My niece Melissa was raving about Imakatsu, a renowned Tonkatsu-specialty restaurant originating from Tokyo.
With stores in Roponggi and Ginza, and now with outposts in Singapore at Star Vista and Boat Quay, Imakatsu recently earned a Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015 Bib Gourmand award.
Taking advantage of the cool December weather, we opted for the Boat Quay branch for our Sunday family dinner – what a lovely evening it turned out to be strolling along the waterfront; savouring the night scene of the brightly-lit buildings casting rippling reflections on the waters of the Singapore River, criss-crossed by plying tong-kang boats.
The restaurant is longish and narrow, decorated in the traditional Japanese style with light Oak wood dominating; classic Japanese embroidery prints adorn the walls while graceful shoji-paper lanterns cast a warm glow over the place.
The Mochi Cheese Cutlet was perfectly fried to a golden crisp with the cheese just melting – a lovely start.
Another innovative side was the Piyopiyo Minced Meat Cutlet; a soft-poached egg wrapped with moist minced meat and deep fried. Very delicious; akin to scotched eggs.
I found the Ham Cutlet to be rather salty but Andrew liked it.
Needless to say, the Kagoshima Premium Pork Loin Cutlet was the star of the meal. Not the best that we have had but still very good; the fresh-tasting pork was succulent with just the right fattiness. To go with the katsu, there’s the standard Japanese barbecue or sesame sauce; or to savour the meat as is, you may opt for the selection of sea salt served with a wedge of lemon.
We paid $3 to upgrade the Pork Loin Curry Cutlet to the Kagoshima Premium Cutlet. The curry was fragrant and flavourful.
No Tonkatsu meal is complete without the quintessential shredded raw cabbage; and here you get an unlimited fill.
The Oyako Don was somewhat disappointing. The chicken was tender but the sauce just pass muster. What really let down this dish, and all the dishes for that matter, was the rice – it was cooked way too soggy, a major faux pas for a restaurant of this reputation. The rice is a key player in such dishes, especially for the curry and Oyaka don dishes. Hopefully it’s a one-off error and that my feedback to the waitstaff is addressed.
Boat Quay, a river embankment on the Singapore River lined with former-warehouses that date back more than 150 years, is one of the oldest and most historical areas in the city center. It offers spectacular views; a pity that it is still somewhat under the radar – but that could be due to the touting practiced by many of the restaurants there.
Imakatsu has a lovely al-fresco riverside dining area too; it’s a gorgeous experience this time of the year to eat outside. Overall Imakatsu does decent Tonkatsu, but nothing in particular that will rush us for a second visit, especially considering our less-than-satisfactory encounter with the soggy rice. We might give them a second chance at the Star Vista outlet as I hear they serve Inaniwa udon there, something we adore. We’ll see.
52 Boat Quay,
Phone: +65 6532 2078