China and my brother invited us to join them last Saturday in Sakura Yakiniku. We’re not really sure, but apparently, they’re the same group as our fave Japanese resto, Izakaya Kikufuji (still not certain if they really are under the same group). The first thing I noticed about this place, is that it seems like time stopped and this shop looked like the interiors were done in the 70’s or something, I think this place has been around for a long time.
We had some sashimi — Chutoro (Medium Fat Blue Fin Tuna Belly), this is one of the higher grades of tuna sashimi. Unlike what most people think, the more expensive grades of tuna are the lighter colored ones rather the deep red color. The most light and most highly prized of which is the Otoro…the chutoro is found just in the peripheral of this prized sashimi. It is tender and has a slightly creamy note when very fresh. It has that melt in your mouth feel (well it better! considering the price we paid for a mere 7 slices!).
Uni (Sea Urchin) – you can tell that this was very, very fresh. It had an unusual sweetness and yes, another melt-in-your mouth feel. It was really creamy, without a single hint of fishiness! I didn’t even really have to dip it into the soy sauce. I used to find this so sick back in the 80’s, but I realized that maybe most restaurants just didn’t have that kind of access to fresh sea urchin, especially in those hole-in-wall Jap places we used to eat in.
Then came the tiny sidedishes…nothing really to write home about. Kimchi wasn’t so great, but at least it was fermenting.
The Beef was good! It was nice and fatty with that creamy, melt-in-your mouth texture. And it was sliced so thinly that it was absolutely tender. I ate this rare. Yum! The marinade they used was soy sauce, with a bit of mirin and leeks. Melt-in-your-mouth means fatty…fatty means tasty & delicious! Sorry guys, I am a big fan of fat! The sauce was a mix-your-own type of thing and it included garlic pasta and this fermented bean. It was really good and gave an entirely new dimension to an otherwise boring yakiniku sauce.
We also had tongue. And this was something new for me since the tongue was sliced so thinly like a tiny ham. The texture was almost like a thin scallop! I dub thee, the scallop of the meat world (hahah that was baduy). But it was good, I am so used to having thicker slabs of tongue as part of our family favorite, Lengua or something that we do in Charcuterie class.
We also had okonomiyaki, korean style. It was really soft like a pancake. I liked it, the sauce was fitting. It was like a light soy vinaigrette. The pancake had leeks and most likely some kimchi in it, which caused it to turn red. My brother didn’t like this one so much though.
We also had sake. But it was funny how they also charged us a whopping P 98 per 12-15 calamansis…we ended up paying 180+ for calamansis alone. This was probably the most annoying part of the night.
We then headed to Greenbelt to get some yogurt by the gram in Qoola. You know, this was my first time in Qoola, and I was totally mesmerized (and really enjoyed) pumping the yogurt into the cup, that I OVER BOUGHT. So guys, do not be mesmerized by the beautiful twists of the yogurt coming out of the yogurt machine. For that day they had 4 flavors, 2 of which I liked the most (Strawberry-Banana and Original). It kind of made me wonder how they absolutely removed the tartness of the yogurt in the chocolate flavor…I find it quite impossible to still call something yogurt without the taste of fermentation. So I skipped out on the chocolate.
I kept mine with lots of fruit and some chocolate. Mig’s looked like some voracious kid was released into a free-for-all candy store. It was a good rainy night, we all went home with full stomachs, wanting to go to sleep.
Enjoy more pictures down here.