Fancy chazuke (Japanese dish made by pouring green tea over cooked rice)? Prior to the trip to Japan last June, I'd never tried one before. Hence, I made it a point to drop by one of the most popular restaurants serving a combination of tonkatsu (Japanese breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet) chazuke in Shinjuku, after walking past the entertainment and red-light district of Kabukicho. Haha...
Tonkatsu Chazuke ¥1,500 (~S$18.85)
Served on a hotplate, the crispy and juicy pork cutlets were buried under a mass of sweet cabbages. I chose the standard soy sauce flavour (others include mustard soy sauce and Habanero pepper sauce) which gave the dish adequate saltiness. The miso (Japanese fermented rice, barley and/or soybean) soup was a bit too light on the palate though. "So... Where's the tea?" you ask?
After eating halfway, I pressed the bell on the table for the waiter to brought me a pot of hot green tea. I assembled some pork cutlets and cabbages on top of the rice before pouring the green tea, and added a dollop of wasabi (Japanese horseradish) for added flavours. It was pretty much a comfort dish, but I have to say I'm not really a big fan of chazuke. Most notably, I couldn't bear the loss of the crispiness of the pork cutlets.
Pork Fillet Curry Rice ¥1,700 (~S$21.35) (Set Menu)
The pork fillets were equally crispy and tender. The highlight of the meal was, of course, the curry sauce which was thick and bursting with flavours. It wasn't exactly spicy, but full of sweetness. Fresh shredded cabbages were served together, which went well with the adequately thick goma (lit. sesame) dressing provided on each table (not shown).
Pickles were also given at the beginning of the meal. With a bit of sweetness there, a bit of sour there, and a citrusy tang of yuzu (a species of aromatic Asiatic citron) shavings, they were really nice to munch on.
Taste: 8.5/10Ambience: 8/10
Pika's advice: The moment I saw the not-so-obvious sentence in the menu - ご飯・ キャベツ・お味噌汁のお替りは無料です - I knew that it had to be the advice to give. You can ask for rice, cabbage and miso soup as much as you want because they're free! I ate two bowls of Japanese rice, and I was satisfied. That ought to be one of the most value-for-money dinner set meals in a restaurant in Tokyo!
(Daily: 11.00am - 11.00pm)
*Prices quoted are nett prices.
Have a nice meal,Cliff(y)