Monday, August 20, 2018

First Bite: ICHŌ Japanese Restaurant

I love how R's parents are always on the lookout for new restaurants to try. They're awesome foodies who would often discover gems in the city that are outside my radar. And one of the restaurants they stumbled upon was ICHŌ Japanese Restaurant. 

Hello, ICHŌ Japanese Restaurant
Located along the busy Annapolis near Greenhills Shopping Center, ICHŌ is a stand alone restaurant that took the place of a former Chinese restaurant. 
Parking could be tricky here. Despite ample parking space for about 8 cars, the narrow driveway to the back parking could be challenging to wide cars like Land Cruiser and Fortuner especially when some cars park on the side. There's an attendant though who will assist you if needed. 
The restaurant itself is spacious and could comfortably fit about a hundred. There are also private rooms for guests who prefer more intimate dining area. 
R's parents highly recommended Hiroshima Kaki Motoyaki (PHP285/2 pieces). 
We usually go to Senju, Edsa Shangri-La whenever we are craving for oyster motoyaki. But when R's parents continuously raved about ICHŌ's, R and I became curious and our expectation shoot up. 
And ICHŌ did not disappoint. Its oyster motoyaki was pretty good! Though it costs PHP142.50 per piece, it is relatively a small price to pay to have such gastronomic feast. 
The oysters used were of decent size and the motoyaki sauce had that delightful thick texture and sweet yet savory taste that would make you want more than just one mouthful. 

R's mom also ordered Namayasai (PHP195) and Asari Miso Soup (PHP120) as starters. 
The mixed greens were fresh and I would have loved it more if there was more salad dressing to give flavor to this healthy bowl. 
The Asari Miso Soup was pretty good! Though we had this rather cold as we were late for lunch, the sweet broth was still enjoyable! The clams though were too small and lacked meat to give extra flavor. 
A trip to a Japanese restaurant is never complete without grabbing a plate or two of sushi or sashimi. So we had Shake Sashimi (PHP420), Uni Nigiri Sushi (PHP245/2 pieces), Foie Gras Aburi Sushi (PHP250 per piece) and Soft-shell Crab Roll (PHP420). 
ICHŌ uses Norwegian salmon for its shake sashimi and it was oozing with freshness. It had firm texture and delicate flavor. I could finish a plate in under 5 minutes!
I would have ordered Uni Sashimi if they offer it but they only offer sea urchin nigiri. But it was still pretty good. Despite its darker hue which made R's dad hesitate to try, it was just as fresh as the shake sashimi. It had that delightful sweet taste which blended perfectly with the sushi rice. 
One of the more expensive dishes was Foie Gras Aburi Sushi which came with a good thin slab of foie gras drizzled with truffle oil. The fragrant dish sure made us drool. However, its taste was so delicate that we were not able to fully appreciate the flavor of the foie gras which was meant to be the star of this dish. We tried to savor each bite but the flavor was a tad too light for my palate. 
I was impressed with the generous serving of the Soft-shell Crab Roll but noticed that it was not as generous with the soft-shell crab. Each mouthful had a tiny bit of crab which you could barely taste. I guess we should have gone with ICHŌ roll which is the restaurant's signature maki. The word "spicy" in its description made us make the wrong move.
R's dad also got Grilled Sea Bass (PHP800) which was quite straightforward and had nothing special to rave about. 

Service was fast though despite the nearly full house. I was also impressed that there were a lot of guests even when it was raining cats and dogs outside. Note that its parking is open and you have to either wait for the parking attendant to assist you with his giant umbrella or brave the rain yourself. 
I also love that the menu offers a wide variety of dishes at different price points. There are some dishes within the PHP200 range while some are as steep as PHP1,800 (but we're talking about wagyu rib eye here). It gives you room to choose which ones fit your budget. 
They also offer Kimchi but it's a bit too spicy for our liking.
Overall, it was a lovely dining experience. I found some favorites that I would love to have again in the near future. I also heard that ICHŌ's wagyu steaks are worth checking out and I'll give it a try on my next visit. 

ICHŌ Japanese Restaurant is located at 6 Annapolis Corner Purdue Street, Greenhills, San Juan City.

ICHŌ Japanese Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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