Pork, breaded and fried, is a treat for both young and old. Which is perhaps why tonkatsu and katsu houses have sprouted all over the metro.
Katsu Sora is one of those places. Owner Garry Uy said the place is unique in the sense that “more really means more.”
Even before the main event, which is obviously the katsu, one may enjoy the salad bar, itself a delightful treat. One may customize the salads with a variety of dressings to choose from. My personal favorites are the cod roe dressing (umami-packed, flavorful and tasty) and the Japanese Caesar, a lighter rendition of the Classic Caesar.
Aside from green salads, Katsu Sora also has Japanese potato with egg, pumpkin salad and broccoli salad.
Its soups are hearty. The place serves two flavors of miso soup. “But don’t let the two flavors bore you,” said Uy. “We have 15, yes, 15 miso flavors on the list that we choose from every now and then.”
Katsu Sora even has a rice bar, which offers Gokokumai Rice, a special five-grain rice, as well as Japanese and Mixed Rice.
A first of its kind in the country is the Juugokokumai Rice, “a premium 15-rice blend that includes white rice, corn, barley, millet, sesame seed, and black bean—providing the health benefits of brown rice with its high fiber and nutrients, but with a softer texture and a better flavor,” said Uy.
A serving of the 15-rice blend comes exclusively with Iberico Pork and Kurobuta Pork Tonkatsu Sets.
Uy said his katsu is quite generic, “a piece of pork loin battered and breaded, fried in oil.” But there’s also a distinctness to it. “Katsu Sora did not only improve the generic way of katsu preparation, but focused on offering the highest quality of pork breading and oil used, to create a distinct experience,” he said.
He explained Katsu Sora uses and sources only the best ingredients from Japan, and with the help of the Japanese chefs and consultants from its sister restaurant, Santouka, has perfected the art of creating the quintessential katsu.
Four types of pork
Katsu Sora also offers four different types of pork in its menu.
Iberico Pork is the highly coveted Spanish variety from the family of black Iberico pigs. It is highly flavorful with a butter-like texture.
Kurobuta Pork is the Wagyu of pork from a line of heritage Berkshire pigs, bred in Kagoshima, Japan. It is known for juiciness, unsurpassed tenderness, marbled meat and outstanding flavor.
Shimofuri Pork comes from the Duroc line from Spain. It is the “black Angus” of pork for its high percentage of intramuscular fat (marbling) that gives the meat its tender, juicy and flavorful character.
Sakura Pork is grain-fed pork from Canada. It is a special breed made specifically for the discerning Japanese market. It is fed with barley, giving its fat a lighter color and a firmer texture. Its meat is moist with a mild flavor and a clean finish that is appreciated by pork lovers everywhere.
“These were carefully selected in order to give our diners a different experience depending on their choice of meat according to flavor, level of fat and texture,” said Uy.
My personal favorite is the Shimofuri, not since I can afford more fat but because it just hits the spot—soft, tender, juicy, tasty. When coated in the restaurant’s breading and fried, it results in katsu that’s light, like fried cotton candy that’s crisp, then suddenly dissolves in the mouth. It’s magic.
My friends enjoyed the other pork varieties; some even traded their own katsu for the other’s because it looked and tasted more interesting. To each his own, really. At Katsu Sora, there’s something for everybody.
Next time, I wish to try the mille-feuille—thin slices of pork layered together, breaded and deep-fried. Katsu Sora even has a mille-feuille that consists of Canadian pork slices, Japanese basil and melted cheese, layered together, breaded with panko, and deep-fried to a golden finish.
Katsu Sora is at the 2/F, Greenhills Promenade, San Juan City; call 0915-8741990.
For my new cooking class schedule, call tel. 9289296, 4008496, 0908-2372346 or 0917-5543700.