Ginza Bairin at Jcube

The number of days I spent in the west side of Singapore amounts to no more than 1% of my life.

I remember the good old days when I actively engaged in leisure ice-skating – probably the only reason why I would travel all the way to the west – but that is now history. With prolonged procrastination, my bones have stiffened; my balance is probably deteriorating with age. (I sound like an old hag.)

The most agile and widely exercised part of my body is my mouth. Predictably, the reason behind my virgin trip to the new mall, Jcube, is all in the name of food. (Now I sound like a fat old hag.)

This new mall, to residents of Jurong, is probably as highly anticipated as Nex is to residents of Serangoon. We (residents of Serangoon) were deprived of the shopping, dining and entertainment experience that bustling malls in the city have to offer –until the sprouting of Nex brought life to our suburb.

There are plenty of dining options in Jcube: Canton Paradise (I’ve been to the 112 Katong outlet, it was goooood!), ThaiExpress (click to see my review), The Manhattan Fish Market, Nana’s Green Tea Café (looks interesting), Nando’s and so many more!

What warrants my attention is Ginza Bairin –a specialty Tonkatsu restaurant with history dating back to 1927 in Tokyo.

I came across the outlet at ION Orchard, and my friend – currently undergoing culinary training with an Italian chef – who raves constantly about their Katsudon being the best in Singapore, has been urging me to try it.

The menu at the ION outlet is more extensive compared to the one at Jcube; not all items available at the ION outlet are available at the Jcube outlet, but the signature dishes available at both outlets are worth trying.

Tonkatsu Sandwich (1932/Aug) – $9.10

This “Original Katsu Sandwich” is one of Nobukatsu-san’s (founder of Ginza Bairin) most famous creations.

It was created when there was a severe shortage of rice after World War II. This dilemma spurred the idea of serving Tonkatsu with bread in place of rice.

The homemade Tonkatsu sauce is a special blend of spices, vegetables and apple, which brings out the natural sweetness and robust flavour of the pork.

I discovered a subtle hint of wasabi –so subtle it accentuates the savoury notes of the pork, rather than overwhelm.

The bread is pillow-soft. The pork is lean, yet juicy, moist and tender.

Special Katsudon (1958/Apr) – $16.50

The Special Katsudon costs $16.50 – not the cheapest bowl of rice around – but take comfort in the fact that it is awarded No.1 Donburi in Japan.

Under the perfectly cooked egg with yolk that bursts with molten liquid upon the gentlest prick, you will find juicy pieces of pork katsu that embrace a crispy crust –it is a mouth-watering revelation.

Break the yolk and coat the pork and rice with the yellow goodness.

Let the fluffy rice soak in the delicious sweet-savoury sauce for a bit –the rice turns out moist and flavourful without being mushy.

Black Pig Katsu Curry (1995/Apr) – $17.50 for 100g, $19.70 for 140g

For the Black Pig Katsu Curry, premium grade pork loin, Kurobuta, is used –it is well known for finer fat marbling and shorter muscle fibre, prompting tender and succulent meat without being greasy.

On top of the Black Pig, we had the Ebi Fry ($3.50 per piece) and the Cheese Pork ($3.80 per piece) for variety –all are breaded with Panko and deep-fried in cottonseed oil.

Cheese and pork sounds like a perfect marriage. The Cheese Pork looks like an ordinary breaded component, but bite into it and cheese will ooze. It’s orgasmic.

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen (2007/Jul) – $15.50

What is that massive red knoll that crowns the surface of the ramen dish?

It is chilli-coated minced (chicken) meat. As you start to stir it into the soup, the soup takes on a reddish tinge, and its kickin’ spiciness disseminates throughout the soup.

Spice lovers, you’re in for a treat.

By the way, I can’t help emphasising how much I love the way Japanese execute boiled eggs: the semi-hard-boiled-eggs are well marinated, slightly sweet, and most importantly, sporting a creamy yolk.

This dish is tasty and satisfying, but you need a pretty high threshold for the hot and spicy.

Ginza Bairin is one-of-its-kind.

Like their facebook page at:

Visit their Website at:

Ginza Bairin, Jcube
2 Jurong East Central 1
#B1-K10, JCUBE
Singapore 609731
Opening hours: 11.30am to 10pm daily

Ginza Bairin, ION Orchard
2 Orchard Turn
B4-39/40/41/42 ION Orchard

Opening hours: 11am to 10.30pm daily