Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saboten – Japanese Pork Katsu at Millennia Walk

I had a nice two-week break earlier on and my colleagues were so kind enough to accompany me out for a nice dinner. With the newly opened circle line, it is now much more convenient to go to Millennia Walk area.  Before circle line, we are needed to walk a hell long way from City Hall station via Citylink to Suntec or Marina Centre. Now, the MRT stopped practically at their doorstop!

Anyway, while we were discussing what to do, another colleague tipped us off about this very nice Katsu restaurant at the newly opened shopping wing at Millennia Walk. Situated at level 3 of the Parco Marina shopping centre, Saboten is another imported fame store from Shinjuku.

There was a long queue forming when we reached. The restaurant was packed full with customers. Apparently, Saboten does not entertain pre-booking. So if you want to enjoy Katsu chops, do go early and queue.

The above is their introduction sign “Enjoy their Tonkatsu with delicious cabbage”. It was hardly an exaggeration at all. The food was indeed delicious. 

A preview of what you will be expecting from them. Big, hearty chops! I can’t really read Japanese. From the Kanji characters, I am guessing that Saboten was opened in Tokyo’s Shinjuku area in 1966. After I wrote this line, I discovered they actually translated it in English too.

From the blur small letterings, I managed to read the following:

Saboten actually meant cactus in Japanese. The shop was named after cactus for their abilities to survival skills. They without water for six months and can grow in any harsh environment. Saboten prided themselves for using only the finest ingredients and the best chef.  

Don't think I can dispute their claims. It does seems like it. Here is why.

To accompany their famous Tonkatsu, they have this home-made vinegary Worcestershire-like sauce which I really like. It cuts the fattiness from the Tonkatsu, I find.

This is perhaps the “Nouvelle” way of eating pork – with mustard! Be warned, japanese mustard is very much stronger than its European cousins, almost like wasabi. They are quite spicy. Dab sparingly.

Apart from the Tokatsu sauce, Saboten also had two more sauces – A soy sauce based sauce which had a hint of orange frangance and the Sesame seeds Mayo dressing.
So what are they for, I heard you ask?

Well, they are for you to accompany their unlimited serving of finely sliced cabbage!

Good things need time to prepare. The tonkatsu does take some time to be served. I like how the restaurant keep  their customers occupied while waiting for their food to be served. Firstly, they satisfied customers’ hunger pangs with mix-your-own salad, perhaps to better whipped up your appetite.

That can probably stalled some time, but they have something else up their sleeves to keep you busy. 

A wooden pestle and ceramic grinder bowl with toasted Sesame seeds.

You are supposed to grin them in circular motion to release the aroma of the sesame seeds. Indeed, just a few grinds, we could smell the sesame seeds, waffling towards us.

As usual, I am not a keen follower of instructions. I wanted to see how fine I can grind those sesame seeds, so went on and one to grind them. My colleague, Mindy frowned at my action, saying that I will get sesame seed oil if I went on further.

We were told to mix the grinded sesame seeds with the tonkatsu Worcestershire-like sauce. The above is my version. Mindy swore that she could taste the sesame seed oil in my version – quite oily she says.

My colleagues “normal” version sauce.
Finally, food is served! Mindy and Celine shared a two-person set. It has a medium sized tonkatsu, two big prawns, pork with cheese and asparagus roll and two prawn and crab coroquette.
Since Saboten is famous for its tonkatsu, I religiously sticked with their chef recommendation and ordered a large size tonkatsu. Without much worry, the tonkatsu came in good size

The cross-section was a good 1 cm thickness. Surprisingly, the Tonkatsu wasn’t greasy at all. It was remarkably moist!

I cannot help but to feel hungry when I was posting the photos online.
The other must-try is their prawn and crab croquette! It was so creamy and light! I did not take photos of their tartar sauce, but it was very nice. I think it is homemade too as the sauce has bits of hard boiled eggs in it.

In case, I did not mention the set comes with unlimited serving of rice and miso soup.


Price is slightly on the high side, but they are giving you unlimited service of rice, cabbage and miso soup which made up a satisfying meal.

Tonkatsu is perfectly fried and the meat is tender and moist. Our favourite is the prawn and crab croquette which tasted so light and creamy.

One important thing to highlight is their services. It is also very well-thought out. The waitresses is always on the prowl, asking whether we need more cabbages, rice or soup. Tea are always topped up without asking and they almost do it with a very pleasant manner. It is quite an experience if only all other Singapore eateries had such services.

While we were there, we noticed a lot of their patrons were Japanese. I supposed they should be quite authentic. 

Must try but go early. They do not entertain pre-booking, so be prepared to queue. 


kampai said...

whoa looks good!

Photosophize [ 影.像.物语 ] said...

Kc, is that u? How come u know my blog? Pls do not type my name out, I am addressed as Photosophize. :)