There have been some 'Japanese invasion' in the food industry as restaurants specializing in ramen noodles and katsudon/tonkatsu had been sprouting like mushrooms that they seem to be found almost everywhere. But YABU The House of Katsu had started the so-called Katsu craze after it had brought the said Japanese concept in the Philippine shore. At first, it all seemed to be such a daunting task for YABU, much like testing the waters on how Filipinos would accept the Japanese katsu dining concept. Surprisingly, Filipinos had welcomed that said concept. And true enough, as proof of how we became a katsu-crazed nation, YABU, now has nine branches and counting. In fact, they've just recently opened another branch in Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati City.
Security Blanket's author poses before the Private Tasting signage.
Security Blanket were among the lucky ones who were invited for the "Private Tasting Event" prior to their opening. Yabu takes pride in being meticulous when it comes to details--from using Koshihikari rice to knowing the exact second when they would lift the pork from the bubbling oil. They even promised their customers that if your order wasn't served to you in 20 minutes, it's for free. Or if you're not happy with the taste of the food, they'd gladly replace them or give you a refund.
Disclaimer: I am not compensated for this post. Opinions expressed are my own.
YABU's Kick--cayenne, whisky, orgeat, casis and lime
Jasmine Blossoms--Jasmine tea concentrate, ginger syrup, lime juice, wasabi syrup and paste, orgeat, sochu and lime.
We were able to try Yabu's awesome appetizer which includes menchi tamago--coated and deep fried quail egg; tamagotaki--egg omelet with teriyaki glazed sauce; tuna tataki--sashimi with ginger soy lime vinaigrette made from fresh sushi grade ahi tuna, as deep-red and meaty as a steak. It has garnishes such as garlic, ginger, green onions and shiso leaves. But I loved Yabu's Katsu springroll best. It looks just like a typical springroll but it had some kick sprinkled with spicy shichimi togarashi.
Come and visit YABU The House of Katsu in any of its branches: Megamall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Southmall, SM Aura, SM North, Alabang Town Center, Greenbelt 5, Robinsons Magnolia and the newly opened Powerplant Mall, Rockwell.
Stuffed Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese
The Condiments that will make your meals even more delightful.
D-I-Y Pounding of sesame seeds brings excitement to the actual meal.
For Katsu newbie, you've got to learn how to make your own sauce: grind/pound on the black and white sesame seeds by pestle on the mortar, pour in the special glaze katsu sauce, mix and dip those golden brown katsu +prepare yourself for an awesome meal!
For those who aren't familiar with katsudon, the word was derived from two words "Katsu" which means cutlet and "Donburi" meaning rice bowl dish. YABU's original katsudon is delicious cutlets dipped in eggs and dredged in fresh panko, served over a bowl of steamed Japanese white rice or healthy brown rice and all covered in a mouth-watering sauce.
Tori Menchi Katsu Set with miso soup, brown rice, pickles and fruit bowl.
YABU's also known for their Kurobuta or Black Bershire pig. These pigs are considered to be the "kobe beef" of pork due to its rich marbling, softness and flavor. Kurobuta pork had this incredible flavor and softness, sometimes to the point of almost melting in one's mouth. The best part is that Yabu locally sourced their finest and premium pork and delivered fresh to their kitchen. Yabu's premium tonkatsu set is reasonably priced, 120g costs Php590 while 90g is pegged at Php530. These are served with 3/4 inch cutlet made from pork with a trimming of fat and goes with unlimited Japanese Koshihikari white rice/brown rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, sliced cabbage with your own choice of dressing and a bowl of fruit.
For the Yabu's private dining, I chose to eat Tori Menchi Katsu Set. Tori (chicken) Menchi is actually made from minced chicken with ham and cheese filling, dredged in fresh panko breading and deep fried to golden brown. Although there's a wide range if options from YABU's menu, I've decided to try Tori Menchi Katsu instead. Bright and golden brown panko breaded chicken that's not thin nor too thick. The size is just right for one person. I was surprised it's not even greasy at all considering it's deep fried. It exudes a crisp golden color and an aroma of deliciousness that definitely whets any appetite.
I've found out later that Yabu's secret lies in the way their Katsu are cooked. Katsu is cooked at precisely 165 degrees Celsius and the reason why they aren't greasy was that they allow their katsu to rest so that the meat will retain its rich flavors and natural juices + tenderness.
I no longer wonder why YABU's been hailed and awarded by the Philippine Tatler as one of the Best Restaurants of 2014. Aside from dishing out awesome meals and cocktail drinks, they're very concerned with customers' satisfaction even up to the littlest details, seldom do you find a resto who does that, right?
For more information, log on to www.yabu.ph. Special thanks to Ms. Erika Lim for the invite.