Oyasumi Ramen

(Okay, before we start – I know you guys have probably noticed that there’s been a delay when it comes to posting entries. I apologize for that – Work has been really, really taxing lately and by the time I finish by midnight, I’m absolutely exhausted and the only thing I want to do is to lie down and get some rest. Sorry! I’ll continue to update this blog as often as possible, though…)

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We went to P. Guevarra today and had lunch at this ramen joint called Oyasumi Ramen. There are plenty of ramen joints scattered all over the city, each having their own story to tell of how their signature noodle soup came about, or the restaurant’s history. In Oyasumi Ramen’s case, their main specialty is a dish called Iekei Ramen, a lovely Yokohama-based noodle soup made with a combination of tonkotsu-shoyu broth, topped with seaweed and nori strips. The folks behind Oyasumi Ramen decided to bring the Iekei Ramen to see if it can please the Pinoy palate.

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Menu: Ramen, New, Dipping, Cold, Rice, Add-ons, Upgrades, Additional, Afters.

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And now for something unique – Truffle Ramen! This type of ramen combines together Japan and Italy’s best flavors. It’s got truffle essence, parmesan and mozzarella cheese, all blended together with slow-boiled tonkotsu broth and flavored with nori. This sounded really appealing to me so I ended up ordering this… Admittedly, it tasted really good at first, but it got overwhelmingly salty as I reached the bottom of the bowl. And the little clumps of parmesan cheese stuck to the bottom of the bowl looked particularly nasty as well. Yeesh.

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Oyasumi Ramen’s signature dish – The Iekei Ramen. This Yokohama-style ramen consists of perfectly-cooked noodles and chashu slices in signature tonkotsu-shoyu tare broth, with spinach, leeks, and three sheets of nori.

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Mom had the La Paz Ramen – Yes, you read that right, it’s actually la paz batchoy in ramen form! It tasted quite similar to real la paz batchoy too. It’s got a mix of your traditional ramen, with flavors from smooth pork blood, crunchy chicharon bits and garlic.

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Their Gyoza’s got an interesting shape. This was amazing – Crispy on the outside, and meaty on the inside.

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I had a rather different opinion when it came to their Thick Chashu, though – The idea of a thick slab of chashu pork seemed more than wonderful to me, but this was a disappointment. The meat was too tough, and not to mention it was just as salty as my Truffle Ramen.

Ugh… This would’ve been a great ramen place if their broth/pork didn’t pack too much sodium. -_- Maybe I just picked the wrong type of ramen dish, though. I guess you can try out this restaurant too especially if you’re a ramen fanatic, but with the exception of their gyoza, don’t make a mistake and order the same stuff as I did.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Oyasumi Ramen is located at Unit 3, 308 P. Guevarra St. corner Seaview St., Little Baguio, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 2750309. Links: Facebook || IG: @oyasumiramen


Tori Tori

Getting to go to Wilson in San Juan is always a treat for me – It’s one of the more underrated neighborhood destinations in Metro Manila, in my opinion, along with its sister streets, P. Guevarra and Little Baguio. It was already known as a food hub, even before the other popular food hubs came into fruition.

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Tori Tori is one of the more recent establishments opened up in Wilson. It’s a tiny Japanese barbecue spot that specializes in Kushiyaki, a term that translates to ‘grilled on a stick’. So they don’t just serve your plain ol’ chicken yakitori here – There’s also grilled beef, seafood, and veggies.

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Interior was a bit cramped.

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Menu: Kushiyaki, Sushi, Sashimi, Makimono, Wrap it up, Others, Rice, Drinks.

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Spicy Tuna Sashimi, fresh tuna sprinkled with tempura flakes. Very tasty. I was slightly hesitant about wanting to try out sushi/sashimi at a place like this, but I decided to just go for it. I actually ordered this by mistake – I wanted to order their spicy tuna roll, but I mistakenly ticked off the one found in the ‘Sashimi’ category. Hehe. Oh well. At least it was delicious!

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Light-tasting Kani Salad.

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And here’s our beautiful set of Kushiyaki! First we have mom’s Fish Tofu which was served first, and on a separate plate too (probably because it’s not made from meat). It tasted like regular grilled tofu to me.

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… Our second plate of Kushiyaki is the big kahuna: Starting from right you have dad’s orders, the Chicken Thigh and Chicken Heart(!). The thigh was pretty delicious, but it could use a little bit of salt. I skipped the heart entirely… Sorry!

Anyway, I ordered the last two sticks on the plate – Namely, Butabara and Japanese Wagyu. I’m sorry, but you can’t expect me to not order meat at a place such as this! The Butabara (pork) had this rich, flavorful smokiness to it tasted vastly different from the Pinoy-style barbecue that I was so used to.

