Another Katsu Place? Nah. Kimukatsu Is Different. They Have A Secret Garden.

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For starters, Kimukatsu is NOT tonkatsu. It’s tonkatsu that’s 25 (YES, TWENTY FIVE) times better than the tonkatsu you may call ‘the best’. It’s rolled pieces of of your preferred pork cuts until thin. And one tonkatsu goes on top of another, and on top of another. Twenty five layers later, it gets breaded and cooked on a fry slow for eight minutes and let alone in two to distribute heat. It’s tonkatsu for everyone. Heck, at times it’s even tonkatsu on two pieces of bread! It is, I think, the best tonkatsu that one couldn't just imitate and make at home.

This is what I experienced last Saturday when I ate at the first Kimukatsu branch located on the 5th floor of the new Shangri-la East Wing Mall. It’s neatly situated beside my favourite ramen in the whole wide Manila, Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. Just in case some of you didn’t know, Kimukatsu already has other stores and is very successful in Japan, Hawaii, Seoul, and the US. The Manila branch opened its doors on December 22, 2013, and I just love it how these Katsu Gods just keep coming to our shores.

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The restaurant only allows walk-in customers, but looks like everyone's here!
But before I move on to the dishes, I just wanted to say that I am very impressed with the interiors at Kimukatsu. This 60-around seating restaurant comes with a vibe that is very much like being outside a Japanese garden. The cherry blossom tree wall design amidst the Japanese lanterns atop the ceiling is utterly stunning. 

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As soon as you enter the resto, the painting slash divider, which is made by the same artist of Ikkoryu, boasts a Japanese poem about love and going outside to watch the moonlight kind of story (if my translations are quite right haha). 

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The VIP room is definitely a favourite sight. Very authentic! It’s made very much like Japanese home, and inside are the same cherry blossom themed dividers and dining area.

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This is something new for those who wanted to get this area for meetings or private dinners with family and friends. Just don’t forget to take off your shoes.

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Time for ordering. One of the cool things at Kimukatsu is that everything is color coded. There's a white menu for girls, while boys get to have the black menu. This is not a strict color coded restaurant though. Don't get me wrong, but one is free to choose on which color he wants all throughout his stay at Kamikatsu. More on this later. 

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Ever since Kimukatsu opened a month ago, bestsellers declared to us are the following: the regular kimukatsu, cheese, and negi kimukatsu. But what’s nice about Kimukatsu is that they have assorted sets available where you can get as much as seven variants, depending on your preference. We all agreed it’s great for families or bigger groups of diners.

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During our visit, we got the cheese and negi kimukatsu instead. But we didn't expect that we'd have these yummy kimukatsus served with unlimited miso soup, salad, pickled veggies and their star-studded, perfectly cooked rice.

Notice the plating? Yes, even the plates are color coded. Bet you didn't notice that! :)

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I believe that every good meal should either start with a salad or a fuzzy warm bowl of soup. At Kimukatsu, both are served and in different variaties too. Like the color coded menu, you can also either choose the red and dark miso soup along with the rest of the food.

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The shredded cabbage, a standard in a lot of tonkatsu sets, is served with your choice of dressings on each table at Kimukatsu. There's this sesame based dressing, and another soy based. I loved the nuttiness of the creamy sesame dressing as it blankets through each cabbage strand, but later on I opted to mix both dressings and I couldn't get enough of it. To think, I haven't even eaten the actual kimukatsu.

Then again, I am excited as well as a bit hesitant to pop this in my mouth. It's just so beautiful I wanna freeze this and put it in a secure frame for display at our house.

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Before I tried this, Kenji was kind enough to teach us a few things on how to eat them, specifically on the use of their sauces.

First, grind up some sesame seeds on their cute japanese grinder bowls.

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You will also need a bit of himalayan salt, which is one of the condiments on each table.
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Layer a dollop of heavy but sweet kimukatsu sauce, followed by a lighter ponzu sauce, then a combination of grinded sesame seeds and salt on the saucer.

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And that's it! There are no exact rules though. But thank you, Kenji, for teaching us the art of eating a kimukatsu.

The Kimukatsu is a hot, juicy and moist, flavorful piece of meat. The filling, though, is more dominant at the center of the meat rather than on all sides, but it's a good thing because it doesn't really overpower the meat at all. I notice a layer of fat included as well, so I think that it helps in keeping it very moist as they cook it. 

