Sure, there’s a lot of places that serve tonkatsu, but it takes a special kind of genius to truly innovate and outshine against everybody else. I mean, where can you find tonkatsu made with 25 thin layers of pork with added fillings (seven different flavors) separating one flavor of deep, golden-fried pork cutlet from another? At Kimukatsu, no less.

Can you see the layers? 😛

Kimukatsu (キムカツ) originated from Japan and it now has multiple branches spread out in Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama, Sendai, etc. Outside Japan, Kimukatsu has branches in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Korea and now in the Philippines.

Kimukatsu opened at Shangri-la Plaza last December 20, 2013. It is located at the fifth level of the new wing of the mall just beside Ikkoryu Fukkuoka Ramen. Invited by Marketing Manager Rizza Meriado, I had the pleasure of meeting Kenji Komuro, Public Relations Director, for the second time and dining here together with other bloggers last Saturday. 🙂

Review of Kimukatsu Japanese Restaurant (Shangri-la Plaza, Mandaluyong)

Ambiance: ★★★★★

The place is quite spacious as it can fit around 60 customers. Designed with black chairs, black tables, black walls, black floor tiles and black lanterns hanging down from the ceiling, interior is very modern and minimalist.  The booths on the sides are cushy and the overall feel is cozy. Notice that there’s like an embossed illustration of cherry blossoms on one side of the wall. The picture is very captivating and this piece of art was one of the first things that caught my attention upon entrance to the dining area.

Service: ★★★★★

Hot tea was served immediately after I was seated, to give comfort. The waiter handed me their menu with easy grace.  Attentive and polite, staffs refill our glasses with water and tea cups with tea when they’re empty or nearly empty. I found this definitely a plus. Overall, their superb service made a big difference to our dining experience.

Food: ★★★★★

First on the taste test lineup was the Negi Shio Tofu (PHp 130 for three pieces). I was bit surprised that it was not served hot but not “bone-chilling cold” neither. The pieces were soft and silky and it was almost hard to grab with chopsticks. Flavor-wise, the tofu was subtle, a good appetizer for any meal.

Next was the Ebi Mayo (PHp 210), a simple but also fantastic appetizer. I thought the shrimps tasted like sweet gambas dipped on light mayonnaise and spruced with lime on the side. The presentation was drool-worthy so it can easily be a conversation piece for your dinner.

The star of the night, 7 Flavor Kimukatsu Set (PHp 2400), consisted of the following flavors:
1. Plain (PHp 380) – The katsu was fried slowly in low temperature and then set vertically to steam, allowing the heat to spread evenly inside. Covered in homemade Panko crumbs, this pork cutlet was light and juicy. The excess oil and fat drip down to the wire rack placed underneath, so each piece of katsu wasn’t greasy at all. The plain tonkatsu would be best ordered by purists who do not prefer the true flavor of the pork to be somewhat lost because of the flavored fillings.
2. Yuzu Kosho (PHp 430) – This exotic flavor is a traditional Japanese taste of yuzu fruits and green chili pepper. It was absolutely spicy! If you’re not eating it with rice, I bid you good luck. 😛 To tone the spice down, feel free to remove some of the green pepper surrounded by the layers of pork.
3. Negi Shio (PHp 380) – This is a refreshing flavor of marinated spring onions in every bite. It was tasty but not amazing compared to others.
4. Ume Shiso (PHp 430) – “Ume” is sour plum. This flavor is popular among females in Japan. The plum was sweet and tad weird to be combined with the tonkatsu.
5. Garlic (PHp 380 if ordered individually) – This comprised of fresh minced garlic, which I thought somewhat hid the true flavor of the pork.
6. Black Pepper (PHp 390) – The crispy exterior was well seasoned with a strong side of high-grade pepper.
7. Cheese (PHp 390) – With savory cheddar cheese oozing from the middle, this flavor hails as the best-selling flavor in Japan. This was also the best for me.

