The Hotel Padma is one of those places in Bali that just about everyone knows. After all, they even named a street after it! What is also becoming very well known in Bali is the Padma?s great Japanese restaurant, Tenkai.
Housed in a typical Japanese building, it is sensibly laid out with small clusters of tables in separate little dining areas, three small Teppan Yaki grill bars, and a delightful small Japanese dining room. In the special dining room you sit on the floor in true oriental style, but you cheat by hanging your legs, normally, in the well below the table!
All in all, a very comfortable and intimate environment in which to enjoy better than average Japanese food.
Starters are varied. Shirasu Oroshi is dried whitebait [sprats to some] with grated radish. Ika Shiokara is salty marinated squid, very unusual. I like the Sakana Nanban Zuke [marinated fish fritter and vegetables in a vinaigrette sauce] and Kaki Ponzu [oysters in a citrus sauce].
Of course the most common appetizer in most Japanese restaurants is either Sushi or Sashimi. At Tenkai the sashimi is either Maguro [tuna], Shake [salmon] or Ika [squid]. The Sashimi Moriawase [assorted fresh sashimi] is a good plate for two to share.
Sushi can be ordered separately or as a large platter, Sumire Nigiri Sushi, ten pieces of Nigiri Sushi plus one rolled sushi. Whilst I like all sushi, the tuna [Tekka Jyu] is special. For lovers of Maki, the California Maki [rice roll with avocado, cucumber, flying fish roe and crabmeat] is particularly good.
Soups are usually partaken with the meal, as in most Asian cuisines. Here you can have either a Miso Wan [soy bean paste soup] or a Suimono Wan [clear soup]. For me a bowl of Miso is a standard option with any Japanese meal.
Shabu-Shabu is piles of thinly sliced beef [not the illegal Indonesian variety], cooked at the table in a pot of simmering broth. I prefer the Sukiyaki, in which the beef is combined with many vegetables and cooked with a sweet soy sauce and sake, also at the table. The beef for this dish is not always very tender, but here at Tenkai it is perfect!
Hotategai Batayaki is an interesting dish of sautéed scallops in a soy sauce butter, but I really like the Unagi Kabayaki, grilled eel in sweet soy sauce. Eel is one of those dishes that many people find off-putting, but tastes wonderful!
The usual and very simple Teriyaki dishes come with either chicken [Wakadori Teriyaki], or beef [Gyuniku Teriyaki]. Tempura [various seafood pieces and vegetables deep-fried in a light rice flour batter] is everyone?s favourite. Tempura Moriawase is a mixed dish with prawn, white fish, squid and vegetables, but if you like just prawns best, then order the Ebi Tempura. Ebi Furai are crumbed prawns that have been panfried.
Whatever you do, do not forget your plate of assorted Japanese pickles on the side, Kounomono Moriawase. And what Japanese meal would be complete without a bottle or two of hot sake rice wine.
For Teppan Yaki, sit at one of the small grill bars and order your own combination [beef, chicken, prawns, or a variety of other seafood. Alternatively, select one of Tenkai?s Set Dinners [Rp.330,000 nett, p.p.] for a real banquet you will not forget!
Be warned though, the Teppan Yaki grill bars do not operate on Tuesday or Saturday evenings. On those nights those areas are used for Tenkai?s popular Japanese buffet [Rp. 195,000 nett, p.p., very good value], when quite a large variety of dishes are available for you to select from. The buffet is a great way for newcomers to Japanese food to introduce themselves to the exotic tastes of Japan.
If dining alone, there are many rice and noodle dishes. The Oyako Jyu, chicken and beaten egg simmered in a sweet soy sauce, served on steamed rice, is unusual and very tasty. The Tempura noodle dish can be had with either Udon or Soba noodles [white or buckwheat] combined with prawn and vegetable tempura in a hot Dashi broth.
Desserts aren?t worth worrying about in Japanese restaurants, so have extra appetizers!
All in all, Tenkai provides great Japanese food, in a most convivial environment, with very knowledgeable service. A pleasant evening is assured.