Feel free to get cheesy at Tori Chizu, UP Town Center

Did you know that while the doria, or the Japanese version of the baked rice casserole, did originate in Japan, it was actually invented by a Swiss chef who worked in a hotel restaurant in Japan in the 1930s?

It is considered an example of yoshoku – Western food in Nihonggo – which take the form of Japanized Western dishes.

Today, Tori Chizu, a new restaurant brand under the same company that manages Korean fastfood chain Bon Chon, brings this Japanese dish and more to foodies the metro, with most of its dishes served with its signature cheesy chizu sauce.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

(This got me all excited because, as most of my friends know, I’m an avid cheese lover. Yeah, cheesy talaga!)

Together with my fellow foodies from #SaanSaPH, I visited its UP Town Center branch to get a taste of its offerings.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Our meal included:

Chicken Katsu Curry Chizu Bowl (Php139). I never developed a liking for curry but, at least, the Japanese versions leans more towards sweet rather than spicy. Still, when taken together with chizu sauce, I found the combination to be quite overwhelming. The chicken katsu, however, is well-seasoned with a crisp batter covering and tender meat.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Chicken Karaage Chizu Bowl (Php129). Karaage is a way of lightly coating meats – most often chicken pieces – in seasoned flour or potato starch then deep-frying them in oil. Today, it is one of the most popular Japanese chicken dishes, no doubt due to its versatility and near-universal appeal. The addition of the chizu sauce to the rice bowl adds a layer of decadence to the dish.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Beef Chizu Bowl (Php149). This is another dish with wide appeal which feature strips of sauteed sukiyaki-cut beef, whose relatively mild flavor is complemented by the chizu sauce.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Baked Pasta with Egg (Php135). The tomato-based sauce does not conform to the expectations of the Pinoy palette. If you don’t like pasta sauce that tends towards the sour rather than the spicy-sweet we’ve grown used to, this pasta dish might not be for you.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Chicken Racks (Php554 for 8-piece combination of Umami and Spicy). I got intimidated by the color and presentation of the spicy chicken pieces so I just took a bite of the umami chicken. Thankfully, it was juicy and tender: just well-seasoned enough to go well with rice.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Desserts: Double Cheese (Php55) and Ube Macapuno Soft (Php62). We capped our meal with soft-serve ice cream: one was topped with lots of cheese powder resulting in an appetizing mixture of sweet and salty flavors while the other features the local flavors of ube (purple yam) and macapuno (soft and chewy coconut flesh), adding a very Pinoy spin to this dessert.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

I found Tori Chizu’s menu to have quite a lot of variety so you can definitely come back several times to have a taste of something new while you’re deciding on which dish is your favorite. Its offerings are also quite affordably priced, making its dishes accessible to more people.

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu, UP Town

Tori Chizu is well worth a visit for cheese lovers and those on the lookout a new take on Japanese cuisine.

(And also those who are feeling a bit cheesy…)

Thanks to Shishi of Shi’s A Mom for extending the invitation!

This Tori Chizu branch is located at the Ground Floor, UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Other branches may be found at:

  • Upper Ground Floor, Outside Building A, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
  • Second Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-asa, Quezon City
  • Ground Floor, Security Land Center, VA Rufino corner Ayala Avenue, Salcedo Village, Makati

Disclosure: Together with other #SaanSaPH foodies, I was invited to attend a foodie meetup held in this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

Tori Chizu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants:

A taste of adventure at Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

I’m not much of an outdoors girl… Who am I kidding? I’m not an outdoors girl. Period!

But sometimes, I do wonder about adventures that could be had if only I was willing to rough it. Say, camping for example. The fun of pitching tents, cooking food in an open fire and having fun in the great outdoors… all these were just daydreams.

Well, thanks to the newly opened branch of Camp Curry in Ayala Malls Feliz, I can have most of the fun of camping, especially the good food that can be enjoyed, and I don’t have to rough it!

Founded by Chef Takashi Sato in Yoyogi, Tokyo as a curry shop specializing in vegetables, Camp Curry soon grew to become a full-blown restaurant, even acquiring the honor of being dubbed “Tokyo’s best curry.”  With the opening of its second store in the Philippines, right here in my hometown of Pasig, it has further secured its foothold in the country.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry is notable for its camping theme, indicative of Chef Sato’s love for the outdoors.  The store’s interiors have a lively and colorful theme with various camping gear such as bags, lamps, Thermos tumblers and more, all artfully scattered across the restaurant.  Rows of little banners hang from the ceiling, adding to the place’s festive atmosphere. An open design lets the diners take a peek into the goings-on in the kitchen while wait staff, attired similar to camp counselors, are at the ready to take them on a spirited culinary adventure.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

https://flic.kr/p/24sL5w6

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Japanese curry, Camp Curry’s raison d’etre, have grown in popularity in recent years.  Japanese curry is less spicy and a bit sweeter than Indian curry.  Normally served as a gravy on top of rice, it is considered one of Japan’s national dishes.

Together with my fellow foodies from #WeLoveToEatPH, I was able to sample some of Camp Curry’s specialty dishes.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

A flamin’ hot start to the meal is the Spicy Nachos (Php250), crisp nacho chips slathered with melted cheddar cheese, lean ground meat and topped with cherry tomatoes, cilantro and a Cajun spice mix.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry serves combo rice plates with meat and veggies such as BBQ Pork Belly & Chunky Vegetables (Php330) and BBQ Prawns & Chunky Vegetables (Php420). The meat and prawns had the slight sweetness and yummy char from the grill, and quite tender to the bite! And note: those veggies really are chunky! Sauteed with a smattering of spices, they add to the variety in texture and taste of the dishes. Now is definitely a good time to start lovin’ some veggies!

https://flic.kr/p/SW5FzY

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

These were served with Camp Curry’s signature sauces on the side, such as Cheesy Curry (Japanese curry topped with mozzarella and parmesan) and Super Spicy (Japanese curry made extremely spicy – this one deserves a warning so beware!).

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

The BBQ Grills also feature some non-curry viands such as the BBQ Pork Belly & Mashed Potatoes (Php249) and BBQ Shrimp & Mashed Potatoes (Php330).

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Appetizing new additions to the menu that we tried include the Gyoza Cheese (Php199), Potato Croquette (Php130), Curry Ebi Fry (Php330), and Yakisoba (Php220). The Kani Salad (Php60) and Japanese Potato Salad (Php60) also gave us an occasional respite from the abundance of spice in the other dishes.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

We sweet peeps also deserve something sweet so we capped our meal with CAMP’s S’mores Special (Php180), graham crackers topped with roasted marshmallows, drizzled with chocolate syrup and a dollop of matcha ice cream with a smattering of candy sprinkles, and CAMP’s French Toast (Php190), French bread infused with milk and egg, toasted on a hot iron skillet, sprinkled with cinnamon powder and served with a dollop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Lastly, have you ever heard of lassi? It is a spiced yogurt drink that originated in India. Add mango puree into the mix and you have Mango Lassi (Php150), a refreshing drink to soothe the palate after such rich and spicy fare.

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

This foray into Camp Curry was a fun adventure for me and my fellow foodies!

Camp Curry, Ayala Malls Feliz

This Camp Curry branch is located at the Ground Floor, Ayala Malls Feliz, Dela Paz, Pasig City, open daily from 11am to 10pm.  Another branch is located at Ayala Triangle Gardens, Salcedo Village, Makati City, also open daily from 11am to 10pm.

Camp Curry Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I was invited to join a foodie meetup held at this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.

New and exotic dishes at Essential Goodness for the Pilgrims in Poblacion

Along the busy and traffic-congested road that is Makati Avenue is a haven catering to the wanderers that venture into this bustling city.

Dubbed Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, it is a rooftop restaurant and bar of premium hostel Lub D Makati. The restaurant’s dining experience is the result of the hostel’s collaboration with notable local chefs Nicco Santos and Quenee Vilar of Hey Handsome and Your Local restaurants. With a menu that builds on familiar Pinoy favorites and international cuisines, the resto initially made a name for itself among Poblacion’s denizens with its All-Day brunch menu.

It also boasts of tastefully decorated interiors and an al fresco roofdeck with a breathtaking view of the Makati skyline.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Recently, along with fellow foodies, I got a sneak peek at its soon-to-be-launched menu items which were paired with drinks from the resto’s bar list. These include:

Tofu Salad. Made with marinated kino tofu tossed with spinach, cilantro, basil and lime. It is paired with Caipirinha, a Brazilian cocktail made with lime, sugar cubes and cachaca, a distilled spirit concocted from fermented sugar cane juice.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Salmon Ceviche. Raw marinated salmon served with green papaya, tomatoes, coconut cream, green and red eye chilis and cilantro. It is paired with Sauvignon Blanc.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Crab Curry. Crab meat stewed in curry, and served with cilantro and roti, flatbread originating from India made from stoneground wholemeal flour. It is paired with the exotic Sour Sup Black Tea, a drink made of guyabano juice, black tea and whisky.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Fried Chicken Poppers. Juicy fillets of breaded chicken served with spicy sambal cream cheese and edible flowers.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Vegan Curry Laksa. The Southeast Asian spicy rice noodle soup made even healthier with shitake mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts and banana hearts. It is paired with a refreshing glass of Essential Iced Tea made with black tea, lemongrass and calamansi.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Thai Fried Chicken. Cured chicken deep-fried to achieve a crisp and flavorful skin and tender juicy meat. It is served with pickled red bell pepper and green chili sambal on top of fragrant herbed rice.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Braised Beef. Local beef slow-cooked for four hours and served with guava sauce, green papaya salad and herbed and toasted rice. It is paired with Cabernet Sauvignon, one of the world’s best-known red wine varieties.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Earl Grey Chocolate. A thick layer of grey black tea infused chocolate smeared onto a bowl containing vanilla ice cream topped with citrusy yuzu syrup and brown butter crumbs.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Mango and Sticky Rice. Slices of sweet ripe mangoes topping a bed of coconut sticky rice with a side of caramelized peanuts.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

The new dishes feature a distinct Southeast Asian taste profile, with some heat from the chilis and crisp freshness from the vegetables. One or two dishes do have a bit of a problem in balancing the flavors but this can be addressed prior to their official launch. Do watch out for these tasty offerings in the coming days.

The deliciously exotic food, chill vibe and beautiful surroundings made this food tasting a very memorable event for me and my fellow foodies. Kudos to the Essential goodness, for the pilgrims team for the masterfully prepared dishes and the lovely event.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims, Poblacion

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims is located at 13th Floor, Lub d Makati, 7820 Makati Avenue, Poblacion, Makati City, open daily from 6am to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 5416358 loc 2600 or +63 917 5340497.

Essential goodness, for the pilgrims Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a food tasting held in this restaurant. Food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.