It was a rainy day in Tokyo, and I was craving a comforting meal. There was one restaurant that I had heard a lot about, specialising in tonkatsu (panko fried pork), Butagumi. So what could fit better than that a day like this?
In a residential area, away from the restless parts of Tokyo, you can find this quaint house. With a crescent moon for a window, it all makes you feel like you’re in My neighbour Totoro.
Upon opening, we were no more than around 7 hungry guest waiting to enter this magic land of pork. However, despite being the second person in line, it took me about 15 min to enter as there were some people with reservations going in before me.
You might imagine that the choice at a one-dish-restaurant will be simple. But not here. The two sided menu encloses their vast catalogue of varieties from farms all around Japan, bringing you the highest quality pork ranging from “lean” to fatty, to very fatty.
The daily assortment is denoted by the blue stickies. I opted for something in the middle, Sirloin of the Deluxe (Blade) cut of Matsuzaka Pork from Mie.
In addition to the pork, you have to order their roasted tomatoes. I’m serious, you have to.
I love cherry tomatoes, and would have a handful in my bag for snacks if it was socially accepted :D
Butagumi has mastered the art of preparing tomatoes, because these were the single most tasty ones I have ever eaten. When you put those precious things under some heat, magic happens. They become incredibly juicy and the sugars surfaces creating spots of caramelised crust. Tossed in some vinegar, I wouldn’t mind snacking on these every day.
It took a while for the food to arrive, but I just laid back and took in the fantasy-esque atmosphere.
And so it came. Shimmering. Golden. Beautiful. Served on a copper grill to stay crispy, ready to be devoured.
On it’s side you can find shredded cabbage, rice, pickles and miso soup. You can enjoy the pork with the sweet savory tonkatsu sauce or some japanese yellow mustard hidden inside the tins.
Just take a look at that fat cap! Together with the crispy outside and the tangy sauce it all works in harmony. The fresh cabbage and pickles balanced the dish well. It was all surprisingly light, so no need for the post lunch siesta I expected! :)
It’s not hard to find a place with tonkatsu in Tokyo. But if you’re looking for some deluxe tonkatsu, this is your definite destination!