Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hajime by Singapore's First Tonkatsu Chef


www.hajime.com.sg


When we first arrived at Hajime at myvillage, we were rather excited as we were about to taste Singapore's first Tonkatsu chef's food. Though there has been the buzz about the stars around Singapore, we were pretty happy to taste Chef Tan-san's food again. This is not his first foray into serving Tonkatsu to Singaporeans after his hard work in learning the skill in Japan after all. Some of you might know him to have been the chef at Tampopo too. With 25 years of experience, Chef Tan-san does deserve a salute! Do hold your judgements of your past tastings at Tampopo too, it might pleasantly surprise you, leaving you going home really full!
  

We hardly see anywhere that roast their Edamames. Most have it boiled or steamed and then salted. At Hajime, we have a little of that feeling that it was just done not too long ago (indeed just at the back of the kitchen) and then eating it really warm, crunchy, smoky fragrance and enhanced flavours. Wet wipes will come in handy for this. Do bring your own.


The Gyozas are based on a traditional recipe. Very tasty when paired with the  Japanese La-yu oil mixed with Shoyu, great proportioning. This dip is rather special as it is mixed in house by the chef and you will find yourself dipping more and more into it. Before you know it you might just order another plate of bottom-crispy-top-tender gyozas!


The special thing about Hajime is that they are one of the few places where the food is breaded only when ordered. The Ebi-frys have this extra crunchiness to it with this extra heart put into the food.


Now this is the main thing that we were here for. The promised premium ingredients was really presented by the pure juiciness in the meat and that freshly breaded crumbs just made us went silent. There was the premium pork loin or the miso fillet.

The rice was also as promised the premium Niigata rice. The miso sauce is imported from Nagoya, blended with a little dash of red wine to make it really Hajime's special.

The Tonjiru soup is prepared using the Tonkotsu broth, simmered for 12 hours, with Japanese pork, carrots, radish, burdock roots and a hint of Yuzu, a special touch by the chef. This is akin to how you add lime to Vietnamese Pho. That nick kick and fresh finish!

The cabbage dressing is the Wafu dressing, much lighter than some other places where it allows the star player on the tray to be even more refreshing. This in Chef Tan-san's words is to cater to the Singapore market where healthier food has become a much concerned topic at the table.

How to tell if the Loin cut meat is really premium and if it is perfectly done? We were taught that there should be three parts to the meat when you see its cross section. The pink meat, the fats and then the cooked brown meat. This is a sign of well cooked and not overcooked meat.

When you have your meal here you will realise the fillet is not as dry as what you would expect it to be. The fats are also well proportioned, with the great selection that the Chef has chosen from the meat to use for this dish.

One thing that most people will miss is actually the pickles. Do try them together with the cabbage and the meat whilst eating. These are made in house 






Bringing the two worlds of Tonkatsu and Ramen together, Chef has also introduced a Ramen for those who prefer noodles to rice and it is also a creation by Chef Tan-san himself, not found in Japan. This might taste unfamiliar to those who love Japanese ramen, nonetheless wholesome and tasty. 

Similarly the Tonkotsu broth is simmered for 12 hours, not purchased from factories, and has no MSG in it (though the unami taste is strong) With a light touch of some chilli oil, it really made the dish quite interesting and balanced.

Nama Noodles (prepared by a Japanese company in Singapore to ensure freshness and also authentic Japanese flour) are used and they are cooked quite al-dente slightly to the softer side. The broth is not too watery and not too creamy. 

The Tonkatsu served is a fillet. As you can read above, this really brings the two into one amazing dish.


Not to mention how full we were already by now, we were served the  Katsu Don.

Interestingly, the Katsu is not prepared the usual way that the egg and the katsu is prepared together. Somewhat deconstructed, the egg is now on top of the Katsu after it has been prepared separately. The Niigata rice first fills the bowl, followed by a careful layering of seaweed to sit the Katsu on it, then layered by the egg and sauce "patty" over the Katsu. The picture below shows this art of work so clearly. The crunch in the Katsu can still be felt as you progress with the meal. Indeed a lot of heart went into preparing this style by Chef Tan San.

The best way to eat this, we feel, just take your spoon and dig all the way to the bottom from the top and have a bit of every thing in one scoop and just gobble it down!!!! YUMS!


We will definitely be back again to eat at Hajime. There is so much more to sample and savour. Hajime is indeed a value for money place within myVillage. With the comfortable seating, it definitely is a draw to come here away from the noisy crowd at Serangoon Gardens.

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9
Singapore 556679

Mon to Fri:
11:30am to 3:00pm
6:00pm to 10:00pm

Sat, Sun & PH:
11.30am to 3:00pm
5:00pm to 10:00pm

Last order at 9:30pm
- See more at: http://hajime.com.sg/#sthash.1IMExIM7.dpuf

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9
Singapore 556679

Mon to Fri:
11:30am to 3:00pm
6:00pm to 10:00pm

Sat, Sun & PH:
11.30am to 3:00pm
5:00pm to 10:00pm

Last order at 9:30pm
- See more at: http://hajime.com.sg/#sthash.1IMExIM7.dpuf
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1, Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9, Singapore 556679
Mon to Fri: 11:30am to 3:00pm and 6:00pm to 10:00pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 11.30am to 3:00pm and 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Last order at 9:30pm


 

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