Saboten: Still haven't found what I'm looking for

One of the several reasons to like Saboten is the bona-fide promise to get some deep-fried food into your system without the whole cloying oil-laden regrets that come an hour later.

In Tune with the opening of its new outlet in 313 Somerset, Saboten has released some new menu speciality items such as the Iberico Loin Katsu Set ($28) and the Fried Jumbo Prawns Set ($28.50) to create a stir amongst its diners. To be fair, Saboten has never quite stolen the residency of 'Singapore's King of Tonkatsu' throne in my heart, and I broached the repeated challenge with indifference.

The promise of more glamorous waves unfortunately was met with a barrage of quizzical looks round the table as diners found themselves tucking into a chewier cut of meat masquerading as Iberico pork, this pedigreed species which supposedly delivers more succulence and delicacy of flavor from it's excellent marbling had no such luck here. 

The Fried Jumbo Prawn Set is an immaculate gathering of gold treasures in various shapes and sizes. It's entourage including a wild-catch tiger prawn, creamy crab croquette and a hunk of original loin katsu. Indecisive ones will feel a strong tug to check out this 'surf & turf' set and hope for the best for at least one of the lot. For those who venture into this terrain, you'll be rewarded with an even showing from all aspects of the meal, the jumbo prawn grown to such large proportions that a quick trip to the deep fryer still render its deep innards unimaginably creamy. The crab croquette which tasted more of potato than crab meat had a melted cream cheese like texture when pried apart. Last but not least, the piece of original loin katsu peculiarly nudged the Iberico katsu off its pedestal and had a better luscious quality to it.

Now filled up on free-flow cabbage and fried food, we wrapped up the ingloriously diet-betraying affair with the Fried Hotate ($12 for 2 pieces) which are only available till the end of October in line with the seasonal Hotate Feast. These beauties were pulled from the heat precisely at the moment their flesh turns from translucent to a crystal white, before they had a chance to seize up into a rubbery puck that would chase away their sweet oceanic juices. Definitely a dish worth splashing the extra couple of bucks for.

Surrounded by a deluge of similar concept restaurants with identical menu, Saboten misses the mark pertaining to specific issues such as the quality of its cuts (as explained before), however, some of it's less common offerings ups the ante for those craving a little bit more variety.

Orchard 313

Opening Hours:
Daily 11:30am to 10:00pm

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