My introduction to Japanese food started not with sushi, but with tonkatsu at Tonkichi. So breaded deep-fried pork has a special place in my stomach. Here, we three ordered a range to try, from expensive ones to newfangled types. You can add $3 to make it a set, to include rice and miso soup. The rice (choice of white rice or multi-grain) comes in a small, cute pot, to keep the rice warm, enough for two persons to share. You can top up the cabbage for free.
Chiobu exclaimed, the strip of fat in the Otsumani black tonkatsu ($13.80+, above) was delicious. The tonkatsu was laced with cuttlefish flavor, to give it its black coloring, and paired with a tomato sauce with chunks of tomato. But it tasted ordinary to me. The mille-feuille cheese Katsu set ($25.80) was layers of sliced pork with cheese in the middle–not bad, but the cheese was sparse, didn’t reach to the corners of the cutlet. The Kurobuta hire set ($31.80), one of the more premium items in the menu, was disappointingly tough.
Mille-feuille cheese Katsu
For variety, the deep-fried oysters ($23.80+) was so-so; and Huccalyly was sorely annoyed with the foie gras gyozas ($7.90+). “Where is the foie gras? I can’t taste any!” She asked.
I responded, “It’s $7.90. The foie gras is blended into the pork meat lah.”
Foie Gras gyoza
In general, the deep-fried food needed much more marination, more salt, more taste. When I inevitably compare Tonzaemon to Tonkichi, I found Tonzaemon’s tonkatsu drier and bland.
Furthermore, manpower is an issue, hence understandable. The food came slowly (only 2 chefs), and the two waitresses, one of them new, though friendly and nice, couldn’t cope with the crowd on a Friday night. The small restaurant was only 60%-70% full.
Including two scoops of overly sweet ice cream, we paid $129 for three persons. We won’t return. There is a reason why it was quiet on a Friday night.
30 Victoria Street #01-09 CHIJMES Singapore 187996
T: +65 6338 5907
Rating: 3.25/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.