Kimukatsu offers three dips: the thick Kimukatsu sauce which is sweet, the ponzu sauce (vinegar) that has a nice citrus zing, and the Himalayan salt that gives a complementary whirl to the taste of the katsu. Customers can also add on the black sesame seeds to enhance the flavor of each condiment.

As part of the Kimukatsu set, the following items (unlimited, refills upon request) had also been good accompaniments to the katsu:

Fresh and crisp Shredded Cabbage makes a good salad by just adding vinaigrette

Crunchy Radish pickled in a spicy mixture and Assorted Veggies

Miso Soup in two variations (red/akai – stronger miso taste and white/shiro – milder miso taste and less salty)

The rice was not the ordinary Japanese rice served elsewhere but a special type also imported from Japan. Kimukatsu uses a slow-cooking process for the rice, bringing out a great glutenous texture. It’s cooked only at the moment customers order, so you can be rest assured that it tastes new and fresh (note: 15 minutes waiting time). The resulting individual grains were smooth and round.

With all the unli side dishes and rice, we were completely full (almost over-stuffed). But hey, how can we say no to desserts? 😉

We had the Sesame Seed Ice Cream (PHp 110) and Kurogoma Pudding (PHp 110), two sesame seed-inspired desserts that are extremely delicious. The fragrance of black sesame seeds was evident and the taste was divine and wholly addictive. These are the perfect candidates to end a meal and clean your palate.

Finally, we enjoyed the Japanese Panna Cotta (PHp 110) and the Macha Parfait (PHp 230). Different from the regular panna cotta texture, the Japanese Panna Cotta was not firm but soft and very creamy. The green tea parfait served with red bean paste, chestnut and shiratama, on the other hand, was as loaded as macha ice cream gets. The green tea flavor was grassy and robust but with sweet vanilla undertones. It was not inedibly bitter as the infused ingredients hinted on sweetness as well.

Price for Value: ★★★★★

Like many quality Japanese restaurants, Kimukatsu isn’t cheap. But what would you expect from a restaurant seated at Shangri-la Plaza? This place spells everything high class, and the prices are already quite reasonable considering the obvious: a massive amount of time and complexity goes into making the 25-layer pork katsu as delicious as possible.

I asked Kenji-san how much an order of katsu set costs in Japan. He said it’s more than PHp 900 and people there find the price average. I researched for prices offered at branches in the US and they’re a little over PHp 600+ when converted to Philippine pesos. Here, you can get the plain katsu with consistent and the same taste as the original for only PHp 380—and remember, that comes with all-you-can-eat Japanese rice, miso soup, cabbages and condiments. I have nothing to complain.

Confession: 我唔食豬. I don’t really eat pork and my body has allergic reactions to meat. Not long after dinner, I felt the itchiness on my skin, but it was bearable. I have my medications anyway. To encounter Kimukatsu’s signature katsu, an exception can surely be made.

Come try Kimukatsu’s flavored katsu for yourself and you probably won’t be satisfied with pork cutlets from other outlets again. Yup, be warned, this is a katsu crack. (They also have chicken katsu, scallop fry, ebi fry, seafood fry and vegetable fry sets.) If you’re not a fan of katsu, I also recommend you give Kimukatsu a try. It might just change your mind. Tip: Theirs are way better than Yabu’s. 😀

Level 5 Shangri-la Plaza East Wing, Shaw Boulevard cor. Edsa, Mandaluyong
For inquiries, contact (02) 727 0333
Date Published: 01/13/2014
20 / 20 stars

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

56 Responses

  1. Aldous

    Wow, I am honestly excited to try out the katsu hear after hearing that they are better than Yabu. I may have missed it pero pwede ba mixed un flavor ng katsu?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Like pizza flavors in Shakey’s? No. I’ve also thought about that actually. I bet more people would prefer to order that to get to try everything as each tonkatsu is precut by the kitchen into eight.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      This is the kind of meal that makes you think that sometimes food made with staple and simple ingredients (such as pork, bread crumbs, veggies, etc.) but with sophistication and creativity are often the most wonderful.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Whoa really? I’m glad that the first time you’ve read such review was on my blog; therefore, you would hardly forget about this site. 😛 Thanks for dropping by! Why not try these featured items? You might like them as well.

