Friday, September 5, 2014

Saboten @313 Somerset : Pork, Prawn and Scallops

It feels very different to dine at Saboten restaurants in Singapore because they are well-furnished with spacious seatings and bright lightings, unlike the usual no-frills takeaway Saboten outlets that I come across in Tokyo. But of course, this world's largest Tonkatsu chain do have restaurants in Tokyo, mostly in major shopping malls or department stores. To celebrate the opening of its new outlet in  313@Somerset, Saboten introduces the Iberico Loin Katsu and Fried Jumbo Prawn that are exclusive to this outlet.
Iberico pork, which is famed for its refine marbling and tender texture, was not an easier cutlet to handle than the original katsu. Not as rich or oozing juices as you may find elsewhere, the trimmings were rather leathery, and some effort was required to disintegrate the protein. This in particular, is what polarizes opinions.

The Fried Prawn Jumbo Set ($28.80) featuring a wild-catch Tiger prawn, crab croquette and original loin cutlet, is more likely to appease the finicky palates with a mixture of seafood and pork. The coating of breadcrumbs for this set of ingredients was also more consistently golden, light and not cloyingly oily. 
It would be a pity not to try the deep-fried scallops (2 for $12), especially when they are at their freshest and best condition this time of the year. The Hotate Feast is a new seasonal promotion that runs till end Oct.

Good to know: there are also Grilled Chicken Set ($18) and Grilled Salmon Set ($21) for those who prefer non-fried food. Yuzu and Goma dressing are imported from Japan. The Tonkatsu Sauce is developed in-house with more than 10 types of ingredients.

All the sets are complete with chawanmushi, pickles and yuzu sorbet, not forgetting the free refills of crunchy cabbage, Japan-imported rice, miso soup, that complete the teishoku experience. 

As usual, you proceed with the old but obligatory ritual of grinding the sesame before adding the Tonkatsu sauce. But what surprises me is that there is also radish and even curry sauces, which I view as privileges that one can't get in Japan--it is usually katsu with one and only one type of dressing. This may not be the place for the impeccable classic tonkatsu but you can still discover some reliable deep-fried gems, if you pick the right ones.

Saboten 313@Somerset 
11.30am-10pm daily
special thanks to Jaslyn for the invite!

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