It’s no secret, I love Japanese food. So, every time there’s a new Japanese restaurant opening, I get really excited. The current situation in the local food scene means I get excited a lot. There are so many restaurants putting up shop, including Japanese restaurant chains, that sometimes it’s hard to pick where to dine first.
The newest addition to the market is Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant. Brought in by business partners Yvonne Yao and Jacqueline Gobing, Yayoi is a Japanese resto chain that already has several branches in different parts of the world. It mainly serves teishoku-style (set meal) dining.
Set meal dining is very popular in Japan because it’s convenient and filling—one meal consists of one main dish, an appetizer, a cup of rice, and a soup. It’s essentially an upgraded value meal, which Filipinos are already used to.
Let me give an example. During the launch of the restaurant, I ordered the hitsumabushi or grilled eel, which I really enjoyed. The meal comes with grilled eel on top of rice and egg, a dashi broth, a kind of tofu appetizer, and Japanese pickles. This dish is special because it comes with an instruction card that advises diners that they can enjoy the meal in three ways. You can divide the grilled eel into several portions and enjoy them differently. One, you can eat it as it is; two, with wasabi and spring onions; and lastly, with the flavorful dashi broth.
There are several set meals available that Filipinos are already familiar with like the sukiyaki teishoku, ton katsu teishoku, kara age teishoku, teriyaki chicken teishoku, teriyaki salmon teishoku, and many more. Then there’s also the new ones like the namban teishoku—fried chicken steak in sweet and sour sauce and topped with a special tartar sauce. Then there’s the wafu hamburg teishoku, a burger steak with Japanese-style sauce served with freshly grated daikon.
What the restaurant hopes is that they would be known as an authentic teishoku restaurant. According to Yvonne, the food is as authentic as it gets because they did minimal adjustments when it comes to flavors and they use ingredients sourced from Japan.
“I have observed that the local concepts and franchises here, the food is already fusion and you don’t get authentic Japanese taste. I understand they have to adjust to the Filipino palate, but that’s not fully introducing authentic Japanese,” Yvone says, Yayoi Philippines managing director. “At Yayoi we adjust according to sweetness or adding more salt. Just little adjustments. We want to make it clear what Japanese food is really about.”
Yayoi, however, do not only serve teishoku but also a la carte meals as well. You can order appetizer separately like a bowl of edamame (steamed young soy beans) and different salads. The Japanese eatery also has a selection of delicious Japanese dessert like mochi, matcha ice cream, ohagi or steamed sticky rice ball covered in sweet azuki beans, among others.
But probably one of the best features of the restaurant is you get to order your food using an iPad. You can scroll through the menu, pick what you want, and tap to order. Now, that’s very Japanese.
Yayoi, 3rd Floor, Bridgeway, Bldg. B, SM Megamall, Ortigas Center / http://www.yayoi.com.ph / Facebook/YAYOIPhilippines / Instagram @yayoiph