Unassuming Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen existed for 18 months, however, most of us have yet to discovered this hidden, unpolished gem. Located at MyVillage in the Serangoon Gardens area, whereby it is neighbour to the famous Chomp Chomp Food Centre, is rather secluded perhaps explain why it is not getting much attention. Within the same building, there are Cleanse Bar and Little Wimbly Lu, an overview for those who aren’t familiar with the area.
Helmed by Chef Tan-san who has 25 years of culinary experience is the first Tonkatsu Chef in Singapore to master the art of Tonkatsu in Japan. Upon his return to Singapore, he led Tonkichi Kitchen and subsequently, was the Pioneer Chef of Tampopo.
The philosophy of Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen is to go back to the food’s beginning and offering warm welcome all patrons. This is represented in the name of the restaurant whereby Hajime 初め is the Japanese word for “beginning” and the short form of Hajimemashite which means “Nice to meet you”.
Co-owned by Chef Tan-san and his son-in-law, Ng Soon Hui. Both are extremely dedicated to the mastery. A perfectionist, Chef Tan-san prides himself in serving the perfect dish to each and every guest who dine at his restaurant. While Soon Hui is committed to offer Hajime’s customer service excellence; rememberin the preference of their returned guests and trying his very best to satisfy their requests. I can feel the passion and genuine love they have for the craft. They aren’t here to solely rip a profit but are here to serve the best delicacy.
In case, you still aren’t sure what Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen is serving, they specialised in Tonkatsu and Ramen. In addition, on their menu are a handful of Donburi, curry rice, sides and desserts, to satisfy the palate of sophisticated diners.
Our first side was a Chef’s Choice, the Tori Karaage ($5.50). Tasty succulent chicken with a crispy outer. Even the sauce was worth a mention. Dipping the fried chicken into the light sweetish sauce to complete the experience.
Next up was the Potato Korokke ($4.50), despite it wasn’t a Chef’s Choice, it is a worthy option. Among the mashed potato was minced pork. Coated with a good layer of Panko to give a crisp outer. This same panko was used in the cutlet.
Ebi Fry Ramen ($16.90) is a new innovation, created out of a customer request to replace the Tonkatsu with Fried Ebi for the Tonkatsu Ramen. The rich and robust pork broth was with Sakura Prawn paste. Furthermore, this bowl of comfort ramen accompanied with a flavourful sweetish braised pork to complement the briny broth. The pairing was perfect.
Ramen was lightly chewy. It even soaked up the essence of the broth without turning it soggy. In addition, I was glad that the alkaline taste was absent.
Chef paid attention down to the finest detail. He didn’t even miss the prawn-tail; ensuring them opening up like a fan in every prawn.
Premium Pork Loin ($21.90) is also a Chef’s Choice, the best seller at Hajime. Before trying it, I was skeptical about Tonkatsu as by far, none impressed me. At my first bite, I was blown away by all aspects of this simple piece of meat. Chef has put in so much thoughts, effort and technique in preparing them. Panko closely attached to the meat, there were no gap between them. In addition, the meat was succulent after deep-frying. Most important it tasted so fabulous. Yummy was not even worthy a description.
Though eating the cutlet alone was good enough, dipping into the sauce with ground sesame was even better. It was heavenly.
Painstaking details on the fineness and the sauce of cabbage were considered. Rice was from Niiagata prefecture where the best sake is prouce. Chef took effort to ensuring that every items on the dish complemented each other well.
Lastly, was the Nagoya Miso Fillet ($19.50). Even though it was fillet, the meat wasn’t dry at all. The fillet sat on a generous amount of Nagoya Miso. These nagoya miso was with red wine to make it more palatable.
When ordering any Tonkatsu set, it came with free flow of rice and cabbage.
We at NAHMJ no doubt highly recommend Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen. If I thought of Tonkatsu, I thought of Hajime. I will surely return for the Premium Pork Loin and Ebi Fry Ramen.
Hajime Tonkatsu and Ramen
1 Maju Avenue, #02-07/8/9, myVillage @ Serangoon Gardens, Singapore 556679
Mondays – Fridays 1130 to 1500, 1800 to 2200 | Saturdays, Sundays & Public Holidays 1130 to 1500, 1700 to 2200
[Last order at 2130]
- Serangoon Garden Circus – 73, 136, 315, 317
- North-East line / Circle line – Serangoon station
- Circle line – Lor Chuan station
[Tip: Take the MRT and alight at Serangoon station. Then, take bus 315 or 317 from the Serangoon Bus Interchange to Serangoon Gardens]
*Disclaimer: This was a media invite.