Tanuki Raw reopens at Orchard Central: New menu items

Here's a disclaimer: I've only ever been to Tanuki Raw once. And that was to grab happy hour oysters coupled with a rather dreadful martini. Not the best idea to rally up the weekend. But upon hearing of its recent revival in Orchard Central with a more focused vision on improving the cocktail programme and introducing more quirky fusion dishes. Second chances were due, mostly because friendly face, Howard Lo, had been so convincing over cocktails at his intoxicating venture, The Secret Mermaid.

The Wham Fries ($11.90) was an earnest attempt at selling familiar comfort food updated with a modern flair. Sweet potato fries topped with torched marshmallow, melted gruyere, mozzarella, sour cream and a Tanuki spice mix. Obviously a play on the Southern classic - Pumpkin pie. This moreish dish may take a while for your palates to wrap around, but the queer mix grows on you after its slightly sweetish first impression. Call me weird, but if you avoid the unlit bits of marshmallows, the charred flavor combined with savory cheese and sweet fries are a tad addictive.

Another new addition to the menu (mostly dominated by donburi bowls) is the Fat Samurai ($11) - one ugly looker bugger disguised as a deep dish pizza topped with duck confit, prawns and bacon on charcoal crust. Not quite the looker, this dish took most of us by surprise with its winsome flavors. Intoxicatingly smoky scent of bacon coupled with a sweetish sticky duck confit leaves a rich oleaginous mouthfeel. The slightly spongy charcoal crust, a perfect foil to its rich creamy crown.

Moving on to another curious creation from the kitchen, the Foie Gras Donut ($18.90) was met with mixed feelings. This is one for the strangelets, the somewhat non-agreeable combination of buckwheat donut, panseared foie gras, scallions, sauteed mushrooms, balsamic oknomiyaki sauce and sour cream with a final flourish of parmesan cheese; left me in shambles. I can't say I'm the biggest fan of this unorthodox union but I do appreciate the texture of the pull-apart donut underneath all that jargon. Better luck with the Uni Donut, I hope.

Grievances aside, Tanuki Raw reopens with a markedly different cocktail list. The pared down minimalistic aesthetics complete with wood furnishings and industrial details; providing the perfect ambience to you nursing a couple of cocktails at sundown. The Ginger Whisky Sour ($14) with the likes of Rittenhouse Rye Whisky, homemade ginger syrup and lemon emulating the creative modern cuisine of the establishment whilst stiffer options like The Last Word offer regulars a fresh perspective. Of course, if you're a patron of the Happy Hour which stretches from 5 - 8pm daily, you'll be glad to know that the refreshing Gunpowder (beefeater gin, fresh lime, cane syrup and cayenne pepper) as well as the deeply seductive Infused Old Fashioned (famous grouse whisky, vanilla, coffee and chocolate bitters) are priced at an affordable $10 to accompany the $2 oysters (limited to 6 per person) you're most likely to unleash yourself upon during the merrymaking

The above drinks, all getting @thedrinkseekers stamp of approval.

Visit, should a crazy party be in the pipelines after. The food and drinks, are one of the best options around the Orchard area, to pad your stomachs with. I would probably return for the donburi bowls too.

Tanuki Raw Bar
181 Orchard Road
Orchard Central

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11am - 10pm

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