Nestled in a quiet corner of the National Design Centre is Tanuki Raw Bar, an eatery serving up Japanese food with a modern twist.
Tanuki reprises its popular lunch deals that garnered it long queues at its Orchard Central outlet, offering its famous donburi rice bowls at (mostly) under $15. The lunch deal is available daily from 11.30am to 3pm.
If you don’t want to walk down for lunch, Tanuki also offers $2 oysters (5-8pm) and free truffle yakiniku sliders with every alcoholic drink (5-7pm), for that extra atas edge on your post-mugging dinners.
Don’t be fooled by the bowl size – the rice bowls are densely filled, and pretty filling!
The signature Truffle Yakiniku rice bowl ($14.90, photo above) did not disappoint – generous slices of tender beef on a bed of well-seasoned rice. The truffle soy sauce was a little on the salty side, but was balanced out by the pickles that came with the rice bowl.
For those looking for something less heavy in flavour, the Black Garlic & Roasted Leek Negitoro rice bowl ($14.90) might be a better choice. The bowl came with a generous serving of chopped raw tuna, peppered with flakes of roasted garlic that did not overwhelm the taste of the fish. One thing to note is that the rice came at room temperature for this bowl – probably due to the raw fish.
In addition, Tanuki does have a vegetarian option on the menu as well – the Spicy Garlic Miso Tofu ($12).
I dropped by Tanuki around 1pm – the place was fairly full of office workers and SMU students, but there was thankfully no shortage of tables. Service was a little slow as the wait staff were pretty busy, but the food came surprisingly quickly.
4/5. While Tanuki is definitely pricier than the average Koufu meal (or even Food Republic meal), it does offer a pretty decent menu, and the food quality is pretty good for the lunch menu prices. Main downsides are the slow(er) service and relative distance from SMU.
How To Get There
Tanuki Raw Bar is situated at the National Design Centre, along Queen Street.
From the Bras Basah MRT, head up via Exit A (the one that opens up to NTUC Income Building and the Admin Building) and walk straight down the road. The walk takes roughly about 5 minutes, and is (unfortunately) not sheltered, for the most part. Just after St Joseph’s Church, you should see a empty-ish courtyard with patio tables and white umbrellas – this is the back of the National Design Centre, and where the entrance to Tanuki is located.
Tanuki Raw Bar
111 Middle Rd, #01-05 National Design Centre, Singapore 188969