Tag Archives: tempura

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.

japanese restaurant review

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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Starving at Sambokojin

Sambo Kojin (Eastwood), the smokeless grill, provides quite an appeal to those who want to grill their own meal, eat, eat some more, and leave the place smelling all fresh and dainty. Even those who have the aversion to cooking will find an interest at this proposition, this lazy cat included.

Why, my menu even included grilling the salmon, searing the tuna sashimi and bathing them with teriyaki sauce – sweet seafood fantasy!

All those plans flew out of the window when, upon being seated, the waiter dropped this chunk of butter on the grill.  Closer scrutiny revealed that it was not butter but something more horrid, as if butter was not bad enough: beef fat! Being part vegetarian and a firm believer that Japanese cooking favored less animalistic elements, this new information astounded me to the point where it can’t be helped.

Sayonara, grill!

I had to forego the grilling element and enjoy my sashimi raw. It was time to hang out at the cooked food station and deem the raw foods nothing but the beefy offshoot of that sinful grill.

This abstinence rather paid off, having enjoyed the cooked bounties of the seafood offerings. Tuna teppanyaki and the seafood with creamy egg sauce topped my list, while the fried salmon was a bit of a disappointment.

I spied tofu steak as well and had the audacity to pick out the tofu from the meaty mayhem. No one ought to complain since I got the part that people never really like. Poor tofu.

The chap chae glistened and beckoned my plate, but beef strips heralded themselves and I had to move elsewhere.

Other fishy viands were scattered around the place, breaded, steamed – you name it – but since they yielded the similar flavor, best to stay loyal to my tuna teppanyaki.

Wondering about the tempura? Well it’s got its own fried battered station with kani, ebi and the whole lot of vegetables. As always it was hailed the most populous spot in the buffet, which is why I had to steer clear of it for fear of getting my new open toed sandals sprinkled with tempura sauce. That, and I enjoyed my kani raw.

Sushi and maki rolls are also provided for in abundance, alongside the volume of human traffic concentrated in that dangerous region. Once again, I steered clear of the “rice” path and concentrated the tongs on the protein bearers, the the sashimi.

The dessert station was nothing exorbitant or ravishing – the usual fares you’d expect from Saisaki. There’s the ubiquitous ice cream and the line that stretches to the kitchen, the mini pastries with skyrocketing icing and fruits in season. No cheesecake, mousse or anything with green tea. In short, no dessert for me – but I had to make do with the fruit cup, as necessitated by my “complete meal” mantra.

This beef bias may be dissuading and most likely, discouraging for most, since 99% of the people I know wouldn’t care about beef fat, butter or whatever animal they are ingesting. If you are part of the 99% then good for you, grill to your heart’s content and savor your “moo-tiful” meal.

As for the minority, the cooked foods are quite a bountiful lot and yes, if you are as lazy as me, no need to don that invisible chef’s hat!

No more cooking – now that’s a catch!


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