Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage at Serangoon Gardens, 1 Maju Avenue
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
Before I start gushing about the food I had, I'd just want to say that myVillage spent a lot of $ on making the trees around the mall super friggin pretty, so if you're around the area, please don't waste it and take some photos with the lights, they look amazing hahah!
I took these photos at Level 2 outdoors area, just right beside Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen!
The other day, the four of us had dinner at Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen, and it was honestly the best Japanese comfort food I've ever had in Singapore!
And guess what?
NOTHING ABOVE $20, NO SERVICE CHARGE, NO GST!
Chef Tan-san, the owner of Hajime, has been in the culinary world for 25 years, and has a strong passion for Japanese cuisine.
Having mastered the art of Tonkatsu in Japan, he returned to Singapore in 1993 and became the first Tonkatsu chef in Singapore.
I won't go into too much details, because I believe the taste of the food speaks for itself the moment you taste it, but Tan-san takes pride in preparing his dishes with wholesome ingredients.
For example, he uses imported Niigata rice grown in pristine waters from melting snow for his dishes, HOME MADE SAUCES (including tartar sauce), and even prepares FRESHLY made breadcrumbs for his Tonkatsu breading!
SO. MUCH. EFFORT!!!!
But oh my god I have to tell you, you really can taste the difference.
HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
There's a reason I want to put so much emphasis to this because everybody NEEDS TO at least try it once in their lives!!!
I've had something similar to this in Japan from a renowned restaurant, but I feel like the in-house customised Miso sauce from Hajime was lighter, smoother and suited my preference better!
We finished this within MINUTES because it was simply irresistible.
As I'm typing this I'm having cravings, and I can still vividly remember the yummy, sweet and salty flavour of the miso sauce gently embracing the crispy slices of breaded fillet OMG.... so we're actually going to drive over to myVillage to have this for dinner despite the heavy rain :P
Chef Tan-san used to work in Tampopo, and this Tonkatsu Ramen was his creation there, so you can expect the quality to be top notch!
The Tonkotsu Broth is simmered in-house for 12 hours with no added MSG.
I absolutely love the chewy texture of the noodles and I could easily have 2 bowls of this in one seating lol!
And the broth, oh my god the broth. One word - DIVINE~~~~
Our side dishes - Roasted Edamame, Gyozas & Ebi Fry.
Tan-san likes to put a unique twist to the dishes we'd usually expect.
In this case, roasted edamame with a smoky flavour instead of the regular boiled edamame!
Really whets your appetite for the dishes that are coming up! :P
We also had Gyozas made using a traditional recipe, really crispy skin with juicy and flavourful fillings.
The taste was further heightened by the Japanese la yu (chili oil) dip that came along with it!
Unlike the pre-breaded alternatives you get from most other restaurants, the Ebi Fry at Hajime is BREADED ONLY UPON ORDER!
While there may be some waiting time during peak lunch/ dinner timings, this level of freshness & quality definitely is worth your anticipation!
Fresh bread crumbs are also used to ensure that the ebi fry remains crispy after a long time..... but of course we couldn't wait that long and finished the dish in a heartbeat LOL!
If you're the type with super strong determination, maybe you can challenge their ebi fry and eat it only after some time has passed to see if it really remained really crispy or not :P
Apparently there's also a technique to prepare the ebi such that the tail will flare out so perfectly like a fan!
To be honest, I've never really known about pork having different grades and different cuts just like beef, and so I actually learnt quite a bit from this meal!
This Premium Pork Loin uses a premium cut Japanese Air Flown Pork due to its juiciness & tenderness. Nothing like the usual dry-ish tonkatsu we usually have elsewhere.
Also freshly breaded upon order, the tonkatsu has a crisp, light and non-oily exterior which makes it really delicious!
The dish is also served with roasted sesame, and you're suppose to grind it (as finely as you'd prefer) before pouring in the in-house made tonkatsu sauce to enhance the flavour for dipping the katsu!
Specially made for the upcoming festive season would be the Ume Layer Tonkatsu that we tried!
This version of Tonkatsu is unique and not commonly found in Singapore because it's so tedious to make.
Each layer of thinly sliced Japanese Pork is stacked on top of each other, and infused with Ume (Japanese Plum) & Spinach in the middle.
Extra effort and skills are also required to ensure that this masterpiece doesn't fall apart during breading and frying..... I really have to give credit to Tan-san and his crew for their patience and attention to details in every single dish man!
Because of the tangy flavour of the Ume, it gives a lighter and more refreshing flavour to the Tonkatsu, great for those who get gelat easily from eating fried food!
Ended off our meal with the ultimate comfort food - Katsudon.
We were beyond stuffed at this point, and I told myself "okay, just one mouthful", but I found myself going back for seconds LOL!
Instead of cooking the Pork Fillet Katsu with the sauce & egg, they have the katsu laid over the Niigata rice with seaweed pieces in between them.
Then comes the runny eggs, which has been cooked together with caramelised onions & home-made Donburi sauce, laid over the katsu!
This allows some of the sauce to flow into the rice, while making sure the katsu doesn't turn soggy.
Quite a cacophony of textures going on in this dish - runny eggs, crispy katsu, crunchy caramelised onions, smooth white Niigata rice, perfectly bonded together by the savory Donburi sauce!
Tan-san's also put thought into the fruit he served with the katsu sets, which is Watermelon.
Reason being watermelon is one of the best fruits in cooling you down after the hearty meal!
I'm honestly very touched by Tan-san's efforts & sincerity put into preparing his food freshly, and insisting on not using any mass produced/ pre-made/ bottled stuff.
I have great respect for chefs who are passionate about their crafts!
Also, my wallet will thank him for a very long time to come for charging nothing above $20 so I can always enjoy quality food at a super reasonable price!
This gem of a place called Hajime tucked in a cosy corner of myVillage (Serangoon Gardens area) will definitely go far!
They just opened a few months ago, so go try it out before it gets too popular and you have to queue HOURSSS for a seat hahah!
Chef Tan-san, hwaiting!!!!!
I mean ganbatte!!!!! ^~^
Hello! I'm Rachell Tan,
a blogger from Singapore! Here's my personal space where I pen down my experiences, recommend my favourite places, food and things.
I'm also an avid fan of DIY projects, so you can expect them once in awhile as well!
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