With Butahage shutting its doors at Liang Court, there seem to be a lack of places specialising in Buta Don around the island.
Tokachi Tontaro is the island’s latest dining option for Buta Don; having two outlets currently operating in Singapore, Tokachi Tontaro can be found at both OUE Downtown and Plaza Singapura. We visited their branch at Plaza Singapura; the space is also being shared with SAMA Curry & Cafe where patrons can order dishes from both establishments under one roof with a shared dining space for both concepts. The menu at Tokachi Tontaro focuses on Buta Don, with a variety of flavours available. For those who are looking for other options apart from Buta Don, Tokachi Tontaro also offers Yakitori Don and Salmon Don as well. Snacks and sides are also available for sharing around the table.
(Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese)
Ordering something to share around the table, we went for the Hokkaido Imomochi Cheese; soft pillows of fried cheese, the Imomochi were chewy whilst oozes of melted cheese within; went particularly well when dipped with the savoury soy sauce served on the side.
(Regular Buta Don – Small)
Tokachi Tontaro offers two different types of pork for all of their Buta Don dishes; all variants of Buta Don generally use USA Pork with the exception of the Premium Buta Don which uses Japanese Pork. Every rice bowl set also comes with miso soup and pickles on the side, and each variant of the Buta Don is available in three sizes; Small (3 pieces), Regular (5 pieces) and Large (7 pieces). We tried the Regular Buta Don (Small); something which we found pretty forgettable. For the most part, the slabs of pork were pretty much nothing to shout about despite them being the star of the dish. No doubt the slabs of pork did not carry a porky stench and were coated in savoury sauce, but the pork slices felt that it could have been more tender, smokier and flavourful; it just seem to fall short in the flavour department, failing to create a memorable impression especially when compared to the stellar variant that Butahage used to serve. Overall, nothing much to shout about, and certainly with quite a bit of room for improvement.
(Spicy Tomato Buta Don – Small)
We also tried the Spicy Tomato Buta Don (Small); the Spicy Tomato Buta Don is not much different from the Regular Buta Don, coming with the same USA Pork though came with a sprinkle of pepper over the top. Whilst coming with a distinct hint of spiciness, we thought that it could have been better if the Spicy Tomato sauce is used to marinate the slabs of pork rather than served on the side as a dipping sauce; the Spicy Tomato resembles a spicy ketchup in terms of flavour, with a hint of sweetness from the tomato before a kick of spiciness takes over. In all honesty, we did feel that the Spicy Tomato sauce felt a tad out of place here; it adds a dimension of spiciness against the spiciness of the pepper, and the sauce just did not seem to compliment the rice either (well, not that we would have our rice with usual ketchup anyway). While the item was not exactly a turn-off, it was something that we do not exactly have a liking for; an item that we found ourselves sitting on the fence for whilst not creating much of an impression either.
Overall, our experience at Tokachi Tontaro can be described as “pretty average”. There just seem to be something with the quality of food served here; the flavours and execution being rather pedestrian and half-hearted. Sure, the food is not nasty, but it fails to impress; there seems to be a lack of character and soul in the end product that makes the food feel neither here nor there. While there are not many options for Buta Don in the area, Tokachi Tontaro is a spot we would not be in a hurry to revisit; perhaps they would have to look into their recipes and execution in order form a stronger impression to the patron’s experience with their food.
68 Orchard Road
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/tokachitontaro/