In Which the Mushroom Sauce Made Lunch Perfect…

Chicken Katsu with Mushroom Sauce

Chicken Katsu with Mushroom Sauce

I had the perfect lunch last week…and “perfect” is not a word I throw around lightly.

With traffic gone absolutely haywire last week, tempers were fraying all over the place.  Patience was rapidly running out at the office.  In my case, the malaise of the past month still hadn’t lifted and there was the loneliness I’ve had to live with these past several months on my shoulders, to boot.  Things were, to be very honest at this point in time, absolutely dismal and I have developed a habit of isolating myself from the rest of my colleagues at lunchtime.

I was dithering over grabbing a burger or just a couple pieces of chicken.  However, high noon on Monday last week was blisteringly hot – so much so, in fact, that I could not bear to walk any farther than the intersection leading into the Burgos Circle.  Trudging just down to the corner to Tokyo Bubble Tea, I was pretty surprised to see that the teashop was virtually empty for a Monday.  (Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised, seeing how so many people fled the capital to maximise the APEC break.)  I plunked onto a chair, cast a glance at the menu, and pointed to the chicken katsu with mushroom sauce.  I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed; far from it, as a matter of fact.

What you get is a parsley-speckled, breadcrumbed, and deep-fried chicken thigh fillet, seasoned in a rather balanced manner – neither too salty nor overly peppery.  The chicken is delicious as is, really, but the mushroom sauce definitely elevated it in a major way.  It is a dark demiglace sauce with a hint of red wine and caramelised onions, simmered down until thick and rich.  The sauce was made earthy and deliciously funky by the addition of three kinds of mushrooms: shiitake, oyster, and brown button.  Swiping a bite of chicken through the sauce made for a most flavourful mouthful: you would think you were eating partridge or quail; properly-cooked game as opposed to standard-issue battery fowl.  The rich, dark thigh meat was cut somewhat by the slight acidity from the wine in the sauce, while the mushrooms brought all the flavours into high relief.  Goodness me; such divine decadence!

You will be given a choice between rice and mashed potatoes to go with the dish.  I recommend the rice as it’s cooked with garlic and keeps the dish from getting too much for comfort.  I daresay I would order this again.  And again.  And, well, yes: again.

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