Tag Archives: Japanese restaurant

Tonchaya Drift: Bringing Osaka to the Fort Strip

fort strip restaurant

The ramen rage has been overly hyped, steering folks clear of the real Japanese goods and driving them to carb showdown. Truth is, the best Jap deals come in other jazzy forms – raw, for the adventurous and perky—and bringing the hype in from Osaka and not the big T—tokyo. Catch my drift?

blog review tonchaya

Tonchaya isn’t just that ramen place, it’s a whole Japanese kitchen and bar concept, so you can expect sushi chef and cocktails, and that snobby Tempura crunch we can never seem to copy at home. It’s also intriguingly artsy yet shambolically homey, every nook is filled with paintings, bottles and Japanese food symbols, you’ll find a comfort zone of your own. Even the sign on the kitchen entrance shows a white cat, so there’s something to claw about.

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Daily combos or promos are available which are lavishly posted on the walls, like buy-one-take-one tonkatsu Thursdays or maki days.

fort bonifacio japanese restaurant

With the sashimi chiller on display, it is given that maki, sushi and sashimi are abundantly offered and occupy heaps of meals in the menu. I could live on sashimi buffet and rave about it, and miss out on ramen—not the other way around! So good to actually see the fresh catch waiting to be ordered.


Presented first were the usual Japanese appetizer staples. With that much rice on the first course, the white flag of satiation was close to being raised.

The maki was made of sticky rice, so there was not much crumbling going on. Some were a bit on the spicy side too so manage the wasabi on your dipping sauce—or enjoy them piping spicy!


Here we have the Crunchy Crab Maki (the long rolls), Crunchy Salmon Maki and Crunchy Tuna Maki (looks like the former but has that dotted by a tuna speck).

maki bgc

And then I got confused with all the crunch going on, since I swear I thought it was called Spicy Tuna Maki! I guess I just made that up. Completing the package though, it was spicy, crunchy, a bit sticky and ultimately soy-worthy.

j.anne gonzales food blog

The Chirashidon 8 Kinds showcases various sashimi atop white rice, including Salmon, Tuna, Tamago, Ika, Mackerel, Kani, Ebi and Uni. With roughly two of each, you get the luxury of variety and whilst I never chanced upon the bestselling tamago, the mackerel and uni were mine to fill.

authentic japanese food philippines



The Okonomiyaki looked like a vast pie of curly cabbage generosity. Cabbage, seafood, pork and sauces contributed to this abstract pie art, and bagged the title of crowd favorite. Beef Teppanyaki was another sizzling plate to watch out for, with veggies on the side to minimize the guilt.


The Ebi Tempura was what you would expect—crisp and long—as a positive gastronomic virtue, nothing else. To describe the length on this one—the damn prawn couldn’t fit on the saucer, damn average saucer! Literally had tempura crumbs on my chin after every bite, and boy were those bites aplenty!



Rice meals were just as abound in the menu, as heftily exemplified by the Chicken teriyaki and Seafood Gomuko Chahan, the latter being  a leviathan bowl of fried rice—the toppings can suffice as viands. Guaranteed burp—but then again, where’s the fun in just eating rice?

ramen fort bonifacio

Which is why for this hungry cat, a meal is never complete without noodles! Seafood Ramen was just the fix for a rainy evening. With the proper spice level and thick soup, the noodles were pleasantly chewy so each bite was packed with a zing. The seafood was also in abundance, so this should suffice as a meal on its own. Good for sharing, or for a hungry solo, why go for the boring ramen when you could have seafood on a sea of red? Oishi!

bgc restaurant review

With all those pescatorian slurps and bites, there was no room left for dessert. Sadly. Maybe next time.

There’s nothing like a cozy Japanese bar, the type where Naruto could just sit and slurp his noodles without a care in the world. Well Tonchaya’s a bit close to that—with just better paintings and seats.

For those planning to visit this place soon, Itadakimasu! Or better yet, call me. Lol. =P


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Yabu: The House of Cat-su

japanese restaurant katsu

I can really think of a lot of jokes that revolve around Yabu. Add in the House of Katsu part and you’ve got yourself a comic fest. Bu-ya! Okay, I will stop now.

While I understand that Yabu: House of Katsu has been around for quite some time, I have never really visited the place because someone once told me:

“You have nothing to eat there! You don’t eat rice and pork—you’ll only eat the cabbage that’s free!”