      Reply
  2. iswarya

    Wow..this is amazing…i have never been to japan but seems to be a great place.mouth watering food

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      A meal at Kimukatsu won’t quite take you to Japan, but for less costs, including the airfare, subway fare, etc., you can have a taste of authentic katsu and it’s worth to pay for. 🙂

      Reply
  3. Angela

    My husband and I love Japanese cuisine and I am sure my husband would be delighted to check this restaurant with me when we visit the Philippines. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  4. Joy

    the cozy ambiance and the great tasting katsu would really satisfy my cravings, now i know where to eat good tasting tonkatsu 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      These days, you don’t to be a big spender to have satisfying food Shangri-la Plaza’s finest restaurants. Kimukatsu is a top-notch destination that showcases food at reasonable prices. Hey, check out also the other new restos in the new wing. 😉

      Reply
  5. William

    It seems that the food in this restaurant is so delicious. It seldom for me to eat Japanese food. Hope I can taste it again.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yeah. Kimukatsu is packed during lunch and dinner time mostly. That being said, I suggest making reservations well in advance…or come slightly later or earlier than peak dining hours. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Mai

    This is a drool-worthy review indeed! I really love Japanese food, so I’m sure that I will be smitten with these Japanese offerings when I finally visit the restaurant. The price may be a bit steep on my usual food budget. But Kimukatsu sure is a must-try. By the way, have you tried dining at Yaku? 🙂

    Reply
  7. Steve Grayson

    Wow! Looking at the tonkatsu and other recipes is mouth-watering. Thanks for the tips and maybe will give Kimkatsu a try for special occasions only 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      When the food is on, it’s on. These dishes are like borrowed from an alternate reality where diners are run exclusively by surrealists and they’re awesome.

      Reply
  8. Vicky

    My og my this looks like a real feast of culinary delights. I myself would go for the tofu, but I know my other half would have to choose the tonkatsu.

    The resteraunt itself looks amazing – and I know I wouldn’t have been able to say no to desert either 😉

    Reply
  9. mary

    I can def see the layers of pork on the first photo! Yum! But it kinda looks expensive? I hope to try this when I go to MNL soon! x

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hi Mary! Thanks for your comment haha yup like I said, it’s quite expensive when compared to fast-food meals but average when compared to fancy restaurants. 😀

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Hehe yup pero di ko mabilang kung 25 talaga kasi maliliit diba. I think I need a magnifying glass. Anyway, I trust that it really is what it is based on the claim.

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Of course. I doubt if you can ever finish everything (all seven flavors) with rice and side dishes in one sitting by yourself haha. Bring your friends and you’ll have a good time. 😀

      Reply
  10. Joy Felizardo

    Tonkatsu made with 25 thin layers of pork with added fillings?!? Whoah! That’s something I got to try! A new concept and delightful one at that!

    Reply
  11. Yesha

    Wow! I love Tonkatsu it’s my fave next to Yakiniku
    Will definitely try this and hopefully I can visit ’em this weekend 🙂

    Now I’m craving ha-ha
    Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  12. Salmonpastel

    I haven’t tried Yabu’s yet but I love tonkatsu. My mom knows how to cook one so it’s a usual dish when we have an event/occasion. This restaurant looks nice and posh. Since you mentioned that this restaurant is better than Yabu, then it’s in my list 🙂

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Wow! I bet your mom is a good cook. Treating her to Kimukatsu may be a good idea so she can probably replicate their dishes and make them at home for the family. 😛

      Reply
  13. Mei

    I am not really into Japanese cuisine but after seeing this, I guess I might try it soon! The Kimukatsu looks really good!

    Reply

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