Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison, Mandarin Gallery Singapore: where you'll be rolling in the deep fried stuff

When Plaid Boy said he was taking me to Tonkatsu by Ma Maison at Mandarin Gallery for dinner, I thought it was punishment for the countless times I've made him kulit about restaurants to try in Singapore. See, I love and respect Japanese cuisine to the very core but I'm really not huge on deep fried battered stuff. I find they usually taste samey (of oil!) and tend to lose the natural flavour of the produce.

Nonetheless, I begrudgingly went and thought of the lessons we learned from our recent marriage encounter seminar and our principal sponsors. Chalk it up as one of those "Wife, be submissive" practice exercises. Why not.
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
Ma Maison is an Asian-French fusion restaurant founded in Nagoya. Tonkatsu is one of their spin-off restaurants known for serving up... well... tonkatsu or deep-fried pork cutlets. They have chicken, seafood and vegetarian options as well but it's the pork hire (fillet) or rosu (loin) punters queue up for. They serve the katsu in sets so you get unlimited portions of shredded cabbage, rice and miso soup (which is quite a winner!) too.

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
Condiments come aplenty. Tonkotsu sauce options were either sweet or spicy but I couldn't really tell the difference. I was more excited to see the bottle of Japanese sesame dressing. Be still my heart.

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
We had side orders of ebi (prawn) and kaki (oyster) katsu (SG$4 per piece) for variety. Dreading the oily spillage at first bite, I hesitantly picked an ebi katsu thinking it would be another overly breaded piece but was pleasantly surprised by how light and crisp the coating was. I could actually taste the prawn! The oyster was plump and juicy as well but I still think oysters are best served fresh off the sea.

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
I was torn between the Hungarian mangalica rosu katsu and the kurobuta rosu katsu sets (SG$32 each) but I ended up having the latter, their signature cut, to set the standard. I bit off more than I could chew - literally - as the cut was quite thick. The batter was crisp and the meat was surprisingly juicy although some of the edges were slightly more cooked than I would have liked. Pork flavour swam in my mouth and I appreciated the thoughtfulness of prep and quality of meat.

Claims of the restaurant serving the "best tonkatsu in Singapore" may as well be valid and after a very satisfying meal, I get why people queue up. It's very good tonkatsu. But would I? Probably not.

Tonkatsu by Ma Maison
333A Orchard Road #02-35/36 Mandarin Gallery, Singapore
Ave spend pp: SG$50 (roughly £25)

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