Siam welcomes a Japanese curry-rice champion.
Perhaps the one and only reason to visit Ratchaprasong’s underwhelming The Market mall, comes in the form of this Japanese curry-rice champion with 50+ branches. Masaru Hiura claims his curry was inspired by his grandmother's recipe, and it certainly brings something new to Bangkok's quick-stop curry scene—the sauce is sweet and tangy, not to mention incredibly rich thanks to hefty chunks of beef or pork. Enjoy it with katsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) and add a raw egg for a little extra smoothness.
This review took place in June 2018 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.
If you haven’t visited The Market, the 2019 opening that’s firming as the ugly duckling of Ratchaprasong’s mall circuit, we wouldn’t blame you. However, putting aside the teeny-bopper fashion boutiques and recycled restaurant chains (like the neighborhood really needed another After You), there is at least one reason to drop by and that is Hinoya Curry.
This Tokyo-hailing chain serves satisfying bowls of Japanese curry rice in a bright-lit, blond-wood space that walks the line between sleek and sterile. Of course, the restaurant wouldn’t be here in Bangkok without a rich backstory. Hinoya Curry was started in 2011 by Masaru Hiura and shot to fame when its seven-seat outlet near Kanda Station took top honors at the Kanda Curry Grand Prix 2013, an annual festivel where curry shops from around Japan take part in a massive cook-off.
Now this veritable curry-rice empire numbers 50+ outlets around Japan. That’s small-time compared to Coco Ichibanya, the mall-dwelling curry house Hinoya most resembles, but still a big deal.
Masaru claims his curry was inspired by his grandmother’s recipe, and it certainly brings something new to Bangkok’s quick-stop curry scene—rather than peppery, the sauce is tangy and sweet (a little too sweet if some online murmurings are to be believed), not to mention incredibly rich thanks to the plentiful shreds of either beef or pork. Enjoy it with katsu (deep-fried pork cutlet, from B220) that’s thicker and denser than most, and add a raw egg (B20), their specialty, for a little extra smoothness.
Like Coco, there are endless customizable options, from adding spinach (B40) into your curry or topping it off with tempura shrimp (B100), though you can’t adjust the heat level. The menu’s also littered with Thai exclusives—the beef teppanyaki curry rice (from B220) makes a nice non-breaded selection and reminds us almost of Philly cheesesteak.
Don’t fancy curry rice? Don’t come here. There’s a curry spaghetti version with sliced sausage (from B200), but otherwise it’s slim pickings, even for sides—the sickly sweet potato salad (B60) is best avoided. What Hinoya Curry lacks in charm, it makes up with rich, reliable flavors and quick, efficient service. That’s good, because you wouldn’t want to spend more than 30 minutes here—there’s not a drop of booze and the watery iced sparkling yuzu (B79) is hardly worth the free refills.