Rick and I finally checked out ION Orchard last week, nearly two months after its soft opening. Yeah, we intentionally went on a weeknight to avoid jostling with the crazy weekend crowds. What to do? Old already, no energy to out-squeeze the youngsters…
So many exciting new F&B players, but only one tummy. Ginza Bairin seemed like a good dinner choice, mainly because it was quite empty (read: immediate seats + short wait for food).
Established since 1927, Ginza Bairin is an offshoot of the original Ginza, Tokyo-based restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu. We ordered the pork loin and pork fillet teishoku (set meal).
The pork loin did not disappoint! Juicy and tender, the meat had a nice bite as well. The panko (breadcrumb) was a little coarse, but on the whole, the crust was light and crispy, and beautifully grease-free.
If I had to nitpick, the cutlet is a little thin, which makes the panko-to-pork ration just a bit too much. For now, my gold standard for tonkatsu is Tonkichi, but of course, Tonkichi is significantly pricier than Ginza Bairin.
With more choices, this just means good news for tonkatsu lovers. If I can afford to splurge, then Tonkichi it is. For something more pocket-friendly without compromising too much on quality, Ginza Bairin is a decent alternative.
The pork fillet is not something I’d order again. It was tender, but not moist nor tasty enough. To compare, the pork fillet at Tonkichi is way superior.
We didn’t think much of the accompanying pickles and dressing for the shredded cabbage, but they did help to effectively cut the grease. Instead of the usual miso soup, tonjiru is served. Being pork broth, it’s heartier than dashi stock. Less miso is used. There’s also slices of konnyaku, carrot, and daikon, if I recall correctly. I rather liked it, but Rick thought it could be less salty.
The set-up here is casual dining, almost fast food-like. You pay for your order at the counter, then grab a table. The food was served pretty fast. With soft drinks at S$2.00, a meal here costs around S$16.00. Besides teishoku, there’s also curry katsu rice, donburi, and katsu sandwich on the menu.
2 Orchard Turn
Tel: (65) 6509 8101
Open: 10am – 10pm daily