What makes a restaurant great? Delicious and Instagram-worthy food, acceptable (a.k.a. justifiable) price-serving ratio, and quality service top my list. Yabu: House of Katsu and Ippudo Philippines fit the bill, but they decided to take it a notch further by having two food tasting events in one night! What is food coma?!
Let’s start with Yabu, my favorite restaurant, like ever! 😀 Based on the invitation, I expected to taste just their new burger, so I was pleasantly surprised when we were served a new drink: lychee and peach iced tea. Normally, lychee-flavored drinks are a red flag for me because they often taste like medicine. However, Yabu’s version is so good, I had to stop myself from drinking too much since we still had a lot of food to devour! Anyway, the lychee flavor is stronger than the peach’s, but it isn’t overpowering nor medicine-like. It definitely goes well with anything spicy!
And speaking of spicy, we also ate mozzarella katsu sticks, which came with a spicy aioli dip. I’ve tasted so many versions of cheese sticks, but Yabu’s take on this sinfully good appetizer is simply breathtaking. Hello, mozzarella!!! From its crunchy golden panko-crusted outside to its delectably cheesy inside… oh dear, I could finish an order (6 pieces, P260) on my own!
Now, a few months back, I wrote about their latest master class creations: hire and ebi katsu burgers. Unfortunately, the hire katsu burger is no longer available (hoping it would make a comeback, though!), but don’t despair! An even yummier variant has arrived: the MENCHI katsu burger!!! Yabu’s menchi katsu set is one of my favorites even before they had burgers! And my gosh, this new burger is so good, I am contemplating on going back to Yabu today to enjoy it again! To the uninitiated, Yabu’s menchi katsu is made with flavorful ground beef & pork, and two types of creamy cheese (cheddar and harvati)! Like its predecessors, the menchi katsu burger also has Japanese pickles, shiso leaves, and shredded cabbage. Aside from spicy aioli sauce, it also has caramelized onion jam, and everything is sandwiched in toasted brioche buns.
At this point, I started getting full (wow, started pa lang?! haha!), but off to Ippudo Ramen next! For starters, we had the staple pork and fried chicken buns, and my sister agreed that the latter is more to our liking.
We also had deep-fried gyoza! I am so not a fan of gyoza because every time I attempt to eat it, I get disgusted by the taste of what I think is rotten vegetable paste. However, Ippudo’s version isn’t like that at all! The inside wasn’t pasty and tasted meaty, plus it was garnished with negi (white onion sprouts), spicy mayo, and chili ! It tasted great even without the accompanying ponzu sauce!
Of course, any of Ippudo’s appetizers are also great ramen sidekicks, so we were also treated to their latest ramen creation: Gyokai Tonkotsu. Ippudo is known for their rich tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, so imagine fusing it with creamy chicken and bonito (a type of fish) flavors. Damn, it’s ramen perfection! I would normally add freshly ground garlic, pepper, and sesame seeds to my ramen, but the gyokai tonkotsu doesn’t need any flavor enhancement! I slurped the wavy noodles and broth away like a real Japanese would! Every bowl has generous servings of bamboo shoots and cabbage, plus nori, a half slice of soft boiled tamago (egg), and soft, thinly-sliced chasyu (pork). The gyokai tonkotsu is seasoned with yuzukoshō, a type of Japanese seasoning made from chili, yuzu (a citrus fruit), and salt.
Finally, we capped off this humongous gastronomic event with Ippudo’s matcha crème brûlée. It was my sister’s first time to try it, and she was left speechless! Even though she was already full, she managed to eat a lot of this beautifully crafted dessert! 🙂
Indeed, it was a great night filled with splendid food and fun company! Thank you, Candice and Yuan! Looking forward to more food journeys with Yabu and Ippudo next year! ❤