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Ah, the rice. Perfectly cooked, and placed on this Japanese rice container, retains its warm temperature and keeps the rice from drying out too. Kimukatsu is not joking about their rice though. Aside from their kimukatsus, their rice is also cooked with the right techniques so that the end result will always be fluffy, almost al dente, but not overly starchy.

Trivia: Their top secret commissary here in Manila is divided to two: one for the Ikkoryu Ramen chefs and another for Kimukatsu's. But neither one is allowed to enter the other commissary. This is not only to ensure the quality of all their food, but also as a sign of respect to each of the Japanese chefs.

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So after eating a lot of kimukatsu pieces, rice, and vice versa, I told my companions that I may have had enough...for now. So I rested for a bit and after a bit of conversation, this warm Ebi (Shrimp) Salad came in. The shrimp was not overcooked and sweet, and the mayo based dressing made it more festive, with a slight edge thanks to the spring onions and a spritz of lemon. This is supposedly served as an appetizer but I ate it anyway. I'm not a fan of mayo though, but the flavor combination is y-u-m.

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After realizing that I am close to full (yep, there's still room haha), Kenji was kind enough to let us choose which kimukatsu we want to try next. Since me and JV are both fans of spicy food, the Yuzutama Kimukatsu was number 1 on the list.

Just in case you guys would really want a spicy version, this s the answer. After dipping it in ponzu sauce, taking a bite onto this katsu left me stunned. See that green filling? That's literally green yuzu peppers made into a paste and places in between the pork layers. It was oozing right on my tongue, and what happened next was hellfire.

Instead of trying to analyze its flavors, "water" and "please" were the first two words to come out of my mouth. Hahaha. It's a-pretty challenging! But I would still order this next time I come here.
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Another best thing is that Kimukatsu is now accepting take-out orders, and is also thinking of having deliveries soon. One of the things that are available for take-out are these mini Kimukatsu sandwiches which is layered between two thick slices of Japanese loaf bread. Oh yeah, so that makes about 27 layers now :)

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Placed inside a box that's designed like a bus (with a pig driver haha), thesecan definitely satisfy those quick kimukatsu cravings. I tried this a few days later after heating it on a broiler, but it's still as good as it looks. I'm not sure though as to which sauce is used on this sandwich, but I have a feeling that it's part barbecue sauce and part kimukatsu sauce. 

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And since there's always room for dessert, Kimukatsu offers their sweet endings in elegant fashion. One of which is their Japanese panna cotta. It looks like frozen yogurt with graham crackers and sesame seeds, but it tastes similar to the normal panna cotta but with a twist, because soy milk is used to make this one.

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I do believe that most Japanese desserts are not really that sweet, like this Kurogoma Pudding, made with back sesame seeds. Looks intimidating, but insanely creamy. And with a great dessert comes great presentation, as all of their plates and cutlery are from Japan.

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One of the last surprises that we had was to find out that Kimukatsu is planning to include a small art gallery inside their restaurant. I myslef was very excited to see it, so we went out for a quick trip inside their "Secret Garden". Aside from the creative concept, it's also nice that they were able to utilize the excess space inside the resto.

I'd be happy to show you these pictures but I suggest you just find this one for yourselves once you go to Kimukatsu.

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But for now, you can enjoy looking at this massive wishing tree which resembles the usual cherry blossom trees that are very famous in Japan.

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Going back to the main restaurant is a challenge, though. You literally have to go through walking in stones, which is quite difficult for me. Pretty exciting, right?

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But before you leave Kimukatsu, make sure to bid goodbye to the great Japanese warrior watching over the restaurant.

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Watch out as Kimukatsu and Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen opens in Makati! Details coming soon :)
For more info on the Kimukatsu, check out their official accounts below:

Kimukatsu Official Website

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*Disclaimer: The following post is written based on the author's own thoughts and views on Kimukatsu, and yeah, I am staying true to those thoughts and views, thank you.

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4 responses

  1. I love Katsu! And that concept of Kimukatsu is a breath of fresh air for Katsu-lovers like me. Grabe, daming bagong resto sa Shang:)

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    1. Hope you have tried it already Ate Joy! It sure is one of the best katsus I've had so far :))

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  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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    1. I haven't tried the cheese flavor yet, but I might when I come back next time. Looked like you enjoyed Kimukatsu too Candid Cuisine! Your site is lovely by the way :P

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