Japanese Katsu or cutlets, commonly associated with the golden brown deep-fried breaded cutlets of meats and seafood. Definitely always a welcome food - who can quibble with deep-fried? Of course, for the few of us who do try to watch what we eat or eat the good stuff sparingly, we try to limit our katsu intake. But if most seem to think it's the best in the territory, any foodie worth her salt must try.
Unfortunately, there are many rules to dining at Tonkichi. First, take a number. Then you must ensure your whole party has arrived before you can seat. Thirdly, you only have an hour and 15 minutes to down it all, while trying to savor the experience. Hmm... pretty stressful. I can't believe the people who have voted this place "romantic". Far from it unless HongKongers have begun to like romance the way they work and live - Hectic!
We get seated, order the staples and told we need to wait about 15 to 20 mins for the food to arrive. Ok, that means 60 to 55 minutes to eat! Added stress... but we get a bowl of sesame seeds to play with. For the obsessive compulsive, you can grind away without engaging in conversation till your food arrives. Pretty good idea, huh? There are various schools of thought about how fine you need to go. I don't think there's a right answer. Ultimately, you need to pour the brown katsu sauce over it to get a sesame infused sauce. It's like peanut butter - do you like yours smooth or crunchy?
Exactly 15 minutes later, our tenderloin arrives. Note: there are 2 kinds of pork on offer - we chose the tenderloin over the fillet because we were told it has more marbling, juicier, and tastier. Check, check, and check.
And since the name of the restaurant has the word seafood in it, of course we order the assortment of shrimp, scallop, oyster and for good measure, a crab mayo croquette. I liked them all - very fresh and lightly done so as to retain the natural juicy crunchiness of each distinct piece of fruity de mare. The only one I didn't like was the crab croquette - way too much mayo for my liking and hardly any taste of crab.
Overall, I can see why people like this place. The cutlets are all done to perfection ie. well-fried and not greasy at all. Light and super crisp. Also, the use of good pork and seafood of course adds to the greatness of the cutlets. And for the health conscious, the free-flow of chilled shredded cabbage throughout the meal soaks up any grease, and helps you eat more than you should.
I'm not the sort to brave the queues ever so often but if I ever get a craving for katsu, this place certainly makes the list.
Room 412, Podium 4
World Trade Centre
280 Gloucester Road