opening Hours: Mon to Fri: 5pm – 12am, Sat & Sun: 11am – 12am
Reservations: +65 6258 3789
*Words and Photography by Angel (@angell_ism)