Tenkadori Yakitori Restaurant is a (you've probably guessed it already!) Japanese restaurant situated on Hay Street in Subiaco (on the KFC - or the other crispy skinned juicy inside chicken joint - end). It features an open kitchen, friendly Japanese wait-staff, and a relatively light and bright atmosphere giving it casual feel.
Being a yakitori restaurant, Tenkadori (which according to their website is the first Tenkadori outside of its 60 strong-chain in Japan) is centred around its yakitori char-grill which is visible in its open kitchen and manned by the dedicated yakitori chef. It is from this grill (and experienced chef) that you can order their specialties such as the "crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside" yakitori chicken skewers and other char-grill flavoured goodness.
Despite being a yakitori restaurant, Tenkadori's menu has a healthy selection of non-yakitori dishes. The menu is still completely Japanese but you can expect the likes of teriyaki chicken, chicken katsu and oyakodon alongside other side dishes to accompany the various yakitori car-grilled dishes. Rounding out the food, Tenkadori is licensed with a small selection of beers (Australian and Japanese), wine, sake and shochu - perfect with the small share dishes.
Renkon Chips - $8
If you haven't tried deep fried lotus root chips (i.e. renkon chips) you really must. It's like taking a potato crisp, making it a little less starchy, yet making them super crisp and giving them a good crunch. I'm sure lotus roots are better for you too - or maybe that's just me hoping.
These renkon chips were faithful to the thin, crispy and crunchy goodness, and drizzled with some Japanese fruit sauce. Personally, I could have forgone the sauce and made do with it being lightly salted with sea salt but overall these were a pretty good renkon chips.
Yakitori Chicken Skewers (cooked with sauce) - $7
These yakitori chicken skewers were cooked on the char-grill that is their specialty.
Pieces of marinated chicken were tightly packed onto the skewer and cooked so that they were very juicy, tender and had a moderate smokey flavour. Whilst I would definitely agree with the "juicy on the inside", I'm not sure that I would have said it was "crispy on the outside" - well at least not charcoal crispy, but rather firm and having a texture that you bite into before reaching the juicy inside. Not bad at all.
The skewers were then served basted with and on top of a special sauce that was a thick blend of sweet but mostly savoury (salt) sauce. Overall, the burst of flavours that went into making this dish made this well worth ordering from the char-grill menu.
I can't say that "octopus salad" sounds very enticing to me. Though saying that, I did try a pretty good octopus salad at Rockpool.
The octopus salad was a lettuce based salad topped with tender octopus pieces and tossed with a slightly sweet vinegary sauce. Though it didn't knock my socks off, the octopus was tender and the acidity in the dressing made this salad light and well seasoned. So as a salad with octopus, I was quite satisfied.
Takoyaki - $8
Takoyaki (or octopus balls - yes I know we ordered not one but two octopus dishes!) seems to always be a must-order dish with some people I know. Whilst they make a fun dish to make at cooking parties, if you've ever tried making them you know how fiddly they can be.
These takoyaki were nicely made, well rounded with a consistent and mildly flavoured batter and drizzled with Japanese mayonnaise and takoyaki sauce. Whilst I appreciated the quality of these takoyaki, I would have preferred more than one small piece of octopus in each takoyaki and it to be topped with bonito (fish flakes - which not only give the dish that fun visual appearance of moving fish flakes, but added flavour too).
Oyako-don - $15
Oyako-don is a rice bowl dish where steamed rice is topped with a chicken and egg mixture (and also onion) simmered in a flavoured stock. Putting it that way this dish probably doesn't sound like much, but the dish including the topping was infused with the slightly salty stock, soy and mirin taste; with the chicken pieces tender and juicy and the egg light and soft that it almost melted in my mouth.
Overall this dish had for me the right amount of stock to flavour the dish (i.e. enough to give it real flavour, but not so much as to drown the dish or leave salty soup at the bottom of the bowl) and thus left me satisfied (tastewise, not size-of-dish-wise).
We liked: The seeming authenticity of well prepared Japanese dishes for a casual establishment; the flavours coming from the yakitori grill.
We didn't like: The main courses are for me a little on the small side - you definitely need sides with them. But saying that, this is a yakitori restaurant.
Other things to note: Licensed, with a small selection of drinks including Japanese beers (think Asahi, Kirin, Yebisu and Sapporo), wine, sake and shochu; the menu has main course dishes as well as numerous share dishes.
Tenkadori Yakitori Restaurant
5/502 Hay Street
SUBIACO WA 6008
(08) 9382 2291
Monday to Saturday - 11am till late