foodXculture: Ramen Champion Keisuke Takeda Launches Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke – a first-of-its-kind Tonkatsu dining for health-conscious diners
Keisuke Takeda might be best known as the Ramen Champion, but with his newest establishment at Paya Lebar Square, the award-winning Japanese chef is going down the tonkatsu route!
Renowned for his ability to elevate Japanese comfort food, the 23-seater Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke launches on 13th November as a brand new fusion concept, following other fusions such as Hamburg, Omurice, Napolitan Spaghetti and more in recent years. With Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke, Keisuke introduces ‘shiokoji’ to the Singaporean palate; a fermented rice seasoning ingredient with over a hundred years of history in Japanese cuisine, that helps naturally enhance the umami flavour in foods.
Using only the finest selection of pork such as tenderloin and loin meat, these meats are marinated with shiokoji before being dunked into a tray of breadcrumbs, coated evenly before dipped into a low-temperature fryer to slowcook the meat. The cutlets are then immersed into a high-temperature fryer to achieve a crispy outer layer. With state-of-the-art Water Molecule Control technology, 50% less oil was absorbed into the meat during the deep-frying process, and is ideal for the health-conscious eater who still wants to enjoy their hearty slabs of tonkatsu. Shiokoji is also used with its inherent health benefits, including low sodium content, its role as a natural probiotic to aid digestion, anti-ageing and skin-clearing properties, and having compounds that reduce risk of chronic diseases.
Even if you’re not into pork, the restaurant has ensured that there’s something for everyone, with alternative meats such as Salmon Rare Tonkatsu and Tuna Rare Tonkatsu for pescatarian customers. Unlike the meats, the fish is deep-fried in an intense high temperature for a shorter period of time, making the tonkatsu crunchy on the outside, but soft and rare on the inside. Chicken Tonkatsu is also available.
And for those who can’t get enough of their greens, customers can even customise their own Rolled Pork & Vegetables Tonkatsu where they ‘mix and match’ up to five vegetables of their choice, from over twenty different vegetables available (plus, cheddar cheese!). These vegetables will then be wrapped in pork to create their own unique Rolled Pork & Vegetables Tonkatsu. And if that’s still not enough, the restaurant also comes with a free-flow Salad Bar for unlimited servings of fresh, crunchy shredded cabbage and a daily selection of fresh greens.
At the Tonkatsu Sauce Bar, choice is king, with black vinegar and olive oil, along with 4 other seasonal salad dressings such as the all-time favourite sesame sauce and Japanese soybean dressing. Plus, diners are even encouraged to get creative and craft their own blend of Tonkatsu sauce from a selection of over 10 different sauce bases, Samurai Sauce (a mixture of chilli sauce, tomato ketchup and mayonnaise), Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce, Japanese Ponzu Sauce and more, along with 6 different garnishes to top your creation off with. If anything, this certainly encourages repeat visits to Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke, as each visit will be made unique thanks to all the possible combinations one can create.
Speaking to Keisuke Takeda himself, we discussed his journey from Ramen Champion till today, with Keisuke first having set up shop here almost 10 years ago. “Back then, there weren’t that many restaurants which offered an authentic Japanese dining experience,” Keisuke says. “And when I came here, it was quite a shock that Singaporeans didn’t like my ramen that much! So I panicked and quickly learnt how to adapt my recipe for local tastes and make it more palatable for Singaporeans.”
He eventually decided that Singapore would act as the headquarters for all overseas projects, and with expansions planned in the USA and Hong Kong, his businesses are certainly fast expanding. With Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke, he hopes to bring an all-new dining experience to Singaporeans, with his unique spin on the usual tonkatsu. Says Keisuke: “I want people to come back again and again, and enjoy an authentic Japanese dining experience with a difference, and make sure nobody gets bored.”
From the abundance of greens to the healthier method of cooking each slab of prime meat, Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke promises a cosy, delicious dining experience with a quintessentially Japanese atmosphere, putting a new twist on your usual tonkatsu experience and only serves to continue Keisuke’s reign as an innovative mind in the world of Japanese fusion cuisine.
Shiokoji Tonkatsu Keisuke opens to the public on 13th November 2019, Wednesday at 60 Paya Lebar Road #01-02/03 Paya Lebar Square, Singapore 409051. For the latest news updates and information, visit Ramen Keisuke’s Facebook fan page or check out their Instagram profile @ramen_keisuke.