New restaurant. Long lines. So much buzz. I JUST HAVE TO DINE THERE. Yes, that’s pretty much my train of thought whenever I go out.
There’s this new Japanese restaurant at SM Megamall Atrium and the traffic seemed to be endless. My boss, Frannywanny, was the one who introduced Yabu: The House of Katsu to me and I instantly fell in love with it even without trying the food yet. Tonkatsu? Katsudon? KATSU?! LOVE.
As an ultimate Japanese food lover, I’m always open to try new Japanese restaurants (or eat all you can places—for salmon sashimi!). My first attempt to dine there was a total failure as we went during lunch break and the line was crazy. I didn’t know that I had to reserve to make sure we could get a table. The second attempt was a failure as well as I tried to invite my mom to have lunch there and she told me that I kept on bugging her to make salad for me yet I pig out all the time plus our lunch out trips were starting to bother her especially when she receives her credit card bills.
But my long wait (fine, it wasn’t really long but one week of waiting for katsudon was quite hard for me) was over. I managed to invite a few friends to check the place out with me. (Actually, I was even willing to reserving a table for one as I cannot wait much further.)
Woohoo! Finally, Saturday!
A friend and I met at around 12:30 pm (at the brink of me passing out due to hunger). I was so glad that we managed to get seats right away (and we should since I asked for us to be waitlisted for 12:30 pm). We managed to get a table right beside… Gabby Eigenmann’s! (Just sharing.)
I took note of what my boss suggested: Wakame and Edamame for appetizer (PHP175 for two appetizers). For my main course, I decided to stick with a Tonkatsu Set. I chose Hire (PHP295 for 100g and 365 for 150g) over Rosu as the former was pork tenderloin without fat attached to it (and yes, I was still on my “pretentious” diet at that time). The set also includes Japanese rice, miso soup, a bowl of fruit, Japanese pickles, and unlimited cabbage with sesame dressing. I also ordered Bottomless Lemonade (PHP75) as my drink.
The appetizer arrived fast. It looked good. But… the server forgot to give us chopsticks so we just stared at the appetizers until our main course arrived.
When our main course arrived, I noticed that I didn’t get my bowl of sesame seeds. I waited for my bowl of sesame seeds before eating my Hire as that was my primary reason of wanting to dine there… to grind some sesame seeds.
I guess the staff is still not very used to the huge influx of customers. Nonetheless, they were pretty quick when I asked for my utensils and sesame seeds. Good job!
So here’s the fun part.
Mix mix mix… TADA!
I was so excited to dip my Hire in the sauce and… *Dip. Bite. Chew.* It was pretty good. It was quite similar to the tonkatsu dip from other restaurants but Yabu gave its customers the experience to (somehow) prepare it themselves making it more fun and engaging.
What I loved about my Hire was that it had a crispy coating and the inside was juicy and tender. Every bite was delightful. Crunchy juicy pork in every bite! The serving was also pretty generous as I had a hard time finishing my plate.
The miso soup was pretty okay as well. It was not extraordinary (and I was not expecting it to be so as it was not a miso place) but it was good enough to warm up the angry grumpy tummy. As for the cabbage, my friend enjoyed it and even asked for my cabbage. I didn’t touched mine as to save space for my Hime. Wrong move.
I then remembered that I haven’t tried the appetizers yet. The Edamame (young green soybeans) was quite dry at first… because I ate it the wrong way. But my friends enjoyed it so I assume that it was supposed to be good if you eat it correctly.
I fell in love though with the Wakame (seaweed salad topped with ebiko). It was very refreshing and could even serve as a palate cleanser. It was a bit cool to the mouth and the crunchiness of the seaweed was enjoyable.
We were also given complimentary ice cream (as they still do not have desserts available). They gave us strawberry ice cream. Our other friend who was late for lunch also got one. (Ooh, free ice cream for all!)
Overall, despite the little booboos, I enjoyed my lunch. I left the place stuffed and happy.
I’d love to try their sake next time. Who wants to drink Japanese style with me? :)
Yabu: The House of Katsu is located at the 2nd floor Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.