Monday, February 6, 2012
Recently my friend Michelle invited me to try out her brother John's new restaurant, Yabu at SM Megamall's Atrium. I went there for lunch on a weekday with Rochelle. The place was full and there were even a couple of tables with Japanese diners.
Warning: I broke my diet to eat here. And yes I'm still on a diet.
On each table was a complete set of condiments. The two tall bottles contained salad dressing - sesame and soy vinaigrette- for the shredded cabbage. The covered round container had tonkatsu sauce and there was a salt pig. The red bottle was togarashi or chili pepper and the green bottle was sansho pepper.
The salt pig contained Himalayan salt. I wanted to try it with my food but I totally forgot since none of the food needed additional seasoning.
I loved the bag hook under the table.
Don't forget to ask for their house tea which you can have hot or cold. It's a drink made from barley. It's an acquired taste and I feel it combats all the fried food you will eat. Well it helped calm my tummy from all the fried food which I'm no longer used to eating.
cold barley drink
I would never order cold silken tofu but it was a healthier option than potato salad. I was surprised that I really liked it. The citrusy and sour ponzu sauce was the perfect sauce for the smooth and bland tofu.
hiyayakko tofu P175 (for 2 appetizers)
The seaweed salad was another winner. It had a nice bite and it was clean and refreshing.
My favorite moment was when the waiter brought out the fragrant and warm toasted sesame seeds. I couldn't stop inhaling the wonderful aroma. The inside of the bowl had grooves to facilitate the grinding of the sesame seeds. I can just imagine the sesame seeds hopelessly sliding around the bowl if it were smooth.
toasted sesame seeds
The waiter advised us not to put more than three spoonfuls of tonkatsu sauce to avoid drowning out the flavor of the sesame seeds. That's why I put two spoonfuls only. I wanted to bite into the sesame seeds for the added crunch it brought to my food.
I ordered the premium tonkatsu set which used Kurobuta pork otherwise known as the "Kobe beef" of pork. Most pricey restaurants in the USA use only Kurobuta pork which comes from black Berkshire pigs.
premium tonkatsu set P515
The pork katsu (cutlet) was beautifully fried. The breading wasn't too thick and it was very crisp. I just wish it came out piping hot. It was just barely warm and I had to blot it with a napkin to get rid of excess oil.
Kurobuta pork tonkatsu
The flavor and texture of the pork was unlike any pork I've eaten before. There was a meatier almost steak like flavor. It was also very tender and juicy. It was also lean and it didn't have an outer layer of fat which I never eat anyway.
Since I didn't eat rice I ate a lot of cabbage. I never knew raw shredded cabbage would taste so good. I tried the sesame dressing, soy vinaigrette and ponzu sauces with it. They were all very good but I loved the ponzu sauce from the tofu the best. Cabbage was eat all you can and they had servers walking around offering refills. Too bad we were finished with lunch by the time we were offered more cabbage.
I seldom see fried oysters in Manila's restaurants and definitely not huge Hiroshima Japanese oysters like these.
jumbo oyster set P365
I liked the oyster more than Rochelle did. It was fresh and meaty. It came with a mayonnaise based sauce which I didn't use. Instead I dipped the oysters in ponzu sauce and it was just perfect with the fried oysters. I just wish this was hotter too.
If you like fried food then you must try the wide assortment of fried goodies at Yabu. I wish they had some non-fried food for dieters like me. They had curry sauces to go with their tonkatsu too and that's what I would like to try next. Assuming I get off this darn diet.
Disclosure: Our meal was on the house. Thanks John!
Yabu: House of Katsu
2nd Floor The Atrium, SM Megamall,
Edsa corner Julia Vargas Avenue,
telephone: 576-3900, (0927) 398-7962
Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.