Well partly true, but that’s getting ahead of my story.

Katsu japanese makati

Yabu, true to its household name is a place for katsu. However, it serves other forms of meat and seafood and so, caters to a larger market base, including vegetarians, pescatorians and this new breed we call children. It offers katsudon and curry, kiddie meals and edamame!

Tempted to get Chicken Salad + Edamame for the appetizer combo, we ended up with nil because the Glorietta 5 branch apparently did not have edamame. And I thought Ayala Malls were going green. No more appetizer.

Being a glutton, I ordered my own set. I’ve observed couples sharing a set/meal—probably because they are rice eaters, rice eaters on a budget or are just on a diet—but I like to keep the bento tray to myself. #selfishglutton

vegetarian japanese food

Of course that doesn’t mean my order was all that great. The Vegetarian Katsu Set is probably the last thing you will order in Yabu’s entire menu. Heck you’d probably stuff yourself with goma sauce than eat vegetables, which include a wee eggplant, a naked bell pepper and “where’d that tofu go?” silken tofu strips x 2.

Without the cabbage to fill me up, I’d say this vegetarian meal was not too great and quite a rip off for someone who’s used to eating vegetables by the hordes.

Let’s not forget the other components of the set: miso soup (not bad), pickles (eww), fruit (watermelon slices, so-so), unli rice (bye) and unli cabbage (Love it!).

I had 3 refills of the unlimited cabbage strips. 3 dressings are made available (goma, shoyu, and wasabi).  There was also a dollop of this spicy Japanese mustard on the katsu plate and the katsu sauce itself—and all these made their way in my nasty cabbage nest. This cabbage patch was what made my meal #awesomeandgreen and #totallysatisfying. Add in a #megaburp too!

chicken japanese makati

Perhaps next time I should really try its core meal like Chicken Katsu or Oroshi Katsu (in photo), huh?

Seeing how divinely full my companions were, I’d say I made the wrong choice (#feelingdiet). Should there be a next time, I’d go for chicken, dory and an egg.

I did say I was a selfish glutton.

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Kenji Tei: Ramen Night!

Hontou ni? Ramen houses must hate me; what a sad way to treat the cat that came up with Ramen Night at Kenji Tei (Greenbelt 5).

greenbelt 5 ramen

With the prevalence of chashu and pork shio and all that animal fat, it seems that ramen night was not made for vegetarians. But still, I persist. I cannot end ramen night without enjoying a single noodle sliding down my throat.

makati japanese greenbelt jenina gonzales

And so after interrogating the waiter to the point of almost unearthing Kenji Tei’s soupy secret, we managed to come to an agreement without having to resort to yaki soba, which I pointed out is a big no-no.

Cold ramen. It is summer anyway.

The Hiyashi Chuka (Cold Ramen) with sesame miso dressing (Hiyashi Goma Miso) came with pork slices which I asked to be magically turned into more veggies. The result is a chilled half bowl topped with tamago, cucumber and tomato slices. The presentation was lackluster was the flavor was sublimely sour and perfectly meat-free. The noodles were firmly chewy and drenched in sesame-miso, was absolutely apt as a summer salad!

The cheese gyoza seemed to be quite a hit, though sadly its pork composition could not be managed, altered and totally removed. Ah well, it was interesting watching others delight in this fried delicacy. Other shots of the dinner.

lazy black cat japanese restaurant

Japanese Greenbelt 5

makati japanese food

And of course what inspired Ramen Night.*sigh* Itadakimasu!

jenina anne gonzales

Look at my birthday note! Arigatou, Miji-kun!

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Pes-Tokyo Bubble Tea Dinner

trinoma japanese food

Creamy pesto is a sat-fat binge I can only afford on special occasions when I feel immune to dairy. Munch punching the menu of the newly opened Tokyo Bubble Tea in Trinoma was promising since they offer the Tori Pesto Spaghetti amongst other Japanese delights. Despite the lure of the Seafood Udon and Scallop Pasta, stubbornness led to la fee verte.

Sprinkled with nori strips, drizzled with wasabi-mayo and topped with chicken Yakitori slices, the Tori Pesto Spaghetti was a trip to Tokyo obesity. This was discounting the fact that the sauce was already creamy pesto, well balanced and mixed on un-al dente noodles. All in all it was hmmm-kay, given the small serving and attempts at creating a manga epic out of this dish presentation. The flavor was largely created from a smorgasbord of Saizen-Konbini products, so the Japanese flair is fairly evident.

lazy black cat japanese food

To add to your disappointment, I had water to drink so don’t expect any bubbly beverage reviews.

