I trust my boyfriend’s taste in good food. When he says a dish is really good, it’s worth making a trip down to the other side of our Sunny island to try out the glorious food which he raves about. This Tonkatsu and Ramen Japanese restaurant, Hajime, is located at one of Singapore’s food heavens, Serangoon Gardens. Trust me, this Japanese restaurants churns out really excellent Tonkatsu which is as good as the ones I’ve tried in Japan. And here’s another bonus – all prices here are nett. No GST and no service charges here – the price you see on the menu is the exact price you have to pay. And the best part is all of the dishes here costs below $20! (except for those daily specials) It is THAT affordable for the delicious and generous meal you are paying for.
My boyfriend enjoyed the Japanese food here so much that he decided to bring me here again a week after he frequent the place. We were there for lunch on a weekday after lunch hour so the place is pretty much very quiet. But I believe that this Japanese restaurant would be hyped up very soon once the word gets spread around.
Over here, they serve Tonkatsu, Ramen, Donburi and some sides. They also serve Katsu curry with rice which I might want to try it the next time I visit Hajime.
At each table, you will find condiments like Chili flakes, Tonkatsu sauce and dressing for the cabbage. Over here, their Niigata rice and cabbage is FREE FLOW!
Here’s their menu!
Once you’ve decided what you want to order, you just mark it down on the order sheet with a pencil at the table and make your payment at the booth. I actually like to frequent cafes or restaurants that requires you to pay before you eat and make separate payments. It is much easier to settle the bill especially when you are eating with your friends or colleagues.
I ordered the Miso Fillet Tonkatsu ($17.90) while my boyfriend ordered the Ume Tonkatsu ($21.90), which is their special dish of the day and it is not found on their daily menu. Their friendly staff would usually inform you about the daily specials and promotions.
Hajime is actually opened by Chef Tan-san whom we happen to see him on that day as we went from table to table to gather feedback from customers. We didn’t talk much to him but he seems like a very humble man who is very dedicated in what he is doing.
Our set meal is fit for a king! It comes with a bowl of Niigata rice which looked so shiny and polished, Tonjiru Soup with broth simmered in Japanese pork, roasted sesame, cabbage, tonkatsu and two slices of sweet watermelon. The high quality Japanese rice they serve is enough to make me rave about this restaurant because you probably could determine the standard of the food at a Japanese restaurant by tasting their rice. If they pay attention to the types of rice they choose, they would put in the equal effort to ensure that only high quality ingredients are used in their dishes.
The Tonjiru soup came as a surprise because I often thought that they serve miso soup but this is a very flavourful pork broth which actually tasted like those Chinese pork soup.
But nothing really beats the Tonkatsu they served here. Mine was exceptionally good and I highly recommend you guys to try their Tonkatsu which is served with Miso sauce. The pork fillet I had is evenly coated with golden breadcrumbs which is cooked to perfection. The fillet is no doubt tender and nice but I guess what makes their Tonkatsu so outstanding is that layer of golden bread crumbs which gives the Katsu just a nice and even crunch. The katsu I’ve eaten else where have over-fried bread crumb layer and thus looked very brown and dark in colour. But the katsu here has a light golden brown bread crumb layer which is also very flaky. If I am not wrong, the chef must have double coated the pork fillet to produce that even layer of crumbs. It isn’t really about the meat but that crust which I believe that most chefs would have overlooked. He got both the temperature of the oil and the timing right in order to produce such deliciously fine Tonkatsu.
The ume layer tonkatsu has got multiple thin layers of Japanese Pork Loin stacked together with Ume (Japanese Plum). It is equally good but I wouldn’t recommend this as it tasted pretty much the same as my pork fillet. And if you order the ume layer tonkatsu, you can only pair it with the Tonkatsu sauce. But for the miso fillet set, you get to pair the pork katsu with the extravagant dark miso sauce which I consider it to be a heavenly match. Unlike the tonkatsu sauce, the miso sauce is not sourish but very savoury.
I have not tried their ramen yet but my boyfriend said that their ramen and side dishes are equally good. Having said that, it is a good reason for me to head back with my friends and family. I would not only head back again for the second time but multiple times to come (especially when their service is excellent too!)
Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen
myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9
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