Sunday, October 25, 2009

Ginza Bairin: tonkatsu...is it good?

with office colleagues

One of my friends excitedly pulled me aside in one recent wedding dinner to tell me that he found a place which serves katsu of the same quality and taste as the one I had once taken him to in Tokyo. The eatery in question in Tokyo was located at the basement of the ANA building...and is a chain store known as Katsukura. Can it be, I wondered...so we went to try.



Cash only, the sign says. Order, pay, and go inside and wait for your food...a bit like Mosburger, methinks...not very promising. But the order counter looked like it could have been in Japan...though the English signs are a dead giveaway.



Inside, it was decorated like a canteen...but a tastefully done up one, I must say...and two huge, and I mean huge pictures of the owner.

Each katsu is cooked on order...so that's promising...we waited about 5 mins for our lunch.

First up, my Katsu loin:



Looks quite nice. The pork was deep fried, crispy breaded outer layer...looked quite dry, which is a good sign...the Japanese pride themselves in non-greasy katsu.



Looks scrumptious. But the inside told a different story...the meat look sinewy and tough. And indeed on the palate it was. The muscle fibres were a bit dry and tough. I would have preferred a cut of meat which is a bit less lean, perhaps featuring a sliver of fat to imbue flavour. The breaded batter was very crispy, but a bit thick. The shredded cabbage with the Japanese walnut dressing was ok.

Kennard had the katsu curry:



The same cut of pork was used...same dry, slightly tough meat...but this time, with the sweetish Japanese curry sauce made all the difference. I tasted the sauce...I still prefer sauce with bits of meat in it like those you find at Curry Favour, but this one is smooth, homogenous, a bit starchy, but quite tasty. Goes well with the dryish pork.

Ken had the katsu don...



Also a clever option...as the sauce and egg topping added to the moisture content, and made the pork katsu quite nice.

Overall, not a bad katsu, especially in Singapore...an no way in competition with Katsukura. And no way dethrones my favourite katsu in Singapore...found in Tampopo or at Tom Ton.
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