There seems to be a trend of ex-restaurants chefs coming out to set up their own stalls. Let me see… ex-Crystal Jade, ex-Tim Ho Wan, ex-Jumbo, and of course ex-Din Tai Fung chefs selling fried rice with pork chop.
Maruhachi Donburi & Curry at Edgefield Plains Punggol got into the limelight because the owner-hawker was an ex-head chef of a famous tonkatsu restaurant at ION Orchard for 9 years.
Let me guess… Ginza Bairin? (With that said, Ginza Bairin in Singapore back then didn’t taste quite like the Tokyo standards, even though I did have it a few times.)
So, Maruhachi has opened a second stall at a kopitiam within Blk 51 of Havelock Road, somewhere near Beo Crescent Food Centre.
While this area is considered more central, it is more known to be an older estate known for some of its Teochew eateries.
On its menu are three main sections – Teishoku sets served with Japanese rice and miso soup, Curry Rice, and Donburi bowls.
Some of the highlights include Blackpig Katsu Set ($15.80), Pork Katsu Set ($11.80), Chicken Katsu Set ($10.80), Ebi Prawn Fry Set ($13.80), Chicken Karaage Set ($10.80), Kaki Oyster Fry Set ($15.80), Pork Katsu Curry ($9.80), and Pork Fillet Katsu Curry ($10.80).
There are also Special Pork Katsu Don ($12.80), Special Chicken Katsu Don ($11.80), Una Tama Don ($11.80), with the cheapest item on the menu probably the Oyako Don ($7.80),
While the items are definitely more affordable than those in Japanese restaurants, it is still considered pricier say compared to the average Japanese kopitiam or hawker stall.
However, quality pork from USA and Canada are used, along with fluffy and sticky Japanese rice.
I wanted to try something more indulgent, and ordered a Special Blackpig Katsu Don ($16.80).
While the appearance of the bowl looked okay-only, the pork cutlet was succulent and meaty, with a good balance of lean meat to fats ratio. So conclusion: tasted better than it looked.
Fresh bread crumbs aka nama panko is used to ensure crispiness of the katsu, while the meats are deep-fried in 100% cottonseed oil to highlight the aroma and flavour of the katsu.
I also ordered a cheaper Pork Katsu Curry ($9.80) for comparison of the meat texture, and you get a leaner (slightly dryer) cut with less of that melt-in-your-mouth fattiness.
While I would have personally preferred the outer layer to be crisper, the curry was thick and flavourful, and didn’t lean too spicy or to the sweet side. Though I would have loved some soft potatoes and carrots in there.
If I were to pick, I would still go for the Blackpig version for a more satisfying bite, but be prepared to fork out a few dollars ($4) more.
Maruhachi Donburi & Curry
51 Havelock Road, Singapore 161051
Opening Hours: 11am – 3pm, 5pm – 9pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues
Maruhachi Donburi & Curry
671 Edgefield Plains, Singapore 821673
Opening Hours: 11am – 9pm (Mon, Wed – Sun), Closed Tues