This is the first overseas outlet of Imakatsu with 80 years of history in Japan. Although this outlet could not use lard to deep-fry because of Singapore’s strict import laws–they are using canola oil–there is a Japanese chef, Naotsugu Yokokawa, to ensure standards remain the same as Japan’s.
The food is deep-fried twice, once at a high temperature and the other at a low temperature, to sear in the juices, and to make it crispy, and tender.
Not only was the tonkatsu from my curry pork loin ($21.80) crispy, juicy, tender, the double deep-frying method created a thin layer of fat between the breaded crust and the surface of the meat, making it smooth and impossible to resist. In addition to that thin veneer of fat surface, there was also a strip of fat running through the cutlet, similar to pork belly fat, which was gelatinous and juicy, but not greasy or jerlat. As I ate the tonkatsu, I was screaming inside: WIN WIN WIN.
Due to the nature of the ingredient–chicken breast is usually tough because it has less fat–the fresh chicken breast ($14.80) wasn’t as juicy as the pork, but it was still very delicious. When you dunk it in the tonkatsu sauce, it tastes like chicken nugget in bbq sauce without soul-destroying guilt and unhealthy processed ickiness. And there were so many pieces!!!
Piyo piyo ($9.80) is Japanese version of scotch egg: the iconic hardboiled egg with molten yolk, wrapped in a layer of minced pork. By itself, it was bland, but when soya sauce was added, it tasted like the Chinese dish of steamed minced pork.
The rice were nacreous pearls, the freeflow cabbage in sesame sauce was clean, crunchy, crisp. The service, attentive. Nothing was an afterthought at Imakatsu… Ok, maybe except for the pop music. No “Bang Bang” please, switch to jazz.
I had expected a hefty sum for such a classy decor but when the bill came, we paid only $51 for two persons. After a long Monday at work, on a whim, we drove from Vivocity to Star Vista in traffic jam to eat at Imakatsu—this is something we seldom do. But I’d gladly travel to Imakatsu again, on any Mondays and on any days ending with -day.
1 Vista Exchange Green, Star Vista #01-17 Singapore
T: +65 6694 6148
Rating: 4.038/5 (second establishment to receive above 4 this year)
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.