One of the country that does pork cutlet really well is Japan and other than Sushi, Japanese Tonkatsu restaurants can be found in many corners of the world. Unlike the Western counterpart, the Japanese pork cutlet comes with a very thin yet crispy breaded crust. I was in the area of Tanjong Pagar when I walked past this new Tonkatsu restaurant at Tanjong Pagar centre.
The restaurant setting was very simple and clean-cut with mostly wood furnishings. The moment you enter, you can tell the strong Japanese minimalist design within the restaurant with both counter seats and table sitting.
Just outside the restaurant, you can see the enlarged menu with all the food items they offer to entice any potential customers walking past. They will also show any monthly promotional items at the door.
With all Tonkatsu restaurants, after taking your orders, you will be served fresh cabbage salad where you can mix in the sesame sauce or Tonkatsu sauce provided. The cabbage salad helps to balance the oily sensation from the fried items. The thinly shredded cabbage here is of good quality and is very fresh and sweet even without the sauce. You can also ask the server for a complimentary top up.
Since being introduced to this in Bangkok last year, I became in love with it and would order this as long as it was in the menu. So here is the Tako Wasabi at SGD 4.80. It is basically raw octopus marinated lightly with wasabi to remove the fishy taste of raw seafood. The octopus is very fresh with a good crunch and a very slight wasabi flavour. Personally, I would have preferred a stronger wasabi taste.
The next item we ordered was this fried minced meat egg which is basically scotched egg. This was called the Piya Piya Minced Katsu and is priced at SGD 9.80. The only difference from the western version is that instead of a fully cooked egg inside, it is the flowy onsen egg.
The minced pork around the egg was lightly flavoured and had the same Tonkatsu coating fried to perfect crispness. The best part of the dish is cutting up the egg and seeing the golden goodness flow out of this giant egg. The restaurant provided a dipping sauce for this dish and tasted liked the savoury Tonkatsu sauce with an added tangy kick. This is a good starter dish to order and share.
They have various different combos and cuts of meat for the katsu. I ordered the most basic Pork Katsu Zen at SGD 18.80. The set comes with rice, soup and pickles. They also have other premium cuts of the pork at a higher price.
The pork katsu was served in perfect slices with an absolute crisp to each bite. The important thing was that the pork was still juicy and not dry. You can almost see the shiny meat juices from this picture.
My friend ordered a different version called the Mentaiko Premium Pork Zen which is priced at SGD 26.80. The only different is the meat is of a different cut of the pork which makes it more tender and they topped the cutlet with fresh mentaiko which is shrimp roe.
Overall, this is a nice restaurant to have a simple lunch or dinner as it serves pretty decent katsu with a wide range of choice of meats. The service standards are good as well with the server taking initiatives to combine tables to provide us with a bigger table since we ordered quite a couple of items so we could dine in comfort. If I have a Tonkatsu craving, I would not mind coming back here.
Address: 32 Wallich St, Singapore 078880. Tanjong Pagar Centre
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 3.00 pm 5.30pm to 10.00 pm