Monday, January 20, 2014

Kimukatsu: The 25 Layer Difference

How do you tweak something tried and tested like tonkatsu? At Kimukatsu, they've done just that...

Twenty-five layers of select pork cutlet. And seven distinct flavors. Think of it as a tonkatsu version 2.0 upgrade. 

With its expanding network of locations in Japan, Korea, and the US, Kimukatsu now brings its signature 25-layered pork cutlet to the Philippines with its very first branch in Manila.

Kimukatsu is well-established, with a strong presence in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, and Sendai. And at the center of Kimukatsu's success is its innovative 25-layered select pork cutlet covered in a light yet crispy, texture-rich batter. 

Inside Kimukatsu, one finds elegant and traditional elements with a predominantly black motif, a stunning and dramatic backdrop to Kimukatsu's signature pork cutlet.   

The familiar condiments are laid out neatly on each table. The ritual of preparing your own sauce just adds to the overall dining experience. After grinding the sesame seeds, pour some tonkatsu sauce. Next, pour some ponzu sauce in the next compartment, then add some Himalayan salt on the third partition. Why three condiments? Read on...

The freshly shredded cabbage is then served, and Kimukatsu offers two dressings, a creamy roasted sesame
dressing and a ponzu-based dressing. Each set comes with unlimited cabbage, rice, miso and Japanese pickles.

Kimukatsu offers eight flavorful sides to go with your katsu meal, including the light Agedashi Tofu (P 180), a traditional hot tofu appetizer. Deep-fried for a crisp outer layer while retaining the soft tofu texture and covered in dashi, mirin and shoyu topped with fresh spring onions.

Kimutaku (P 110), a pickled vegetable side with spices and sprinkled with sesame seeds. The vegetables have a crunch that resembles kimchi, and pairs well with your katsu meal. Others sides include Negi Shio Tofu, Ebi Mayo, Edamame, Tatsuta-Age, Tomato Marinate, and Japanese-style Potato Salad.

Hot miso soup comes with the katsu set, and you have a choice of red or white miso. I start with the more familiar red miso and its sharp, more pronounced flavors. In contrast, the white miso has a creamier, more subtle flavor. 

Kimukatsu serves premium and imported Koshihikari rice, prepared a la minute, or as you order, to ensure you get soft, fluffy rice with a distinct pearly shine and the freshest, cleanest flavors. Using a special immersion process, every order is cooked in fifteen minutes. With clockwork precision, Kimukatsu perfectly times the preparation of both the katsu and rice and served to you at its freshest. And here's a cool tip: add some of the crushed sesame seeds to your bowl of rice for added flavor. 

Then, the first of the Kimukatsu's signature pork cutlet arrived. Ume Shiso (P 430/130g), a traditional Japanese flavored katsu with sour plum and shiso leaf. At Kimukatsu, each katsu is delicately coated with panko from Japan and imported bread crumbs for a light yet crisp texture. Select pork loin is then sliced into 1mm thin sheets, carefully layered and stacked. Each katsu consists of 25 layers of select pork loin, and deep-fried at a low temperature for eight minutes at most, resulting in a light, fluffy, and incredibly juicy katsu for a unique dining experience.

A closer look reveals the re-engineered katsu with the distinct 25-layer construction. The sweet and salty pickled plums and shiso add a unique layer of flavor to the juicy pork cutlet. A traditional flavor, the Ume Shiso is best dipped in ponzu, a lighter tart citrus-based sauce. The usual tonkatsu sauce simply overpowers the delicate flavors of the Ume Shiso, so go for the ponzu sauce. With seven flavor variants of katsu, Kimukatsu offers three condiments to match each flavor.

Cheese (P 390/130g), Kimukatsu's bestselling variant with rich and creamy cheddar cheese. The cheddar filling blends well with the juicy pork loin, with rich flavors. The Cheese Katsu has a more broader appeal with its flavor profile, and pairs well with the bold flavors of the traditional dark tonkatsu sauce.

Delicately crisp and light, the breaded outer layer contrasts with the juicy layered cutlet, flavorful as is, and pumped up with the cheese filling. The layered katsu not only makes each cutlet juicier, but noticeably tender than the usual pork cutlet.

Yuzu Kosho (P 430/130g), another traditional Japanese flavor with yuzu fruits and green chili pepper, adding a layer of refreshing heat. Most may find this variant a little spicy, but I enjoyed this. Best paired with the lighter ponzu sauce, the yuzu and green chili filling makes this another unique variant found only at Kimukatsu.

One can just imagine the tedious process behind each katsu, from the premium ingredients, preparation to the cooking of each pork cutlet. And all it takes is one bite to taste the "25-layer" difference. You can also try Kimikatsu's Assorted Sets, with a combination of three to seven flavored pork cutlets, great for groups and family.

A light, crisp batter, and the tender, juicy layers of pork combine for one awesome katsu experience. Other tonkatsu flavor variants include Negi Shio (P 380/130g) with traditional marinated spring onions, Black Pepper (P 390/130g) coated with high-grade black pepper, Garlic (P 380/130g) with minced garlic, and Plain (P 380/130g), the standard Kimukatsu pork cutlet.

In addition to Kimukatsu's seven flavor variants, other katsu dishes are also available, including Premium Kurobuta Katsu Sets like Kurobuta Kimukatsu Set (P 595/130g), and the Kurobuta Tonkatsu (Rosu) Set (P 535/100g, P 595/130g). Also known as "black hog" pork, Kurobuta pork is known for its richness, texture, marbling and juiciness. Other katsu dishes include the Pork Loin (Rosu) Set (P 380/130g), Pork Tenderloin (Hire) Set (P 380/130g), Menchi (Minced) Set (P 380/130g), a flavorful blend of ground pork, beef and onions, and Chicken Katsu Set (P 380/130g), tender and juicy chicken breast fillet. Kimukatsu also offers seafood sets like the Ebi Fry Set (P 495/4 pcs), Kaki Fry Set (P 465/4 pcs), the Assorted Seafood Set (P 480) with ebi, oysters, and scallops, and Assorted Vegetable Fry (P 230) with okra, eggplant, zucchini, and sweet potato. Looking for something light? Go for the Tonkatsu Sandwich (see more here at

Cap your meal with one of Kimukatsu's seven Japanese desserts, like the Soy Cotta (P 180), a cool Japanese twist on the panna cotta using soft and silky bean curd...

...or the Kurogoma Pudding (P 110), a black sesame pudding that pairs well with Kimukatsu's hot tea. Other desserts include Macha Parfait, Japanese Panna Cotta, Ice Cream in vanilla, sesame seed and green tea flavors, Sorbet, and Shingen Ice cream with Kuromitsu syrup and kinako.

To ensure that all dishes conform to Kimukatsu's standards, the kitchen is led by a chef from Japan. From presentation to flavor, each dish is served the same way as it is served back in Japan.

Twenty-five layers and seven flavors. Traditional yet new and different, Kimukatsu successfully reinvents the pork katsu, offering a totally unique and distinct dish. The infusion of flavors and fillings also provide differentiation to set it apart from the others. And it works. Special thanks to Mr. Kenji Komuro, Director of Public Relations, for an awesome katsu experience at Kimukatsu.

Kimukatsu is located at Level 5, Shangri-La Plaza East Wing, Shaw Boulevard corner EDSA, Mandaluyong City or call 727-0333 for inquiries and reservations. 

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