Ultimate Katsu Experience at Saboten, BGC

I have been hearing a lot of good things about Saboten for quite some time. My predilection for katsu has led my family to its BGC branch one weekend as our lunchdate.

In keeping with the cuisine it offers, Saboten’s interiors have a Zen-like quality. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows and lanterns provide a mixture of natural and warm light that shows off the glow of the light pine wood and beige furnishings. Large slabs of black stones offset with white pebbles serve as elegant walkways. The area is clean and uncluttered, a suitable environment for feasting on our favorite Japanese food.

For appetizers, Hubby and I sampled the endamame (Php99), soybeans steamed while in still in their pods and served with a light dusting of salt.

The kids, on the other hand, busied themselves with preparing our katsu sauce by crushing the toasted sesame seeds, then mixing it with the prepared sweet brown sauce.

Our main dishes consist of set meals which are served with refillable shredded cabbage, pickles, rice and miso soup:

  • Tenderloin Set (Php450 for large)
  • Shrimp and Tenderloin Set (Php595)

The katsus are juicy with the crunchy panko breading providing a texture contrast to the tender meat inside. I especially liked the rolled cutlet with cheese; the melted extra salty goodness inside blends well with the tastes and textures of the katsu sauce and rice.

Saboten is indeed a special treat: its offerings are quite pricy so it’s not our standard weekend meal. That said, we would come back most probably to celebrate another family occasion.

This Saboten branch is located at Ground Floor, Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

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

New Japanese hangout at Omotenashi

My daughter was craving for gyoza so when she accompanied me to my office last Wednesday, I gave in to her craving by having our lunch at nearby Omotenashi Japanese Restaurant and Bar.

The term omotenashi directly correlates to Japanese hospitality.  It is the combination of words “omote” which refers to the face one presents to the public and “nashi” which means “nothing.”  The resulting word means “selfless service,” anticipating the needs of the guest and providing service from the heart.

From the outside, this Quezon City Japanese restaurant may seem like a rowdy drinking hangout, especially with the banners promoting its beer promos.  Inside, however, the decor is more subdued: natural light from the windows is soft which bounces off from the white walls decorated by paintings of fish and traditional Japanese scenery, and pictures of the food offered inside.  That said, I find the interiors lacking the zen quality I’ve come to expect from Japanese restaurants.

We ordered Gyoza (Php188), Ebi Tempura (Php378 for 5 pieces),Chicken Teriyaki (Php328) and Gomoku Chahan (Php188).  The gyoza, or minced pork dumplings, were served hot and had a good balance between the pork and aromatics in each bite.  The tempura and chicken were well-seasoned and went nicely with the chahan, or Japanese fried rice.

I took advantage of a reservation app that gave me 20% discount on the food items so, even with a 10% service charge, my total bill came out as less that Php1,000.

I had some misgivings about the service charge, though. Despite being polite and helpful, the lone wait staff was a long way from the quality of service that the name and tenet of omotenashi implies.  Some more training and support from the restaurant management may be in order.

This branch of Omotenshi Japanese Restaurant and Bar is located at 42 Sgt. Esguerra Corner Eugenio Lopez Street, South Triangle, Quezon City.  For inquiries, call +63 9178148511.

Register to Eatigo through this link and get up to 50% off your food bill in this resto and various other restaurants in the metro as well as Php100 worth of rewards.

Check out my reviews of other nearby Japanese restaurants:

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

Asian-inspired Food Stop at Balestier, San Roque Marikina

My friends and I made a food stop at Balestier on our way home.  We found this joint quite interesting: its brightly-lit and minimalist-designed interiors have a very clean and modern aesthetic.  Its menu featured Singaporean dishes, inspired no doubt by the food hawkers in the Singaporean street of the same name.

We snacked on the complimentary chips (made from crispy fried dumpling wrappers) provided by the friendly waiter, on Sesame Ceasar Salad (Php135) – an Asian take on a well-known classic – and on plump Hakaw (Php135) – four pieces of steamed shrimp dumplings served with brewed soy sauce and onion leeks.

The concept behind the resto seems to be applying an Asian or Singaporean twist to well-loved dishes as can be gleaned from the tastes prevalent in our orders.

Next time, I would like to sample the Salted Egg Wings and Laksa Tsukumen.

Balestier is located at 14 Nicanor Roxas Street, San Roque, Marikina City.

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

Spanish cuisine at Burst, Bel Air

While on a business trip in Makati, I took a (very) late lunch at this quaint Spanish restaurant inside the Alphaland Mall.

