Saturday, October 2, 2010

Singapore Eat: SABOTEN - Our Fave Tonkatsu Restaurant

I have to confess: I have yet broken out of my doozy hibernation, but I am forcing myself to write this post, which is wAAAy overdue in my opinion.

Samurai T and I are pretty carnivourous people; no, actually, I am omnivorous because I still love my salads, but my man, if he can get away with just eating meat (preferably fried) for the rest of his life without me threatening to divorce him, he would do so. Even as the weighing scale protests under his burgeoning weight each day, his multiple excuses range from "I have got to finish marking my scripts before the deadline", "It is raining, I cannot go running", to "I have already eaten TWO cherry tomatoes LAST week".

But I digress. I love my meats as much as he does, and one of our favourite Japanese haunts in Singapore is the quite newly opened Tonkatsu restaurant at Parco Millenia called Saboten, which is one of the largest Tonkatsu chain back in Japan (Shinjuku, Tokyo origins). Previously we had our tonkatsu fix at Tonkichi, which is really quite delicious as well. But once we went to Saboten, well, our love for Tonkichi was "saboed". (Hehe, lame I know.)

Lovely traditional lamps adorning the Saboten restaurant 

Let me start off by saying that THEY HAVE AMAZING SERVICE. It was like we were back in Japan, with the Singaporean waiting staff bowing at every serving and being so astonishingly polite, thoughtful and prompt. We have been there twice and the service had been consistent. Since I am from the service sector as well, and as a customer having been confronted with lacklustre service almost everywhere I go in this country, I must say, "Kudos, well done" to the Saboten wait staff.

Saboten's prices are also extremely affordable with the basic tonkatsu set starting at about SGD22, which includes a free flow of green tea, raw cabbage, miso soup and rice! So if you are a starving army boy, I think that it can turn out to be a very worthwhile meal. Although the rice was super delicious and fragrant, having come from the Iwate Prefecture, I could never finish it since I was busy chomping down on the raw cabbage drenched in my beloved sesame dressing.

All the delicious sauces and dressings. The white sauce is our favourite sesame salad dressing!

Sesame sauce drenched cabbage - YUMS x 10000

To an extent, the cabbage is almost the highlight of my meal, but the tonkatsu in all honesty is equally oiishi. Although fried, the tonkatsu is never oily or heavy to the palate, the pork retains its juiciness and tenderness which is absolutely amazing. Same goes to the tempura as well (if one orders a special mixed set). I especially LURVE the tenderloin tonkatsu - so crunchy on the outside, so tender on the inside - mmmmmmm.

That's my special mixed set - tenderloin pork and ebi!

And a yummy green tea ice cream for dessert!

This heavenly meal is completed with a scoop of green tea ice cream, and I am all ready to float home on a bursting stomach. All said, I am a bit worried about the business though. Parco Millenia is always like a ghost town on most days, and although in the beginning the restaurants on the uppermost floor seemed quite crowded, the crowds appeared to have dwindled quite a bit. The two times we were at Saboten, there were hardly any customers (although we had our dinner early around 5-ish and 6-ish). I really, REALLY hope they don't close down, because Saboten (as well as the other ramen restaurants) offer excellent food.

So if you like tonkatsu, go support them, please! (P.S. I am not a shareholder or in anyway related to them. I wish.)

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