Tonzaemon Tonkatsu and Sake Bar Review

Sometimes the work of a food critic can be criticised, for biased reviews and for being too harsh on restaurants…. In other words, the critic needs to practice some form of integrity in their reviews…

I honestly never put a lot of thought into those criticisms… But the one thing I cannot stand is food critics withholding information about restaurants. Just because they want their favourite restaurants to be kept empty so it would be easier to have a meal  there, it is definitely not fair to both the restaurant and the readers…

Call me a hypocrite, but I am a bit guilty of that… One such restaurant that I am been a quiet returning customer to is Tonzaemon at Chijmes.

Tonkatsu restaurants are a growing trend in Singapore. Honestly, when it comes to a meat craving, a juicy, deep fried Pork Chop sometimes does it better for me than a thick, juicy Steak.

Tonzaemon is part of the Ma masion group, a restaurant in a corner of chijmes, serving up amazing cuts of Tonkatsu. A restaurant in Chijmes can be quite unpredictable in terms of the crowd, one day there could be a 1 hour waiting list, the next day it could be completely empty.

It is a small little restaurant, a small open kitchen wielded by 2 chefs, a few waiters, a few tables and about 15 seatings at the bar.

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Foie Gras Chawanmushi ($7.90)
Made from scratch, this rich, decadent foie gras wasn’t overly umami, but the sauce really lifted up the smooth Chawanmushi. To add more flavour, the Chawanmushi also had strips of pork belly and chicken inside. An extremely filling Chawanmushi, and one of the best I have ever tasted.

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4 Pcs Oyster
This, this was amazing! Huge Oysters, covered in crispy breading, and juicy on the inside… And it comes with a tangy tartar sauce, but don’t dip too much! Just a bit will do… Much better than the ones I have tasted at Saboten…

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Kurobuta Tonkatsu Pork Loin (Rosu)($31.90)
The star dish in any Tonkatsu restaurant. If you are a newbie in going to Tonkatsu Restaurants, they are always 2 types of pork cuts for Tonkatsu. They are the Rosu (Loin) and Hire (Fillet) (Skip to the next paragraph if you dont want a lecture on the cuts of pork) . The Rosu has some fats running through the meat, keeping it tender, juicy and robust even after being fried. The Hire has very little fat, but being an underused muscle that is hardly used by the pig, this prime cut is extremely tender. However, it is lacking the robustness of the Rosu and in danger of being dry even if it is slightly overcooked. But, due to the lack of fats, it is the healthier choice. Also, the cuts I chose comes from the Kurobuta Pig, which is more expensive than the regular rosu cut, but the meat is more juicy and flavourful than the normal pig. Also, due to the special way it is raised, the pork can be cooked around medium, with a bit of pinkness jumping out…

Believing in flavour over healthiness when it comes to meat, I chose the Rosu. It… It was amazing!!! The pink, juicy Loin really spoke for itself! You xan taste how the fats and meats in the loin play hand and hand to create an ‘orgasmistic’ experience in your mouth! It is served with a bit of himalayan salt which has a similar taste to truffle and pink salt. However, I dont recommend the tonkatsu sauce provided on the table. It is like how a good steak doesn’t need BBQ Sauce, a good Tonkatsu doesn’t need Tonkatsu sauce…

The set comes with a pot of rice cooked individually (you actually have a choice between white or multi-grain rice) a miso soup and cabbage… Dont be fooled by the boring appearance of the rice! By cooking it in this special steamer, the wooden inlay gives the rice a shiny appearance and ‘oaky’ aroma… The miso soup is made with red miso whoch gives it an amazing taste! Plus, it’s free flow! I had 3 bowls!!! Hahaha… The cabbage was okay, fresh, crunchy but its wasnt chilled properly… Try it with the sesame dressing provided, similar to Saboten’s, it lifts the cabbage up!

Dining at Tonzaemon has always sort of reminded me of my trips to Japan. A Discreet, hole-in-the-wall… (sort of, haha) restaurant serving michelin starred food at rather affordable prices… I have dined at many Tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore, and I can safely say, Tonzaemon is the best Singapore has to offer!

Overall Rating:9/10

Restaurant Info:
30 Victoria Street
#01-09 CHIJMES
Singapore 187996
T: +65 6338 5907

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