And then there’s the wagyu. Goodness gracious. So soft, it felt like I was eating a piece of beef-flavored tofu! I’m not really too sure if the beef that Tori Tori uses for their Japanese wagyu comes from actual Kobe beef (TBH the price makes me skeptical – A stick costs less than 200 pesos), but if it does, then I feel really honored to have finally tried it. If not, then I’m sure real wagyu is just as good as the one used here, if not better.

Honestly I’ve been wanting to visit Tori Tori since last year, or perhaps even before that (I even dreamt about visiting it a couple of months before this entry happened), and I’m so glad that everything was worth the wait. Not only is their Kushiyaki finely grilled, it’s easy on the budget too.

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 5/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Tori Tori Kushiyaki is located at 197 Wilson St Greenhills, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 370-7017. Links: Facebook.

Sa Sa

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I’m sorry, but I just HAD to squeeze in a review today despite still feeling slightly full from the Viking’s buffet that I had earlier (parents’ anniversary)! We ended up in Estancia before heading back home, and decided to have dinner at this new Asian restaurant called Sa Sa. I say ‘Asian’ because it pretty much contains a mishmash of cuisines from Asian countries, mostly Singaporean and Indonesian. I haven’t had Singaporean/Indonesian food in a really long while, so I was fine with eating food from this resto.

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Menu: Asian Bowls, Appetizers/Merienda (pork bbq in lettuce cups), Soup (shrimp and chicken laksa), Vegetable (fried yasai itame), Chicken (soy chicken), Seafood (black pepper prawns, mapo tofu tempura), Pork (crispy pork belly in tamarind glaze, soy pork), Beef (braised beef with cheddar), Lamb, Rice, Dessert (mango sticky rice, fried pastry with braised banana and pandan jelly palm), Sa Sa coolers and desserts.

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A cup of Hainanese Rice.

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I, for one, have welcomed the current salted egg trend with open arms, so I ended up ordering their Chicken Salted Egg for my meal. It was indeed tasty, but they could’ve added more salted egg coating to the chicken fillet pieces. I’m sure it goes well with the Hainanese rice.

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Wrap Sa for our appetizer. It looks too big to be an appetizer though, in my opinion… Hmmm. And I can’t help but think that the dish’s name is supposed to be a creative word play for sarap.

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For dessert, we tried out their Indonesian Klepon – A sticky ball made from glutinous rice, and covered in desiccated coconut. This was yummy! I really liked the little piece of palm sugar wedged inside each ball.

Although Sa Sa’s food does not sa-sa-suck by any means (*proceeds to dodge tomatoes thrown by annoyed readers*), I found their food slightly mediocre at best. Maybe we can come back here and try some of their better dishes when our stomachs are not bursting at the seams.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 4.5/5
Food: 3.5/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Sasa is located at B1-010, Basement Level, Estancia Mall, Oranbo, Pasig City. Tel no: +63 9175003187. Links: Facebook || IG: @sasacuisine.

Yanagi @ Midas Hotel

Doing a review for Yanagi wasn’t exactly in my plans, but as the days passed by, I slowly changed my mind and decided to just go with it. My mother decided to take us here since they were offering a Japanese food buffet for Easter Sunday, and, well…. Seriously, who am I to pass that up? One quick read through this blog and you’ll know that Japanese food is one of my favorites.

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Yanagi, located at the Midas Hotel & Casino in Roxas Boulevard, has been featured in so many TV shows and culinary magazines thanks to their tasty authentic Japanese fare. Midas replaced the old Hyatt Hotel in Pasay, which also housed a Japanese restaurant called Tempura Misono. A little bit of research tells me that Tempura Misono was one of the very first Japanese restaurants here in Manila. Yanagi has also made plenty of appearances in Philippine Tatler’s list of the Best Restaurants.

I was actually surprised that my dad agreed to drive us all the way to Midas, since he’s not exactly a big fan of travelling to far locations around the metro (Meanwhile, I’m the exact opposite). Good thing it wasn’t traffic!

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Restaurant interior. The hotel itself isn’t as grand as, say, Sofitel or EDSA Shang, but it’s still very nice and clean.

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Not a lot of choices when it comes to the food, but I didn’t really care at all – I was more than ready to fill my stomach with lots of Japanese food. Interestingly enough, some classic favorites, like Gyoza and Teriyaki Chicken weren’t included in the food items.

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My first plate consisted of Tempura Sushi, two pieces of my usual maguro Sushi Moriawase, Kappa Maki, a scoop of Potato Salad, and Sake Gunkan Maki.

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They don’t just serve Japanese food in this buffet – Here is a plate of fresh fruits…

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Grilled fish and squid.

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Mom’s plate, which consisted of California Maki, another piece of Tempura Sushi, and freshly-grilled shrimp drenched in tasty butter sauce.

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She also liked their Kamameshi Rice.

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More shrimp – This time in Tempura form! The three of us were given our own plates of shrimp and veggie tempura.

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Sukiyaki with slightly sweet broth, a piece of grilled tofu, veggies, noodles, and the thinnest slices of beef.

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Fresh Sashimi Moriawase for dad.

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I absolutely cannot skip out on the Teppanyaki Gyuniku – Delicious cuts of grilled Japanese steak, served medium-rare. I was in pretty much in pure bliss while eating this.

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Takoyaki, with actual chewy bits of octopus inside.

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Cold Chasoba. Didn’t really like this very much.

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There weren’t too many options when it came to the dessert, which was slightly disappointing… And none of them really stood out to me either.

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We did like this small piece of coffee jelly dessert, though.

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Green Tea ice cream, packed with flavor.

(Some of the dishes we missed out on: Yakiudon, Wakame salad, Tori Naruto maki, Kudamono moriawase, Zensai, Japanese-style carpaccio, Yanagi salad, Kurage salad.)

Well I did end up eating a lot (obviously), but one of the things that I love about Japanese food is that you can literally chow down on so many dishes and not feel full at all. And although I’ve been to better Japanese restaurants, my dining experience here at Yanagi is something I won’t forget anytime soon.

Ambiance/Interior: 4/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Yanagi is located at The Midas Hotel and Casino, 2702 Roxas Boulevard Roxas Blvd, Pasay City. Tel no: (02) 902 0100. Links: Official Midas Hotel Website || Midas Hotel Facebook ||  Midas Hotel Twitter || IG: @midashotelandcasino

Juju Eats

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A dental appointment usually meant a visit to The Podium, so I grabbed the opportunity to do a review – And this time, Juju Eats was my restaurant of choice. Juju Eats calls themselves the very first salad bar here in the Philippines. The owners’ main reason for opening this restaurant is to combine the quickness of fast food together with healthy and light meals. They also have a juice cleanse program in case you’ve been eating too much greasy food and want to refill your body with the proper nourishment it needs (I want to try a juice cleanse so badly but most of them are way too expensive! >_<)

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Interior. I have been passing by this restaurant for so long now, but I only just noticed that they didn’t have chairs inside.

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Thai Chicken Wrap – House mix, grilled chicken, mint, cilantro, cashew nuts, and Asian dressing. As expected, this wrap had a crap ton of veggies inside it – But I enjoyed eating this thanks to the tanginess of the Asian dressing, as well as the bite-sized pieces of the juicy grilled chicken (although I did find a tiny chicken bone in one of the wraps), and the crunchiness of the cashews.

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Meatball Marinara – Fusili pasta, capers, chicken meatballs, marinara sauce, cheddar cheese, and basil. I normally dislike red sauce so I gave this dish a pass. I did try one piece of the pasta though, and I must say the sauce tasted really fresh.

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Cool and refreshing Choco-Banana Smoothie, made from the finest ingredients. If I ever get the chance to return here, I would try out one of their juices or nut milks.

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Can’t leave Juju Eats without trying out one of their famous juices! This is their Qcumber Quench, made from pineapple, mint, and cucumbers.

Much like a good chunk of the organic/healthy-eating places I’ve been too, Juju Eats exceeded my expectations and I ended up enjoying their food. I can actually picture myself coming back here soon enough, trying their other wraps, panini sandwiches, pastas, nut milks, etc. Now if only I had enough money to do those juice cleanses… *sigh*

Ambiance/Interior: 4.5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4.5/5 (taste), 5/5 (presentation)

Juju Eats is located at G/F The Podium, ADB Ave Wack Wack, Mandaluyong. You can also find them in Makati, Eastwood, and Ortigas. Links: Official Website || Facebook || Twitter || IG: @jujucleanse.


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… Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls of all ages, step right up and try out Pezzo’s delicious pizza flavors, hailing all the way from Singapore! This carnival-themed pizza chain first launched in ION Mall Orchard back in 2012. They opened up their flagship Philippine branch in Robinson’s Place Ermita last year, and six other branches have popped up since – The newest one located in SM Megamall.

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Unlike other pizza chains, Pezzo only serves their pizza by the slice. You can choose between two types of pizzas: The Gala series, and the Carnival series. And since Singapore is a predominantly Muslim country, Pezzo’s food is completely Halal, including their pizza.

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Here’s our pizza! On the left is the Hola Hawaiian pizza (chicken ham, turkey bacon, sweet pineapples topped with mozzarella cheese), while the one on the right is the BBQ Bonanza pizza (chicken strips, red onions, mixed with BBQ sauce, topped with mozzarella cheese). Pezzo’s slices are definitely bigger than the ones served in Filipino pizza chains, and slightly thicker too – I feel like two slices will make you feel full right away. The Hola Hawaiian tasted vastly different from the usual Hawaiian pizzas I’ve tried – Slightly tangier, with the flavor enhanced by chicken ham and turkey bacon pieces. The BBQ Bonanza was okay, I’m a sucker for barbecue chicken pizza so I found it somewhat enjoyable.

We washed down our pizzas with the ultra-refreshing Wintermelon tea (also pictured).

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Pumpkin Soup… Slightly bland, if you ask me.

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Their Smoked Chicken Lasagna (smoked chicken Bolognese, béchamel sauce, lasagna pasta and mozzarella cheese), on the other hand, wasn’t too bad – They did not go easy on the mozzarella cheese, lemme tell you guys that.

I heard the Pezzo branches overseas have pizzas with unique Singaporean flavors, like chicken satay, laksa, etc. If we’re lucky, us Pinoys might get to try out these flavors soon enough. That aside, the pizza that we tried in this particular Pezzo branch (Robinson’s Galleria) was just alright, albeit served cold, which I feel like affected the quality. I would like to give this restaurant a second chance, but I’ll probably just visit another branch next time.

Ambiance/Interior: 3/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 3/5 (presentation)

Pezzo is located at Level 2, Robinsons Galleria, Ortigas, Quezon City. You can also find them in Robinson’s Place Ermita, UP Town Center, SM North Edsa, and SM Megamall. Links: Official Website (SG) || SG Facebook, PH Facebook || SG Twitter || IG: @pezzopizzasg, pezzoph.

Washoku de Azabu

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I love a good “hidden gem” restaurant, especially if it’s in a place where you least expect it. The last time something like this happened was in 2014 when I reviewed Tsumura, a Japanese restaurant located in Makati. Washoku de Azabu is another fine example of these types of restaurants, located inside the BTIC building along Greenhills. This restaurant’s huge sign would catch my eye whenever I would pass by the building, so I decided to give this place a try.

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Serious question: What is it with these hidden Japanese restaurants having classy interiors? I instantly fell in love with it from the get-go. We ate here during lunch time, but I’m 100% sure the view looks spectacular at night.

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Menu: Appetizer, Salad, Seafood, Meat, Sashimi (sashimi moriwase, sashimi for one, sashimi special), Sushi moriwase, Kinds of sushi, Makimono, Sushi roll, Sushi donmono, Tempura moriwase (seafood, vegetable), Agemono (meat, seafood), Yakimono (yakitori, skewers order per stick, vegetable), Makimono kushiyaki, Grilled seafood, Hot pot/stew, Azabu specials (sukiyaki, shabu shabu, teppanyaki), Gohan mono, Rice, Soup, Noodles (cold, other noodle specialties, ramen specials).

A very diverse menu, if I may say so myself.

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Tezukuri Gyoza – Was really astounded by how thin and crispy the skin is. Very nice.

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Spicy Tuna Roll, always a favorite. Although this one lacks a bit of spiciness, it was still very tasty.

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Mom had the California Rolls – With crabsticks, mango, and lettuce.

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Tempura Soba – Hot noodle soup with tempura. The taste of the noodles wasn’t too overwhelming – I normally have a love-hate relationship with soba, but this one was just great. I loved the tempura as well, it was crunchy, and not too greasy.

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Tan Tan Men – Sichuan style ramen. Dad thought this one was too salty. I got to try out a bit of the soup, and he was right. The amount of miso also overpowered the broth a bit. It’s definitely a lot spicier than the tuna rolls, though. I also loved the grilled pieces of chasyu.

Not too bad at all! Washoku de Azabu is highly recommended for Japanese food fans such as myself. I would love to come back here if given the opportunity – It’s got the perfect combination of good food, great location, and wonderful interiors… Although I’m still wishing that I could dine here again during the nighttime. Hehe.

Ambiance/Interior: 5/5
Staff/Service: 5/5
Food: 4/5 (taste), 4/5 (presentation)

Washoku de Azabu is located at G/F BTTC Centre, Ortigas Ave cor Roosevelt St Northeast Greenhills, San Juan. Tel no: (02) 942-2051. Links: Facebook || IG: @azabugreenhills.