Saboten is synonymous with tonkatsu and all things breadcrumbed and deep-fried. The newly-opened city outlet of this Japanese chain is distinguished by a perpetually long queue, but a couple of our (very indulgent and patient) friends waited in line so we could 'rip off' the benefits and arrived only after they'd gotten a table.
All of the proteins were paired with a rather pedestrian miso soup, chawanmushi cup, pickles and rice, for a complete meal. Sesame seeds, a mix of the white and black varietals, were also given to toss with Saboten's in-house tonkatsu sauce, a lively, worchestershire-like, fruit-based, brown sauce. This was one kind of exceptional, and its bright piquancy brought the sometimes jejune cutlets to a whole new level.
The Ebi Katsu Loin Set ($25) combined a succulent minced prawn cutlet and medium-sized breaded pork loin. The golden breadcrumbed coat was thick and crisp, sealing in the moisture and providing a lovely contrast of textures.
A seasonal special, the Iberico Loin Katsu Set ($28) using the prized Spanish pork, was disappointingly lackluster. It was a little dry, and we couldn't tell if this pork was any different from the usual pork.
We generally preferred the katsudons over the tonkatsu. The Chicken Katsudon ($19) slushed egg scramble with 2 fat slabs of chicken cutlet and slathered with a salty, onion-sweetened donburi sauce over rice.
The Hunwari Tenderloin Katsudon ($20.50), a mini pork tenderloin version of the chicken katsudon, was just as luscious.
313 Somerset #B2-02
313 Orchard Road
Tel: 6333 3432
Open daily from 11am to 10pm