Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Katsusei - Not Your Ordinary Japanese Cutlet

Katsu or originally Katsuretsu is an impersonation of 'cutlet', introduced to the Japanese culinary in the Meiji period, early 19th century. That's as much available in world history, but here in Indonesia, when I think of katsu, I think of Hoka-Hoka Bento or home cooked frozen-in-a-bag katsu. However, all that shatters after my visit to Katsusei. Allow me to make a statement: 

My yardstick for katsu has been raised.

Follow me along as I relive that night at Katsusei and I'll reveal it to you why.


Oriental, intimate, and exclusive are my first impressions of Katsusei's interior. The tables and chairs are less cramped than other Japanese foodplace alike. I enjoy the spacious feel it created.

Upon arrival, we were served with a bowlful of Edamame. Too bad it was cold, or was it suppose to be cold? Well, at least the presence of fellow bloggers has warmed up the night. Also adding the fun was Chef Erwin who shared with us in details the tidbits about wagyu beef.

Apparently, there's a proper way of slicing the meat, it has to be in opposite direction to the fatty lines, or what they call 'marbling' in wagyu beef. The marbling itself is a result of constant care by the very selected amount of breeder. The cows has to be pampered, fed with beers, and massaged thoroughly. They claimed these massages is directly responsible to the amount of marbling. They then graded from 1 to 12. The latter being the highest grade ever with the most marbling.
To give you an idea, here's a sample of grade 9 wagyu beef. Exquisite isn't it?

See the rootlike white lines? Without them the meat would be all stiff and hard. I can assure you, this one is supersoft it almost like it melts on the tongue.

Thanks to Toranomon, the restaurant next door under the same management, Ilham Putra Wicaksana, they were so kind to grill the wagyu in perfect composure, medium-well.

I loved it and hated it at the same time. Love it because it was delicious even with minimal spicing. Hated it because now that my tastebud has savored a grade 9 wagyu, its standard has been increased. Now, every other beef tasted ordinary.

But above all else, it was a heavenly entree. As well as these two, Chawan Mushi & Plain Udon.

I kinda like the fact that the egg custard was not that flavorful. It balanced out the udon which was too salty for my liking. If you splendor them in turns, it would be just nice. It also strikes my attention that they use what appears to be Ginkgo seeds. If I'm right, that means, their recipe is quite consistent in terms of authenticity. Katsusei have earned my respect. 
Not long after the appetizing entree, we were given a bowlful of sesame seeds. Everyone showed a blank face, until the manager came up and explained what is it for.

See the picture. The Goma (gold sesame seed) on the left had to be crushed manually using the available wood pestle, then mixed with the tonkotsu sauce (hidden inside white porcelain bottle). The tonkotsu sauce itself is a combination of 25 different spices and ingredients, creating a state-of-the-art sauce special for the katsus.

Before this, I've never encountered cutlet that has to be dipped in a sauce before. To the truth, this part of the dinner interest me the most. I took a delicate amount of time to grind the seeds into soft sands then finally pour the tonkotsu sauce. You know what? It won me over on the first try. I was unstoppable. When the katsu finally came, I just can't help myself. I went quite and was busy savoring each bite.

On my platter was the shrimp, beef, chicken, and scallop cutlet. A thick crunchy layer of Panko (breadcrumbs) along with juicy tender meat, and do you see the shrimp? It is BIG. And big is always the perfect size for a foodie. =p
FYI, Katsusei had most of their ingredients imported for maximum pleasure. The scallops come from Hokkaido, the oysters are from Yokohama, and the wagyu are all originated from Australia. So much dedication was put to keep the standard intact. They've just earned my respect again.

To end the dinner, we were presented with these two lovely desserts. The mango pudding may I say is hands down one of the best I've ever tasted. I might comeback here just for the pudding. Seriously. On the other side of the table, the matcha ice cream wasn't particularly special, but I do note the unordinary taste of the green tea on the tongue. It brings its own distinctive flavor that some might find it special to their liking.
Now that you've heard it, its time for you to prove it yourself. I myself have started looking at Katsu in a whole different perspective at a whole different level.

Katsusei's tagline "Delicious Cutlet" might be perfectly appropriate to describe themselves.

Thank you Grand Indonesia for coming up with a great idea for bloggers to meet and share, & Multiply for giving their support toward these events, and most importantly Katsusei for making my belly happy once again.

Cheers to all Bloggers. You rock!

Fellexandro Ruby
Food Conversationalist & Photographer
Munch on my tweets @Wanderbites


Grand Indonesia, East Mall Garden District 2, Level 5 #16
Jl. MH Thamrin No. 1 Jakarta 10310
Ph: +6221 23580060
Fax: +6221 23580059


  1. the katsus are waving to me!
    i reckon it would be better if the egg in the udon is soft boiled lol

  2. Take me there for the mango pudding! :9

  3. We want more wagyu and mango pudding lol... Sudah mampu???

  4. @IRENE: Agree, just like the one at Hakata Ikkousha. And some meat please.

    @ANDREA: Your wish is my command.


  5. just back from sg and i had chance to taste yummy katsu at TONKICHI (takashimaya, level 4)
    the pork katsu is super recommended! :D and it's free flow rice and cabbage salad :9

  6. After having eaten Pork Katsu in many Katsu outlets, I cannot eat at a restaurant that doesn't feature it on the menu. I understand that it caters to the majority but IMHO, it has taken away the authenticity. It's like same as going to Crystal Jade and Imperial Treasure and there is no Pork Sio Long Paus!


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