Burst’s dining space is dimly lit with darkwood furniture and paintings of Spain’s vistas adorning the walls. Mellow pop and OPM music are piped in, giving the place a relaxed vibe (but detracting from the Spanish feel).

I have been craving paella for quite some time, and the resto has a promo wherein most food items have significant price cuts, so I took this opportunity to satisfy my craving.

I ordered Paella Negra (Php240 regular price/Php155 promo price) and Lengua (Php295 regular price/Php195 promo price).  The seafood in the paella provided contrasts in color to the squid ink-colored rice; its flavors were fresh and hearty.  I found the flavor of the lengua, or braised ox tongue, overpowering the paella so I opted to have it wrapped up to go.

The serving staff was prompt and friendly.

The overall look and feel of the place leave much to be desired but I can’t complain about the food and the service. I wouldn’t mind returning and trying out the All Meat Paella and Callos, more of the Spanish cuisine that I would like to sample.

Check out my review of another Spanish restaurant.

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

Wholesome fare at Kenny Rogers Roasters, SM East Ortigas

While Kenny Rogers Roasters has languished in its home country to the point of declaring bankruptcy, the chain is still going strong in the Philippines.

I guess its signature healthy and wholesome flavors – from its wood-fired rotisserie chicken to its homemade cornbread muffins – have found a foothold in the Pinoy palate.

The fast-food chicken restaurant which was introduced in the country in 1995 already has a location that is quite near to me – SM City East Ortigas.

I’m glad to know that whenever I have a craving for juicy roasted chicken or those hearty cornbread muffins, with a side or mac n’ cheese or corn n’ carrots, I can just head on over to the branch in the nearby mall.

Now if only they’d take care of those shaky tables…

Kenny Rogers Roasters Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Samgyeopsal for lunch at Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek

Again, another Korean food joint that set my heart all a-flutter.

Located just a stone’s throw away (if the stone couldn’t get far because you have a particularly limp arm) from my office, the newly opened Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek resto features an arresting light pine and dark wood facade and industrial minimalist interiors with some K-pop accents.  Since it’s newly opened, it doesn’t that greasy-smoky smell that seem to permeate other Korean grill joints, and worse, gets transferred to your clothes by the time you leave the restaurant.

Chimaek, in case you’re wondering, is a portmanteau of “chiken” and “maekju,” the Korean word for “beer.” So chimaek simply means “chicken and beer,” probably a good idea for harassed office workers at the end of a stressful day.

It’s not a good idea, however, for office workers out on their lunch break.

So, together with a couple of friends, I ordered the following:

  • Samyeopsal (Php250). Thick, fatty slices of pork belly meat.
  • Chadolbegi (Php300). Thinly slice beef brisket
  • Plain rice for each of us

While the meats were being grilled at the next table (thankfully, so that our group won’t smell like barbecue when we get back to the office), we were served soup and banchan, side dishes, of kimchi, soy potatoes and dried anchovies.

Once cooked, I wrapped some bits of the meats – seasoned with salted sesame oil and soybean paste, together with some rice and thin slice of raw garlic, in the lettuce leaves provided.  To add some kick to each bite, I added some of the spicy kimchi inside the wrap.

The service was quick and efficient, and the staff were warm, polite and helpful.  I’m looking forward to trying out its other offerings, particularly those with cheese: the Cheese Kimchi Bokkeumbap (kimchi fried rice with cheese and veggies) and the Cheesy Ramyun (Korean ramen with a twist of cheese).

Oh My Korean Grill and Chimaek Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my posts about other Korean restaurants:

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A fortunate mistake at Auntie Anne’s, SM Hypermarket Pasig

So let me set the scene: there I was at SM Hypermarket with my daughter (#ExhibitA) all set to do some grocery shopping when we decided to have dessert at Auntie Anne’s.  She ordered an Original Pretzel (Php65) because she all about the basic but still good kind of pastry, whatever that means, and a Chocolate Dip (Php25). I on the other hand was supposed to order my usual: an Almond Pretzel (Php80) and a Caramel Dip (Php25).  However, I caught sight of these almond crunch-covered pretzel sticks so I ordered those instead, thinking they would just be cut-up versions of the pretzel that I love.  It turned out, what I actually ordered was a pouch of Almond Cream Cheese Stix (Php90)!

Imagine my surprise when I bit into the warm and chewy, baked-from-scratch, almond-crunch covered and caramel-dipped pretzel and I got a taste of the mildy sweet and slightly tangy melted cream cheese inside the pretzel sticks! The experience combined three of my favorite things: almonds, caramel and cream cheese.

Plus, since I presented my BDO Rewards Card, I got 10% off on the total bill!

This is one mistake I don’t regret making.

Auntie Anne's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato