284 – On The Tendon Kohaku Experience

It’s been a while since I last posted here, so let me kick things off by sharing a full review of a restaurant I’ve repeatedly returned to – Tendon Kohaku!

This Japanese joint with overseas branches in Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines specializes in tendon (tempura donburi) or battered shrimp served on top of rice. The UCC Group helmed by Hubert Young is responsible for bringing the brand to the Philippines. It currently has three Philippine branches so far: Uptown Mall and Forbes Town Center both in Taguig, and Vertis North in Quezon City. The latter branch is incidentally the most accessible to me, and is the same branch I frequent when I have the chance.

Tendon Kohaku would often have a new item on its menu, which I would usually order when I visit. But most of the time, I stick with the best-selling Kohaku Tendon that I have featured in a number of posts. I have also tried different tendon bowls such as the all-protein Shrimp Tendon and the Vegetable Tendon for those swearing off meat. The combination of crispy tempura, steaming rice, and savory sauce – that comes in either Original or Spicy – is definitely unbeatable.

During a recent visit, I saw a number of new items in the joint’s menu. The Unagi Tendon caught my attention even though it was priced higher than most meals there. I understood why, since unagi (freshwater eel) is typically imported from Japan and is a summer delicacy there. Unagi also contained high amounts of protein, vitamin A, and calcium — which made it a nutritious, albeit expensive, treat.

I asked for an order of the Unagi Tendon with a side order of Egg Roll with Mentaiko. The Unagi Tendon came with a bowl of miso soup and picked daikon radish. Meanwhile, the egg roll was a simple dish that consisted of savory tamago (egg omelette) with spring onions and mentaiko (Alaskan pollock roe) mayonnaise on top. Tendon Kohaku offered unlimited hot or cold hojicha (roasted green tea) so I took the cold option.

Proteins made up the majority of the rice bowl. It contained two pieces each of shrimp tempura and green bean tempura. It also had a shiitake mushroom tempura and chicken breast tempura placed in front of the shrimp and beans. A long piece of unagi tempura, in reality an eel fillet sliced lengthwise, capped off everything. I initially throught that the unagi tempura was an entire eel in itself – with head, tail, and all!

I first tried out the Egg Roll with Mentaiko so that my stomach at least contained something. It tasted rather mild with the mentaiko contributing a rich, salty sharpness that brightened the egg. The green onion topping didn’t do much, but the daikon cut through the mentaiko‘s taste and added a refreshing zing.

I then proceeded with the tempura rice bowl after trying out the appetizer. The hefty unagi tempura was crispy on the outside yet moist on the inside. Tendon Kohaku‘s frying process retained the mild taste of the fish with nary a trace of the oil. It did not have the small fish bones that made unagi a chore to eat. The eel fillet alone was sufficient for the entire bowl of rice!

The shrimp tempura was likewise up to par, with the sauce contributing a slightly savory taste to offset the shrimp’s sweetness. The green beans and shiitake mushroom tempura were exceptional, though I found them lacking with only one to two pieces. The chicken breast tempura, while a good source of protein, appeared to be rather overcooked and tough.

The miso soup neutralized the oily taste of the tempura whilst the pickled daikon cleansed the palate. The cold hojicha I ordered washed everything down. Ordering the cold tea provided a refreshing break from my usual practice of ordering the hot variant.

All in all, the Unagi Tendon was the best meal I tried so far from Tendon Kohaku. This tendon bowl definitely satisfied (and satiated) me despite the high price.

Thus ends my full post on Tendon Kohaku. Head over to its official website, Facebook page, and Instagram profile to learn more.

Until the next review, bon appetit and stay safe!

Tendon Kohaku
Unit #JT-05, Japantown
4/F Vertis North Mall, North Avenue
Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City 1105


15 thoughts on “284 – On The Tendon Kohaku Experience

  1. I hope they open more branches! Vertis North is kinda unaccessible to public transpo, right? or did they improved it now? 😬

    • Yes! And more branches in the north metro, too!

      Well, it is sort of inaccessible via public transportation – capitalizing on its proximity to Trinoma. But sadly, no public vehicles stop by the place still (unless you take a cab). 😦

  2. I’ve seen this resto a couple of times while in KL, but never got to try it. Maybe after this latest lockdown is over 😛 (but then Malaysia seems to be in indefinite lockdown. Sigh.)

    • I just hope it ends though. 😦 Just read the news about your PM extending the lockdown — until daily cases fall below 4,000. Hope things turn out well for you over there.

  3. Hello! Haven’t seen you around for a long while. Was browsing through some of my old posts and I saw your comments.
    Have not had Japanese for a long while. Lockdown here, no dining in and we avoid going out as far as we can. It has dragged on for so long – hopefully, things will get better soon. Take care there, God bless.

    • Not exactly though 😦 From what I’ve seen during that visit, nasa baba siya.

      Pero hindi naman entirely lonely doon. Aside from Tendon Kohaku, bukas pa sina CoCo Ichibanya and Botejyu 😁

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