Rockon Tokyo at Tanjong Pagar is an intimate 22-seater Japanese restaurant that serves traditional Kyoto homecooked-style meals with an emphasis on fresh seasonal ingredients without using MSG or preservatives. The type of cuisine is called obanzai in which at least half of the ingredients are supposed to be sourced from the Kyoto area. The cuisine is also usually identified by the heavy usage of vegetables and seafood.
Entering the venue for the first time, the homecooked style becomes palpable. It’s a quaint eatery and bar – and reminded me immediately of those charming family-run restaurants that I encountered during my trips to Japan – the types that have their menus purely in Japanese and cater mostly to locals. In Rockon Tokyo, all staff members are Japanese – adding more to that overseas vibe.
Although Tokyo is part of the name, the cuisine here is decidedly more in keeping with the Kansai region. The name “Rockon” on the other hand, is derived from the Japanese word for 6 – roku.
Rockon Tokyo has a number of dishes in its ala carte menu but for this particular visit, I tried their omakase menu which starts at S$88 and could go higher, depending on addons that one chooses.
I started with the Homemade Cold Tofu – meant as an appetizer but the delightful pudding-like texture it possessed could very well render it to be an adequate ending to the meal as well. The tofu came with three condiments – spicy olive oil, salt and soy sauce. I thought it went better with the soy sauce, as it gave the tofu a bit of a flavor.
Next came the Assorted Obanzai which to me, was the most special dish of the omakase even though it was not necessarily the most premium. Munching on the three mini plates – Hijiki Seaweed, Beans & Tuna Salad, Octopus & Okra Dressed with Japanese Plum Sauce and Lotus Root Ohitashi with Minced Shrimp simply brought back memories of my travels around Japan where I would have similar items as appetizers. These are also courses that one won’t usually find in Japanese restaurants in Singapore.
The Boiled Shogoin Turnip & Chicken Dumpling with Special Lemon Oil served as a palate teaser of sorts, especially with the zing of the lemon oil. The chicken dumpling here possessed a bit of a crunch, brought about by pieces of cartilage mixed within.
As with most omakase these days, you can’t have one without a plate of sashimi regardless of the sub-cuisine. For this instance, we had servings of halibut, tuna and yellow tail.
The next course in the omakase was also fish, albeit cooked. Charcoal-grilled Spanish Mackerel. I love having mackerel in general so it was a delight to find a larger than usual serving of it here. The fish was still juicy despite having been grilled and it came with a most interesting ginger flower which added a bit of spice along with a dash of lemon.
Another highlight that evening was the Deep-fried Crab Dumpling. The dumpling itself came as a cube but was packed with snow crab within. It was delicious and reminded me of the crab cake that one finds in other cuisines but the one at Rockon Tokyo definitely had a greater crab ratio.
The main carbohydrate dish of the omakase was the Tamago Kake Gohan – plain rice topped with egg. However, there is also an option to have a supplementary dish to the omakase. The first supplementary option is the Gout-o ICU (Ikura, Caviar, Uni) – named as such as a pun on how the sheer amount of those three seafood could bring about gout. For the S$60 supplement, there was indeed quite large portion of the 3 types of seafood and I’d recommend sharing it between at least 2 people.
An even more decadent supplement is the Rock On! Tokyo Treasure Box Black Truffle TKG. For an additional S$80, diners get a serving out of a piece of prized black truffle encased in a Louis Vuitton box. The truffle is then topped on a bowl of rice with torched egg white meringue and egg yolk. One also gets some sides including Ikura, Uni, Caviar and Crabmeat with the rice. This was quite heavenly and compared to option 1 (Gout-o ICU), the amount of sea urchin, ikura and caviar here were slightly less but the S$20 extra was compensated for by the crabmeat and truffles.
For a sweet end to the omakase, the home-made Honey Lemon Pudding possessed a torched surface similar to creme brulee but with the distinct zest of the citrusy fruit.
Overall, I thought the omakase at Rockon Tokyo was quite a departure from the ones I often encounter in Singapore. There is a nice sense of quaintness here and the flavors are also noticeably lighter – the only time we encountered soy sauce in this meal was for the first course. For folks who miss Japan and have already tried all the well-known sushi omakase places in town, Rockon Tokyo is sure to bring about that feeling of being in the Land of the Rising Sun.
106 Tanjong Pagar Road
+65 9731 1136