The Place Paya Lebar is certainly heating up with plenty of food concepts. The latest to open in this part of the east is Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke, one of the many innovative concepts of the Keisuke Group. The 23-seater restaurant is located at level one of Paya Lebar Square (same mall as Charcoal-Grill & Salad Bar Keisuke), with a focus on a very popular type of Japanese cuisine, Tonkatsu.
Shiokoji is a type of hundred year old fermented rice seasoning ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and one of the key highlights of Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke is that the pork here is marinated in shiokoji before being fried. Another proud highlight of the brand is that the frying techniques here reduces oil retention on the tonkatsu by 50% using their state-of-the-art dryers as compared to traditional deep-frying methods. Less oily than usual? Let’s see.
The Food As with most Keisuke concepts, the reason it is so popular is because of the very competitive price tag. The cheapest tonkatsu pork set meal starts from S$16.90++, which brings it to below S$20 nett! Comparatively, the cheapest ala carte tonkatsu pork is priced at S$10.90++ for the same 120g Shiokoji Pork Loin Katsu.
Each set meal comes with a fried half-boiled egg, rice, miso soup and Japanese pickles. As with that is not enough, there is also a free flow salad bar with various types of sauces to help yourselves to.
I tried both the Shiokoji Pork Tenderloin Katsu Set (120g/S$18.90) and the Shiokoji Pork Loin Katsu Set (120g/S$16.90). You get a slightly fattier flavour for the tenderloin and the tonkatsu is fried to a nice crispy texture. That said, the taste is quite marginal for me so I would recommend just going for the pork loin for better value. If you order the set, the fried half-boiled egg is delicious.
Is the fried pork less oily than usual? Psychologically, it tastes so. My take is that do not have this with the expectation that the fried pork will not be oily at all, after all, it is still deep-fried.
Pork aside, there are also non-pork options like chicken katsu and for my case, I also tried some of the Salmon Rare Katsu (S$11.90 for ala carte). This dish is surprisingly very good, and it steals the thunder for me as compared to the pork katsu. The outer skin is crispy like the pork katsu, yet the texture and colour of the salmon inside is still bright orange and I can taste the freshness of the salmon. The overall flavour is also less cloying as compared to the pork katsu.
Rants Space is small, so be prepared for some wait. Due to the open kitchen concept, be prepared for some lingering smell of oil after your meal.
Will I Return Again? Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke offers one of the most value for money tonkatsu set in Singapore at the moment. I am always in awe with how much ideas and concepts the Keisuke group is able to create over the years and this tonkatsu concept is no exception. Give this a try if you are in Paya Lebar.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 3.5/5
Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke
60 Paya Lebar Road
#01-02/03 Paya Lebar Square
Tel: +65 6214 3345
Monday to Friday: 11:30am to 2.30pm; 5:30pm to 10.00pm
Saturday to Sunday: 11.30am to 10.00pm
Ranted by The Ranter