In 2020, Lulu Gao and her husband Hansson Shen opened their first restaurant, Marble Yakiniku, in Glen Waverley – an elegant, barbeque-focused Japanese diner where Wagyu is the star. Now, the couple has shifted focus to tonkatsu, opening a second, more relaxed eatery in the same suburb, called Ichi Katsu.
“After opening Marble Yakiniku, we had ideas for a katsu shop, targeting a younger crowd,” Gao tells Broadsheet. “It’s totally different … it has an open kitchen and is more casual and fun.”
Here, tonkatsu (breaded, fried pork cutlet) is king – served as is with shredded cabbage and rice; in white, fluffy sandos; or in curry form with your choice of rice or udon noodles. Also find prawn katsu sandos, plus fish katsu made with snapper and deep-fried oysters.
“The katsu dishes are usually served with our special homemade tonkatsu sauce, which is kind of like a thick, dark vegetable ketchup,” says manager Shaun Oh, who also worked at Marble Yakiniku.
“We double-fry the pork using a deep fryer we ordered from Japan, which fries it at a lower temperature to give you nice, juicy meat.”
For a snack or starter, try izakaya classics such as beef-tataki salad (made with Wagyu), pan-fried gyoza, agedashi tofu or unagi katsu (deep-fried eel). The deep-fried cheese and pork belly roll is a must. For dessert: yuzu sorbet and black sesame ice-cream.
The vibrant Kingsway space – with warm lighting and timber panelling – seats around 50 people, with outdoor seating to come. Plus, an izakaya-style bar serving a range of cocktails is also on the cards, pending approval of a liquor licence.
97 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
(03) 9560 9860