+++ UPDATE OCt 2014: This has now closed, so check the websites for other outlets (e.g. there’s one in Causeway Bay) +++
Ginza Bairin is a Japanese restaurant specialised in serving tonkatsu, deep fried breaded pork cutlet. The restaurant originates from Ginza in Tokyo and has been in business for 84 years. It has been offering truly authentic Tonkatsu and other signature dishes for three generations in Tokyo. It has four restaurants in Hong Kong, in the IFC mall in Central, in the Macau Yat Yuen Centre on Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay, the K11 mall in Tsim Sha Tsui and in the New Town Plaza in Shatin. We always go to the outlet in the IFC shopping mall as this is on our way home.
Ginza Bairin’s trademark is ‘Chin Ton Shan’, a Japanese nickname for rare pig beauty. That’s why its logo shows the noble elegance of a pig playing a Shamisen, a three-stringed traditional Japanese musical instrument.
The restaurant is small and can be crowded at meal times, sometimes we have to pick a number and wait for 15 minutes until we get a table. Inside, the restaurant is simple – nicely decorated with wooden tables and seats and from almost every place you can look into the kitchen, behind the glass. You can see the cooks preparing the famous pork dishes.
On the menu is a mix of set meals, either pork, prawn, oysters, eel or fish of the day deep fried in homemade breadcrumbs. With the bairin set meals you are served a pork miso soup, pickles and unlimited steamed rice and cabbage salad. On each table are three sauces to choose from, to add to your dish. One is a sesame sauce, the other is a wasabi sauce and the third is the famous tonkatsu sauce. Originated in 1927, this sauce is a sweet blend of spices, apples and vegetables. It is unique to Ginza Bairin, so make sure to try it when you go.
There are other signature dishes include the original katsu sando (katsu sandwich), katsu curry and katsudon (Pork cutlet with eggs served with Tonkatsu sauce), tonkatsu pork loin set, tonkatsu pork tenderloin set and special katsudon.
Our favourite dishes are the tonkatsu fish of the day, the deep fried pork loin curry on rice and the special hire katsudon with the fried egg. They all taste very nice – but as you can guess, they are not for vegetarians. If you don’t eat meat or fish, you should go somewhere else.
On the menu are also sashimi dishes – but as this restaurant is famous for its tonkatsu meat and fish, we have not tried the fresh fish. I’ve not seen anyone trying it either, so I would recommend you stick to the signature dishes instead.
Will I go there again? Yes. We’ve been here a number of times and the service has always been quick and the food spot on. The prices are a little on the expensive side, around 140 HKD for a set meal, but then the quality of the food is good and reliable. The restaurant is in the IFC, so of course, prices will be steep and it is not surprise that a meal for the two of us costs around 350 HKD every time we go.
Ginza Bairin Central Shop
Shop 3013 Level 3, IFC Mall, 8 Finance Street, Central
Tel: 2295 1112
Opening hours: 11:30am to 10:30pm