A nice Japanese place which has good food, comfortable setting and does not burn a hole in the wallet is certainly greeaaaat. That's what I like about Tonkichi. I've been a fan of them for quite some time now and a post on them is long over-due.
This post resulted when Ivy and Ryan had to settle dinner at their respective homes as their respective mums had already cooked. This left Hushie and myself to settle dinner before meeting up with Ivy and Ryan. And as they say, the rest is Tonkichi.
Tonkichi's current promotion is all about scallops- sashimi, tempura or breaded and fried ($3 each). Knowing Hushie likes scallops but shys away from sashimi, I ordered it sashimi. But I'm glad after a bit of coaxing, she gamely popped one piece into her mouth and chewed. Was she surprised that it turned out better than she had thought. I enjoyed the scallop sashimi too. It was fresh, soft and I could just get a hint of sweetness.
Now, just to play it safe in case my get-Hushie-to-eat-scallop-sashimi plan failed, I also ordered one to be breaded and fried.
This turned out to be a mistake. Coating a fresh scallop with bread crumbs and deep frying it was too harsh for the delicate thing. The oil (though not rancid) and the deep frying seemed to have destroyed that fresh, sweet taste. So my backup plan actually backfired! It turns out that Hushie actually preferred the sashimi version.
Tonkichi is well-known for their Tonkatsu and I agree. My Jumbo Katsu ($21) was fried to golden perfection and the meat within was wonderfully moist, tender and had a nice porky taste.
I prefer the ones here compared to say, Tempopo.
Accompanying the Jumbo Katsu were a trio of sauces. I can't remember what their names are but starting in ascending order, the one at the bottom had what I thought was grated raddish in a light, salty sauce. Sort of like the ones used for tempura. The middle one was slightly sweet, tangy and thick. It resembled that used for chee cheong fun. The top sauce was a salsa-like one with a nice acidic edge that I felt helped to cut the oil in the katsu.
This was the dressing that I used for the shredded cabbage salad that came with the Jumbo Katsu. I couldn't make out what the black bits (seaweed?) were but this dressing was delicious. Savoury, light and fragrant, I know the shredded cabage loved every drop.
I upgraded the accompanying miso soup to a Tonjiru soup. This, unlike the normal miso with a few small cubes of tofu and bits of seaweed, had a lot more ingredients. I dug deep into the bowl and uncovered sliced raddish, tofu slabs, small pieces of meat, seaweed, carrots, onions, mushrooms... The interesting thing is that while the soup base tasted quite like miso, the ingredients had imparted their own flavours to the soup. Strips of citrus peel gave it a citric zing and added aroma. There were these konnyaku-jelly-like slices that had blackish specks in them. I'm told by the waitress that it's a 'yam jelly'. While relatively tasteless, I like its springy, chewy texture.
And before I forget my dining companion, Hushie picked the Ebi Fry Curry ($18) since it seems that she was craving for curry after Waraku. This consisted of three breaded and fried prawns (two in the picture, one on my plate), rice, pickles, salad and a bowl of Japanese curry. The prawns were thoughtfully separated from the curry, allowing the diner to enjoy its crisp exterior. The curry was aromatic and sweet with the goodness of carrots, potatoes and onions. Eat the prawns quick as once cooled, the crisp crust becomes slightly hard.
Chilled, fresh sashimi scallops and hot, fried food are a sure good way to begin the holidays. Life beckons.
Tonkichi (other branches at Takashimaya and Isetan Scotts)
Suntec City Mall
Tel: 6339 4231
Chew On This: Fans of Tonkichi should consider signing up for the Pokka Food Gourmet Card. It costs $60 but you'll get back that amount in cash vouchers plus a further 10% discount at Tonkichi. Inside the voucher bundle are also vouchers for free soup upgrade, One-for-one Ramen and offers at Pasta Cafe.