Saturday, November 12, 2011

My Latest Food Discovery: How I Fell In Love with Tokyo Cafe!

I am always on the look out for culinary creations to feed not just my hunger, but more so my curiosity. And I know I’m the only one hooked on this hunt in my family, thus, I end up this big (read: on the plump side err obese, if you cannot utter the word). But I know there are lots of food lovers out there who find themselves in the same delicious dilemma so to help, I’d like to share my two cents on my latest food discovery which had probably the best-tasting Japanese and European fusion foods available in the country today. Sure, there are thousands of restaurants and food shops to choose from and on top of that thousands of dishes to try. Hopefully, you can try my latest food discoveries. Read on and find out how I fell in love with Tokyo Café.

See that small jigger sized glass? That's how you adjust its taste.
To begin with, Tokyo Café is currently rising as one of the most sought after Japanese coffee shops in the country. The restaurant provides a cozy ambiance, delicious food, and unique Japanese beverages. Oh, and I haven’t mentioned anything yet about the stuff posted on their walls—they’re so cool! I really liked the few words and wisdom on their walls. An example would be something like this: “In Japan, before eating you say, I-ta-da-ki-ma-su, which means, “I receive this gift thankfully.” After finishing your meal, you say, Go-chi-so-sa-ma, which means, “Thank you for the meal.” I’ve always thought it was as simple as Taberu…(read: Let’s eat!)

The crispy and tasty TenJu (Shrimp Tempura) with fresh salad on the side.

A delicious concoction of coffee and chocolate syrup with ice cream.

Another interesting wall post is the Japanese saying Ichigo Ichie, it says, “The true spirit of hospitality is based on the saying Ichigo Ichie which means, ‘treasure every encounter with another person”.  The place provides a laid back environment, very nice interiors and well lighted with touches of colors light green and ecru white.
Coming from a reputable Japanese coffee shop, a native of Tokyo, Mr. Atsushi Yoshizawa found potential in the Philippine market. With his background in restaurant operations, he adopted the same method and ventured into the food business here in our country. Mr. Yoshizawa had trained his staff well for excellent service and uses the Japanese standards of food quality.  He’s also very hands-on, making sure that every food or beverage is served the way they do in Japan. 

Mr Yoshizawa and Ms. Kate Paredes explains how Tokyo Cafe started.

Differentiating itself from a regular coffee shop and a Japanese restaurant, it offers first-class fusion of Japanese and Western cuisine. Where else could you find especially blended coffee and beverages, Japanese tempura, burgers + fries, pasta, and pizza in one restaurant? Others may find it a bit odd, but if you really go to Japan, they really serve pasta and pizza in coffee shops. Maybe we’ve just been used to Western-style when it comes to coffee shops that’s why we would always see cakes, bagels, sandwiches and pastries on their menu. I guess this is also one of the reasons why Tokyo Café is a standout. I’d like to think this setup is perfect for the whole family. When Dad wants to drink coffee, Mom wants to eat Japanese cuisine, older sister is on a diet and wants something healthy like pasta, the kids love fries and the whole family can share in one pizza—you’ll never go wrong dining at Tokyo Café because they’ve got everything! Dining at Tokyo Café is all about being exciting and full of choices in a relaxing atmosphere.
The author preparing her chopsticks before indulging on her Kalbi-Ju.
I’ve tasted their bestselling Ten-Ju or deep fried shrimp tempura (real tiger shrimps) with their signature tempura sauce on a bed of steamed white rice. Here’s what I liked most about their Japanese rice toppings or Ju-Box (set meals)—for every order, there’s a small portion of green fresh vegetable salad as side dish. Making sure that every meal is a balance and healthy one. Unlike other shrimp tempura served in other Japanese cuisine-based restaurants where shrimp tempura had been over coated with batter and flour, Tokyo Café’s shrimp tempura is really a standout because it is tasty up to the last bite. It’s not greasy even if it’s deep-fried. The tempura was very crispy even if it only had very thin flour coating or batter. Surprisingly, from the crispy coating outside, it is very soft and tasty inside. The sauce lent a slight gingery taste. It’s like having my comfort food. I will definitely recommend it to all my relatives and friends.

The tender Kalbi-Ju with a special coffee based ice cream drink.

Tokyo Café’s Kalbi-Ju or thinly sliced beef smothered in original yakiniku sauce is also a must try. The beef wasn’t a challenge to begin with; in fact it was easy to chew. And it came in a generous pile on top of the steamed rice that inevitably made this dish drool-worthy. I just wish they even had more of its yakiniku sauce on the side because I was craving for more. Its got the sweetness and saltiness together in a dish. Had it been gristly, the dish would have been a dentures’ nightmare. Thankfully, it is incredibly soft and chewy.

Perfect meals for those on the budget.

Some of the delicious Japanese set meals Tokyo Cafe meals.

 Unaju is also a favorite among Tokyo Café’s customers. Unaju are pan-fried eel fillets topped with caramelized soy sauce over rice. Other must-try dishes are the Katsu-Ju and Oyako-Ju. Katsu-Ju is deep fried breaded pork cutlet flavored with signature tempura sauce, onions, leeks and scrambled egg on steamed rice. Oyako-Ju are sliced chicken braised in signature tempura sauce with onions, and leeks mixed in tamago (egg) on steamed white rice.
Tokyo Café also had lots of unique Japanese beverages such especially blended coffee drinks like Tokyo Ice, Tokyo Blend, Ice Caramel, and Espresso among many others. If you’re lucky, sometimes they even offer especially prepared beverages like Cherry Blossoms and Peach inspired drinks that are truly refreshing. Drinks and beverages are served with a small jigger glass for additional milk and syrup, giving customers the option to adjust their drinks based on their own taste.
The author at Tokyo Cafe in SM Megamall Bridgeway branch.

There are actually more sumptuous food and beverages to discover at Tokyo Café. I vow to come back to taste some more interesting foods like their pizza and pasta. By the way, it would be great to let you know that the company behind Tokyo Café also owns Parmigiano Pizzeria Ristorante, so you can be assured that their pizza and pasta are awesome in their own right! I immediately fell in love with Tokyo Café. It had more to offer than ordinary coffee shops I usually frequent which only had bagels, sandwiches, cakes and pastries. Tokyo Café will definitely satisfy even those with discriminating palate. More than their great tasting food and drinks, you’ll surely come back for more because of their efficient and friendly service.

The cozy interior of the cafe.

The author at Tokyo Cafe.

Find out for yourselves why I fell in love with Tokyo Café. Drop by in any of their branches: SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, McKinley Piazza, Go Hotel in Pioneer and NAIA Terminal 3. Like them on their Facebook page to get updates on their promo and latest offers.

Purple Plum Fairy says Arigato Gozaimasu to Mr. Atsushi Yoshizawa and Ms. Kate Paredes of Tokyo Café. Special thanks to Mr. Richard Mamuyac.



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