Tuesday, October 4, 2016

First Bite: Shaburi

After our fun dice game at R's place with his family, his siblings teased Uncle R, the chongwan winner, to treat the whole family (and I) to dinner at Buta+Wagyu. Unfortunately, the SM Aura Sale and traffic made us change plans. Eventually, we decided to try this new Japanese shabu-shabu place in Uptown Mall instead. 

Hello, Shaburi
Since we were a party of nine, R's sister H, took the initiative to place reservation so that we are guaranteed a table to fit everyone. The place though seems to be doing very well on its first two weeks as the earliest reservation slot was 8 pm. We just took the slot and had light snacks so that we won't turn hangry. 
We got to the place a few minutes before 8pm as R's family is strict with time. However, it seemed that Shaburi doesn't share the same value. There was no table available for us and we were told that it'll be available after half an hour. WHAT THE HECK?!? So what is the point of reserving a table if we have to wait outside the restaurant basking in humid Manila air and wait for half an hour for our table to be ready? 

We approached the front host and told her that we do not find waiting half an hour acceptable and that they should also respect the customers' time as we did with theirs by taking the effort to be there by 8 pm. Dazed, she told us that our table was being prepared. She told us that at 8:10 pm. 
As I grew even more impatient and hangry, I approached the front host again seven minutes later and found out that the table they were preparing for us was imaginary. The area supposedly reserved for us was still being occupied by other diners and it didn’t look like they will be done anytime soon. In short, she did a terrible blunder, lie to upset customers. 
After another 5 minutes of telling the front host that she didn't have to lie about our messed up table reservation, she made some adjustments and we finally got inside. We were split into two groups and occupied two tables instead of one long one. 
Normally, a restaurant will try to find ways to win back an upset customer but such was not the case with Shaburi. No one approached our table for our orders. We had to fight for the attention of the staff. Eventually, we managed to get someone's attention and we all ordered Shaburi Wagyu (PHP1,349). For my broth, I went with Original Konbu while R and his dad went with Sukiyaki and R's mom tried Chicken Collagen Paitan. [Note: Apparently, you could sample the broths before ordering. The waiter who assisted us didn’t even offer that option to us. I just found out from a review about this restaurant.]
We quickly went to the buffet area after placing our orders and went crazy with the various mushrooms and other veggies. 
I like that the place took the extra mile to provide dishes that kids would like such as chicken and fries. 
While waiting for our wagyu and broth, I munched on some rolls that were so bland that I felt like I was just eating rice. (Warning: Do not get the rolls.) 
The broth was served soon and we were given a quick guide on how to use the induction cooker. It'll be on P3 till the broth boils and they suggest that you put it to P1 after to avoid spills and splashes.
Our plates of Shaburi wagyu were served after and we quickly put our toques on and started dumping ingredients in the broth. After a while, we put in the wagyu strips.
I tasted my broth and it was on the bland side. I guess I’m more used to sukiyaki which has richer and bolder flavors. However, I tasted R’s broth and it had a light taste as well. It was just a little bit tastier than my broth. I wasn’t able to try the Chicken Collagen Paitan broth but I was told that it tasted like ramen. I ended up dipping the wagyu strips in the gyudon soup (included in the buffet spread) instead which had way richer taste. 
I had a short chat with R’s sister H and she told me that the reason why the broths are blander is because it stays true to the Japanese shabu-shabu. 
She mentioned that the ones with richer tastes are the Taiwanese shabu-shabu. 
R’s mom also mentioned that if I want my broth to have a sweeter taste, I had to put onions and leeks in my pot.
While we were busy trying to finish all our meats as there’s a leftover charge of PHP190 per 100 grams, I overheard one of the diners from the other table requesting for another pot of broth as he accidentally burnt some of the veggies and meat leaving a bitter taste. The staff told him though that there’s an additional charge for the broth. I guess he didn’t feel that it was worth the extra bucks as he didn’t get a new pot of broth. 
I remembered that someone gave me a heads up that Shaburi offers matcha ice cream. Unfortunately, they only had chocolate and vanilla ice cream during my visit. 
It was your usual soft serve ice cream. It wasn’t very sweet so it’s perfect for the elders. Just add sprinkles or chocolate chips if you want yours a bit sweeter. 
There are also fruits on the buffet table if you want healthier sweet treats. Be careful though and eat it with caution as the pineapples R’s mom got were spoilt!
Overall, I didn’t enjoy my experience with Shaburi. It is pointless to make a reservation with them. Service was also slow as we had to follow up our wagyu strips. I felt that it was overpriced too given the quality of the meat. I could even barely tell I was munching on wagyu.  I might have enjoyed it more if I went with the cheaper meat as I wouldn’t feel as bad for spending that much. Actually, R's dad sampled the cheapest meat and it tasted pretty much the same.
 Also, take extra care when walking around the buffet area as the floor tends to be slippery. 

Total damage: PHP14,000

Shaburi is located at 4th Floor, Uptown Mall, 9th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City

Shaburi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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