Discovering Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke With M5
Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke is Keisuke Takeda’s newest restaurant that’s set to open on 13 November. As I’ve heard wonderful things about “healthier” tonkatsu, I’m grateful for the opportunity to check it out at the media preview. What’s more, I get to bring M5 along as she has the day off from school. As we make our way to Paya Lebar Square, M5 chatters on about what she’s learnt in school this year. Her stories are hilarious and I feel our lunch date is already off to a brilliant start.
When we arrive at the cosy 23 seater restaurant, M5 is pleased to be seated by the counter where we can watch the chefs. She’s even more pleased to meet my Japanese friend, Hideki. She sings him a Japanese song. In return he teaches her how to use chopsticks. Meanwhile I catch up with other foodie friends and decide what we should taste. As Hideki recommends the signature Shiokoji Pork Katsu & Salmon Rare Tonkatsu sets, I dutifully order those.
Investigating “Healthier” Tonkatsu
The differentiating factor about Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke is that it serves healthier tonkatsu. With front row seats to all the action, M5 & I are able to see why.
Firstly, we watch the chefs prepare my sashimi-grade salmon. While I’m grateful for a healthy choice of salmon, I’m curious about how it will turn out. Chef deep-fries the salmon at an intensely high temperature quickly. As a result, the Tonkatsu is crunchy on the outside, yet soft & rare on the inside. I love it.
Now, M5’s pork dish comprises only the best cuts of meat, namely loin & tenderloin. Chef dips the cutlets into a low temperature fryer followed by a high temperature fryer to cook the inside and crisp outer layer respectively. Apparently these are no ordinary fryers. Using water molecule control technology, they are able to reduce the oil absorption by half. Moreover, the taste is not compromised.
There’s one more secret. Before the cutlets are fried, or even covered with breadcrumbs, they’re first marinated with shiokoji. I learn that shiokoji is a mixture of sea salt & fermented short-grain white rice. As it is rich in enzymes, it is a natural probiotic that aids digestion. There are even claims that it is anti-ageing and improves complexion. Now that’s a happy meal if I ever had one. Potential health benefits aside, what is immediately clear is that shiokoji has a unique blend of sweet & salty. That umami kick makes this lunch very tasty indeed.
Other than the tonkatsu, we also have access to the salad bar with a range of delicious sauces. Naturally, I pick the spicy ones, but discover that both the salad & tonkatsu taste great neat.
Our verdict? Definitely the healthier tonkatsu. My friends & I are pleasantly surprised. Despite trying several different tonkatsu dishes, we don’t feel overwhelmed by the oiliness.
As for M5, her favourite items are the fried runny egg and miso soup. In fact, she hoovers my portion as well.
Not only do we want to go back, but we’re keen to try the other dishes like the rolled pork & vegetables. In fact, I mean to check Keisuke’s other restaurants out as well: http://www.keisuke.sg. Other innovative restaurant concepts include variations of beef sukiyaki, omurice as well as ramen. As M5 is a big ramen fan, I’m sure that will be our next Keisuke stop. What’s more, I’m already certain our experience will be as wonderful as this one at Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke.