(NOTE: Since the entry is too lengthy, I’ve decided to place the rest of it under a cut.)
Today I paid a visit to Dohtonbori, Japan’s number one okonomiyaki restaurant. There have been several Japanese restaurants here in Manila that usually specialize in one type of dish: Katsu, ramen, sushi, etc. But none for okonomiyaki – So I was really happy when they decided to open up a okonomiyaki restaurant, with a cute raccoon theme to boot! Dohtonbori hopes to foster a ‘teppan communication’ between its diners, in which people can make happy memories while cooking their food on the grill while bonding with their loved ones.
First off… What the heck is an okonomiyaki? An okonomiyaki is a Japanese-style pancake made from a base of flour, dashi, eggs, and cabbage. You can mix various types of food in an okonomiyaki – Pork, beef, seafood, chicken, more vegetables… Even cheese! Okonomiyaki is considered as a popular street food in Japan, especially in the Osaka region.
Here is Dohtonbori’s interior.
Our table came with this lovely teppan grill.
Menu: Okonomiyaki, Hiroshimayaki, Modern yaki, Tonpei steak, Yakisoba, Monjayaki, Yakiniku, Don, Fried rice, Noodles, Salad, Kid’s menu, and Set menu.
When the waitress switched on the gas for the teppan, my immediate first thought was ‘What’s going on here?’ Well it turns out, nearly every dish here in Dohtonbori is actually prepared right in front of you. I was pretty surprised! I honestly thought we were just going to order our okonomiyaki and they’ll serve it to us fully cooked. Hehe.
Anyway, I’ll first be showing you the food that was already prepared beforehand – Starting with dad’s Ajitama Ramen, tonkotsu ramen with a soft boiled egg…
Rice and Miso Soup set.
Tempura. The pieces were pretty large, but it turned out to be 87% breading. Bleh.
Vinegar + chili oil dipping sauce, and the most perfectly-shaped ice cube I’ve ever seen.
That aside… Let’s move on to the three main dishes that required a bit of love from the teppan – Gyoza, Pork Yakisoba, and Kiwami Premium Pork Okonomiyaki.
First, the Gyoza. Our waitress oils up the teppan and places the gyoza pieces on top. Then a minute later, she puts the ice cube beside the gyoza pieces, and covers them with a pot lid, steaming the gyoza pieces inside.
Here is our cooked gyoza… You can see a bit of the okonomiyaki batter on the left, hehe.
Next is our Pork Yakisoba – The waitress places a heap of veggies and pork on the teppan, and mixes them up. Then she stirs in the noodles plus the yakisoba sauce, gives them another mix, and it’s all set!
Noodles, yakisoba sauce, pork and veggies before they were thrown into the grill.
And finally, the star of the show – The Okonomiyaki! As mentioned earlier, we ordered the Kiwami Premium Pork Okonomiyaki – With thick slices of premium quality imported pork. It slightly disturbs me that plenty of the dishes that I ordered here had pork pieces in them. Hmm. Anyway, this is how our okonomiyaki was prepared:
The waitress stirs this bowl of the aforementioned okonomiyaki base ingredients into a sticky batter, then pours it all over the teppan. She also adds the slices of pork on the teppan, grilling them on each side.
…. Then once the bottom half of the batter has been grilled, she places the pork slices on top of it flips it over to cook the other side.
Next, she fries an egg on top of the teppan. This will later be placed on the bottom half of the okonomiyaki.
Drizzle some Japanese mayo, add a dash of nori powder and bonito… And we’re done!
Here is a slice of the finished product – With a few tempura flakes for decoration. Hehe.
What a fun experience that was! Although it did have its downsides (food tasted a little bland and we ended up ordering too much), I think the entire process of cooking your orders in front of you is what makes this place worth visiting, in my opinion. I also discovered something about myself: I think I tend to appreciate food a little bit more when it’s prepared right before my own eyes, no matter how flavorful or tasteless the end result might be.
Food: 4/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)