Teppei Restaurant is helmed by Chef Teppei Yamashita, a true-blue Japanese with a dedication to providing quality Japanese omakase. Hard work, dedication and perseverance were what it took to begin his journey.
If you haven’t already heard of Teppei Restaurant, they offer one of the most unique Japanese cuisines and omakase courses in Singapore, by taking their dishes one step further than your regular Japanese joint—all with unique seasonal sauces that are crafted with care.
It didn’t come easy
Starting out in the F&B scene was not a walk in the park for Chef.
“At the beginning, I had no knowledge.” Chef began cooking at 19 years old, and while many of us can turn to Google or YouTube today, Chef had none of these resources during his time. And so, he needed a teacher.
In hopes of being able to learn as much as possible from his first teacher, a sushi chef, and eventually becoming a great itamae himself, it was important for him to demonstrate the right learning attitude and show others just how eager he was to learn.
“[Eventually], my first teacher recommended me to work in a pufferfish restaurant,” shares Chef. At this, he recalls the hardships he experienced back when he worked at a pufferfish restaurant in Japan.
Being trained in the art of preparing the lethally poisonous pufferfish, or fugu, takes years and years of training, including undertaking an apprenticeship, obtaining a license, and rounds of rigorous tests. As such, every day was a continuous cycle of waking up at 4 am to find the best pufferfish in the market, followed by hustling and cooking throughout the day.
“Even during breaks, we ate standing for just 10 minutes.” On most days, he worked long hours without any rest. However, his commitment to cultivating his passion for cooking never wavered.
After years of perfecting his craft, Chef Yamashita opened the now-renowned Teppei Restaurant in 2011. Although hard to believe, he mentions back then that he “couldn’t speak English.” However, with the guidance of his staff, he slowly began picking up English words, starting with names of vegetables and seafood.
That wonder sauce
You might think, what makes Teppei Restaurant extra special?
“It’s our sauces.”
Chef takes pride in his homemade sauces, and he adjusts them based on the different seasons. For instance, to make his customers feel accustomed to the rainy season, he adds an extra flair of “freshness and fruity” taste to the sauces, elevating them. Chef continuously challenges himself by offering a different flavoured sauce every month, providing variation in this menu.
The second factor that goes into his sauce? Well, he says it’s “love.” It goes without saying that this is what makes Teppei’s customers always come back for more.
Teppei Restaurant’s signature dishes
Teppei Restaurant’s dishes are truly one of a kind. First up, dig into Teppei’s signature omakase dish, a beautiful plated Bluefin Tuna Sashimi on an ice bowl. Imported directly from Nagasaki Prefecture, this dish features both tuna loin and tuna belly which will glide smoothly in your mouth as you taste its freshness. Truly mesmerising.
Next, anticipate the ever delicious Snow Crab Ikura Sushi. Freshly imported from Hokkaido, Chef Yamashita uses every part of the crab, from its brain to meat to even its shell, providing you with a full crab experience you never knew you needed, fully reminiscent of Japan. Its meat is soft and delicate and boasts a sweet, subtle flavour.
Gone are the days of your delectable sweet macarons. Instead, say hello to Teppei Restaurant’s take on a macaron. Known as Japanese Macaron with foie gras and special miso sauce, it leans more towards a savoury rendition. Chef Yamashita pairs this dish with a special, homemade miso sauce that contains ginger, giving it a hint of spiciness and elevating the dish. Where else would you find a dish as remarkable and unique as this?
Another star on the omakase menu is none other than the Red Snapper Carpaccio. Topped with Teppei’s homemade sauce, a unique combination of blood orange juice, soy sauce, sesame and ginger juice, this dish truly brings out the delicate flavours of the Red Snapper, which is imported from Fukuoka, Chef Yamashita’s hometown. Truly a combination you never knew you needed.
10 years of Teppei Restaurant
This year, Teppei Restaurant is proudly celebrating its 10th year anniversary. Despite Teppei’s success, Chef Yamashita is humble and does not consider himself successful yet. He continuously challenges himself to do better.
I do not study much. But I really love cooking… every day, I try to learn by myself.
Chef Yamashita has come a long way from a humble background and his journey is a truly inspiring one. His word of advice to others? “Always try your best.” I couldn’t agree more.