Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen

November 10, 2016 Ivan Teh - RunningMan 0 Comments

Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
1 Maju Avenue
#02-09 My Village @ Serangoon Garden


http://www.hajime.com.sg/


Miso Pork Loin Set (SGD $17.90)



Delicious Tonkatsu & Ramen, Naturally

(Ratings: On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 = Worst and 10 = Best)
Overall: 7
Ambience & Setting: 7
Food & Beverage: 8
Service: 9
Value for Money: 8
Spent about SGD $23 per person.


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Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen was founded in April 2016 by Chef Tan-San, the same chef behind the founding of Tampopo, a popular restaurant in Singapore known for its authentic Japanese cuisine. Named for the Japanese word for 'beginning', and the short form for 'Hajimemashite', which means 'nice to meet you', Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen represents Chef Tan-San philosophy of simplicity in food, and hospitality in service.

Ambience at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen is modern casual, furnished like a comfortable home. The spacious, open floor space is neatly lined with modern plastic and wooden furniture, while comfortable black cushioned booths line the wall. Personally, I prefer the comfy booths! Ample natural lighting during the day, and warm spotlighting at night sets the mood, while the attractive display in front catches the eye.

Service at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen lives up to their aspiration. Despite being semi self-service, as you have to order and pay over the counter, staff will serve orders to your table. I note they're quick to greet and seat diners, and they will offer recommendations or guidance on ordering. Their product knowledge is decent, and they're quick and efficient at clearing away empty / dirty tables or plates. Particularly outstanding is their restaurant manager, who proactively offered to serve desserts when she observed I had finished the main course.

This restaurant is pretty child friendly. Besides having the usual high chair for children, the tables are movable to allow space for prams. But the best thing is I notice staff pay particular attention to children, making conversation with them and looking out for them. They also go out of their way to render assistance to the parents. Great!

Food at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen is distinctly Japanese cuisine, with a focus on tonkatsu pork and ramen bowls. Chef Tan-San gained acclaim for being the 1st Tonkatsu Chef in Singapore, and with his over 40 years of culinary experience, produces some excellent tonkatsu pork and ramen noodles. The menu is small but focused to ensure consistently good quality. Portions are nicely sized for individuals, and prices are comparable to most cafes. Budget about SGD $23 per person for a full meal here.


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Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen Facade
Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen Facade


Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen Menu
Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen Menu



Each order of hot Ocha (SGD $1.50) / Green Tea is refillable. An average beverage to accompany your meal.

Ocha (SGD $1.50)



The Beer Sapporo Premium (SGD $8) is an American style, bright straw golden lager, brewed by Sapporo Breweries Limited in Shibuya, Tokyo, in the Kanto region of Japan. It has mild aromas of grass, corn, hops, and malt, with a crisp, clean, and light body texture. Flavours of rice, metal, green apple, and wheat husk, with a moderate carbonation. Finish is quick, clean, with little bitterness but slight metallic undertones, yet still remains refreshing.

Beer Sapporo Premium (SGD $8)



There is a range of condiments for your meal. They include sesame seeds, sour plum sauce, wafu dressing, and chili powder.

Condiments



The Sweet Potato Agemono (SGD $3.90) features yellow sweet potato, coated in panko breadcrumbs, then deep fried. The result is a crisp, crumbly exterior that has a nice crunch, and a hint of flavour from the breadcrumbs. The interior is soft, moist, and tender, with the sweet potato having a warm, sweet savoury flavour. Pleasing, I liked this. Worth ordering!

Sweet Potato Agemono (SGD $3.90)


Sweet Potato Agemono



The homemade, Japanese style Potato Salad (SGD $3.90) here is among the better versions I've had. Chunks of creamy mashed potatoes, mixed with corn, carrots, cucumber, and a light mayonnaise, give this large side dish a delicate sweet savoury flavour. Served chilled, it's refreshing, and opens the palate for the meal to come. Best shared due to the large portion size. Good!

Potato Salad (SGD $3.90)


Potato Salad



Loved the Premium Tonkatsu Pork Loin Set (SGD $19.90). The star is the Tonkatsu Pork Loin, made with air-flown Japanese pork. Nicely crisp, golden brown crumb breading, yet not oily, the pork meat is juicy, tender, with delicious fatty savoury sweet flavour. The refreshing crunchy shredded Cabbage lends a burst of sweet earthy vegetal freshness, while the premium Niigata Rice is fluffy and fragrant, tasty enough on its own.

The special Tonjiru Soup here is made by simmering pork bones with water and miso paste for over 12 hours. The rich tonkatsu broth / soup is then fortified with carrots, spring onions, yuzu zest, burdock root, and daikon radish. Flavour is earthy sweet with a hint of savoury, very light and warming. The set is completed with fresh slices of Watermelon, juicy sweet and refreshing on the palate. Highly recommended!

Premium Tonkatsu Pork Loin Set
Premium Tonkatsu Pork Loin Set (SGD $19.90)


Tonkatsu Pork Loin & Cabbage


Tonkatsu Pork Loin


Cabbage


Niigata Rice


Tonjiru Soup


Watermelon



The Miso Pork Loin Set (SGD $17.90) features largely the same side dishes and ingredients, but the major difference is the addition of the house made, special miso sauce. It's made with a mix of good quality miso paste, the house tonkotsu broth, and fortified with red wine. The resulting sauce is rich and thick, with a deep robust flavour that has notes of earthy sweet savoury. Unique and delicious. Highly recommended!

Miso Pork Loin Set (SGD $17.90)


Miso Pork Loin & Cabbage


Miso Pork Loin



The Kyushu Tonkotsu Ramen (SGD $11.90) is pretty good, and closely resembles the style of ramen noodles you'll get in the Kyushu region of Japan. This means a thin and milky Tonkotsu / pork bone and vegetable soup / broth that is richly flavoured, having a savoury sweet flavour. Within are thin, non-curly, wheat flour ramen noodles that are bouncy in texture with a slight chew. The garnish of crunchy earthy wood ear fungus / black fungus, tender young bamboo shoots, fresh spring onions, a whole ajitama / seasoned soft boiled egg with a runny yolk, and savoury meaty cha shu pork loin slices, complete the dish. A sprinkling of sesame seeds and the inclusion of sharp sour pickled young ginger slices make this bowl of ramen noodles stand out. Good!

Kyushu Tonkotsu Ramen
Kyushu Tonkotsu Ramen (SGD $11.90)


Kyushu Tonkotsu Ramen



The lovely Goma Ice Cream (SGD $3.90) is rather hardy, taking quite long to melt. Love the creamy texture, and the rich, earthy sweet flavour of black sesame within. The garnish of white sesame seeds lends a welcome fragrance, and a slight crunch to texture. Good!

Goma Ice Cream (SGD $3.90)


Goma Ice Cream



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