Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Love at First Bite: Asakusa Home of Tempura

I have been dying to visit this tempura place at The Grove for months but it gets cancelled every single time. I blame the lazy weekend bug! There was one time though when we finally braved the Saturday traffic and we were greeted by… a closed sign. I heard my heart break and my tummy whine the moment I saw the glass door signage. But the Year of the Monkey seems to be my year as when R and I visited The Grove during Chinese New Year for dinner, the place I have been eying for months was open. OPEN! *insert creepy mega giant smile here*

Hello, Asakusa
The foodie in me found it so surreal that I finally managed to get inside the “home of tempura”. It was a long wait and I hope that it won’t disappoint.

Famished, we ordered Salmon Salad (PHP208), Emperor Tempura Set (PHP578) and Gyudon (PHP288). For beverage, we settled with the complimentary house tea.    
Service was quick as it was not even past the 5 minute mark when the salmon salad was served.
I loved it! The fresh salmon cuts drizzled with what seemed to be teriyaki sauce went really well with the crisp veggies and tempura flakes. The contrast between the soft and crunchy textures was delightful as well. Though flavor was a tad strong as appetizer, it was still a great starter!
Gyudon was served next and we were perplexed with its appearance. It did not look like the gyudon we know. The meat looked a bit too dark. Tastewise, the flavor was overpowering. It was too sweet for gyudon
It tasted more like beef teriyaki (or sweet tapa) to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was a delectable dish. But I ordered gyudon so I expected it to taste like gyudon.
Last served was our Emperor set and it didn’t look as plentiful as I have imagined. (I got slightly deceived by the name emperor thinking it would be so grand.)
The set comes with two black tiger prawns, scallop, shiitake mushroom, kani, fish, zucchini and French beans plus traditional and special tempura sauce. If you customize your tempura set and order the same pieces (e.g. scallop, tiger prawns), you’ll be over by a few tens.
Looks sure are deceiving. Though the set looked mundane, the taste was definitely otherwise. The batter was not oily and definitely crunchy. The tiger prawns were huge, fresh, and had a nice subtle sweet taste. The scallop was pretty enormous too and bang for the buck even if you buy it ala cart at PHP145 per piece. It was undeniably fresh and oh so moist even when deep fried. The other fried goodies were great too but the one that definitely stood out was the scallop. For the dips, the special tempura sauce was a lot thicker and had a more powerful taste. Though great, I think it would complement katsudon more than tempura. I’d stick with the traditional sauce.]

Overall, it was a great meal. I will definitely go back for more salmon salad and tempura! (R already tried to go back for more last week but failed as Asakusa is closed from 3:30 PM to 5:30 PM. Lunch starts at 11:30 AM to 3:30 PM and dinner service starts from 5:30 PM to 10 PM.)

P.S. Signal is so weak in this area so if you are meeting friends here, try to confirm the time and location before leaving your place. Or ask the friendly staff for the Wi-Fi password. Most establishments have complimentary Wi-Fi for patrons. (Woohoo!)

Asakusa is located at The Grove Retail Row, The Grove by Rockwell, 117 E. Rodriguez Jr. Avenue, Ugong Pasig City. 

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