Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ginza Bairin @ JCube, Jurong East

Was invited to a tasting session at Ginza Bairin's second outlet in Singapore. Located at B1 of JCube, this shop has an open feel to it and seats 44 pax. The layout of the outlet gave it a somewhat fast-food joint kind of atmosphere, but did you know that Ginza Bairin in Japan, has already established 85 years of experience in Tonkatsu making?

shop interior

Coincidentally, June is also the month where rice planting festivals are held in Japan. What's more apt than for us to celebrate it by savouring rice dishes!

cute logo of shamisen playing pig
rice as a symbol of life
rice, our staple food

A trivia that I found interesting was that due to severe rice shortage at the end of the second World War, Ginza Bairin's founder, Nobukatsu-san had an idea and decided to pair katsu with bread instead of rice. The Katsu sandwich remains as one of its signature dishes till date. Talk about turning adversity into opportunities!

Coincidentally, we started the night with the Pork Katsu Sandwich, which is served in a box.

Pork Katsu Sandwich
closer view of the Pork Katsu Sandwich

The sandwich is simplicity personified. Firm pieces of deep fried breaded pork, coated with special home-made sweet sauce (Nobukatsu-san's recipe that has apples, onions and a blend of vegetables) and assembled ontop of soft white bread.

nice to meat you

The Pork Katsu Sandwich is suitable if you're looking for a light meal, or a snack in between meals.

Next, we had the Special Katsu-don. This was one item that I had wanted to try ever since my friend had it when we were at the ION Orchard outlet.

Special Katsu-don (Pork) existed since 1958
look at that wobbly egg~
mouthwatering looking piece of tender meat, yums!
precious rice with onions and sweet sauce

Seeing a wobbly egg on the verge of bursting was a fascinating sight. Imagine runny egg yolk on piping hot rice drizzled with sweet sauce...mmm

dazzling golden rice

Enjoyed the Special Katsu-don very much. The meat was tender and juicy, with its outer layer having absorbed much of its sauce, giving it a slightly sweet taste. The runny egg yolk mixed into the steaming hot rice gave it a silken soft feeling when eaten. Yums.

After that, we had the 'Special' Mixed Fry Set. Special because this was purposely mixed so that we can try the ebi fry, cheese pork fillet katsu and black pig katsu plus curry rice, all at the same time. Not sure what is the usual combination for the mixed fry set though but from the picture of its menu, it seems like it has ebi fry, cheese pork fillet and chicken karaage.

the flags are specially done for the event, so normally, it won't be served like this!
curry rice, (left to right) cheese pork fillet katsu, ebi fry and black pig katsu

The curry here is sweet and has a good consistency, which means it was neither too watery nor too thick. Has small bits of potatoes in it as well. Note that the curry will gradually thickens when its temperature cools.

cheese pork fillet katsu, look at those crunchy crumbs~
say cheese~

Can you tell from the pictures just how crispy those crumbs were? They were seriously crispy. Apparently, the breadcrumbs or panko here is the reduced sugar version and the deep frying uses cotton seed oil.

black pig katsu
looking rosy
eby fry

The eby fry was firm to the bite but a little overcooked. The cheese pork fillet katsu was quite a huge chunk of meat and has a stronger pork taste compared to the black pig. Am not sure but cheese, meat and curry all translated into quite an overwhelming dish for me. It was a little too rich. The black pig katsu while retained its clean flavour, was rather lean and not as tender as the meat from the Special Katsu-don dish.

Lastly, we had the Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen, a dish that is touted as a Singapore Exclusive.

Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen
look at the red chili oil, and by spicy I mean SPICY but shioks!
slurpilicious soup~

Was kind of surprised when I first tasted the minced pork that was laced with lots of chili oil. It was rather cold. Probably had to mix it into the soup? The soup was nicely cloudy and flavoursome. Thankfully, not too salty too.

springy noodles

The chili oil did a good job in clinging onto the strands of sprightly noodles. Gave that extra kick with each slurp. Nice.

Ni Tamago

For menu and promotions information for Ginza Bairin JCube, here's the link to their website.

Thank you Ashley and Athena, from The Brand Elixir for the kind invitation to this event and thank you to the good people of Ginza Bairin @JCube.

It was also nice to see in person food bloggers like Charlene from Gninethree, Dawn from 365days2play, Jasper from Six&Seven and Melissa from Melicacy. Please vote for them for the Singapore Blog Awards 2012 (Best Food Blog category) here.


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