The yakisoba was so-so, yet the unnamed rice dish seemed to delight Ossan. I am partly grateful to Tokyo Bubble Tea for its sprightly ambience and free wifi and so instead of Sayonara, I say Ja ne (see you later!)


They do have a Green Tea Cake I have yet to try, ja ne!

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Moshi Moshi or Sayonara?

It wasn’t the catchy restaurant name that got us barging in Moshi Moshi at Regis Center, Katipunan. Neither was it the green and white interior that dared to scream animo verde in Blue Eagle territory. It was gluttony, really—the Japanese Kitkats that decorated the walls sucked us like a magnet, as we hoped would be freely given out as we made our googly-eyed, kawaii entry.

However there were no Kitkats or even mochi to spare, only J-pop that was more sappy Saizen than bouncy One Piece. With that chirpy reception, it was difficult to detect what the actual humans bellowed in welcome, whether it was a Moshi Moshi, banzai or even Baka! (“stupid”).

With this line-up-and-order method, it was midway between fastfood and fine dining or simply put, the BonChon Chicken style of speeding things up. BonChon Chicken, coincidentally, happens to be the neighboring stall, so this must be a Regis Center Oriental-mad-dash-express-eating trend.

I did learn one lesson: Never flip the placemat, expecting more food, or suffer, stare at and endure the Moshi Moshi mascot’s evil grin.

Moshi Moshi has a limited menu assortment and sadly, does not offer my Japanese cuisine staples: tofu and noodles. It was a purely rice-and-viand feast, a splendor to the rice eaters but devastation to those upholding I-want-something-else-but-rice. Do not expect maki or sashimi to make a cameo either because this place is fast food, express meals for the third world diners, devoid of gourmet, sake and Kitkat.

In an effort to maintain harmonious relations with our manga mates, I forbade my brother from sneaking in food from nearby Bonchon, despite the nagging temptation of cluck-cluck chicken. It was Moshi Moshi all the way, grease streak and carbo fest, and meals finished in a couple of minutes.


The Takoyaki was cheap, perfectly seasoned and topped with gigantic bonito flakes. I spied bits of tako (octopus) that were not consistently spread among the 6 plump balls. This led me to think that my octopus meal was born with only 3 legs. Poor thing. The batter was too soft and rather undercooked, that if takoyaki would come in sashimi form, this is how it would taste and look like. Since I’ve developed this strange fondness for the three-legged octopus and its offspring, I choose to promote its longevity and abstain from octopus dishes from now on. Tentacle swear.


The Okonomiyaki was thoroughly baked and more nourished with greens, which at least made me feel like I was finally ingesting something aside from dough. Still, the same set of seasoning made it feel like eating takoyaki again, except that this require more chewing power. Interestingly, the okonomiyaki was the most expensive item in our receipt and so the hopes on this one were sky high. If there’s such thing as typical okonomiyaki, then this marks the tiny spot. However if I were to pursue the real okonomiyaki, then we’d have to drive far South (ahem, ahem Pasay Road) for that.

Chicken Karaage

I expected the Chicken Karaage to be plump, breaded and filled with soy goodness. What we got were flouredchicken chops leaving grease stains on bond paper. The mini mayo siding served more as an ornament than an actual sauce, leaving a dry and papery after taste which water alone cannot save. It was the excess Takoyaki sauce that saved the day, now if only it was available in thermoses as well.

Tendon Bowl

The rice bowls are available in regular and level up, which is of no consequence or appeal to me since the thought of “more rice” can only bring horror and muffin tops. The Tendon Bowls purchased by my closest kin did seem to do the job of filling them up, but as for gastronomic satisfaction, the fact that my Ossan kept on mentioning “un-fresh oil” can only mean the negative. However Onichan did take his time finishing his bowl, giving rise to the conclusion that oldies may have a thing for grease, but the Blue Eagles will always have a hungry welcome for Moshi Moshi.

As for me, it’s more of “Ja ne, Moshi Moshi!” After all, with so many interesting restaurants sprouting along Katipunan, there are so many others that this Maroon-blooded, green archer can choose from the blue highway. Do I hear cluck-cluck or something sweet and inspiring?


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