Niu means “nine” in the Viking Language. Here in their Podium branch, they transform the 9 realms into 9 different themed food and drink stations.
Do you remember when you were young, and you would look forward to your lunch box? Whether there was Skittles, chips, rice, Marie crackers, or homemade meals, it was something you look forward to when it came to recess and lunch. While here in Manila, it’s usually prepared by your mom or maybe your yaya. In Japan, it was always a moms job to make sure they prepared their food and that’s how the bento was made. Bento is a single portion one take out or home-packed meal that’s common in Japanese cuisine. It’s filled with small portions of fish, meat, rice, noodles, and vegetables.
All over the world, bento making has been increasing in popularity with over a hundred books dedicated to teaching the art of bento box making.
For today’s visit to Tokyo Ice Café, we were also treated to a short bento demonstration and workshop in Bento making. Chef Takuya explains the importance of a bento box to Japanese children, it’s the meal you eat while growing up. It serves as a source of pride from your classmates when your mother makes you something special that other kids want to try it too.
For Tokyo Ice Cafés new menu they will be offering up some traditional bento boxes to the local market. It’s a nice experience to try eating these packed lunches.
Do you know what a kakigori is? Similar to our halo- halo it’s basically a shaved ice dessert served with fresh fruits, mochi, and coconut jelly. Chef Takuya wanted to bring that experience here in Manila and localize it by adding the famous Filipino Mango. The balance of the right amount of sweetness and variety in texture makes us wonder why this is the first time we’re trying this dessert.
Tokyo Ice Café takes snippets of Japanese home life and brings it here for locals to enjoy. Their new menu featuring their bentos are a sample of what they have back at home. Don’t forget to some kakigori for dessert, it just beat out bingsu in our book. And add some of the little bears to match. Kid friendly and affordable Tokyo Ice is a great addition to the Mall of Asia restaurants.
TOKYO ICE CAFE
- Location: Ground Floor, North Wing, SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay City
- Average Spend: 500php/2 Pax
- Store Hours: 10 AM to 10 PM
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You have the very traditional elements on their menu which are then totally modernized, which is the way a lot of gastropubs operate – But Hops & Brews takes traditional and build on it, creating what we have which is a mixture of fine dining, pub food, and ultimately still retaining the emotional connection that we have with food which is; COMFORT.
In our previous post around 2 years ago, we talked about how worthwhile the surf and turf buffet at Urameshi-ya was. Every once in awhile we re-visit restaurants that we have a high extra rice rating of 4 and above to make sure that they are consistent in terms of these seven (7) categories:
We apply the principle of total Customer Experience or CX. – A product or service of an organization and its interaction with its customers over the duration of their relationship.
From the moment you enter the restaurant until you ask for the cheque.
Elements and Principles of considerations are:
- Customer Service
- Food Quality (sourced ingredients)
- Food Flavor
- Variety of available in the menu
- Facilities, Ergonomics
- Price; Does it give value to your money? Whether expensive or cheap.
In a recent visit, we discovered how things have changed.
1. Quality of Meat
We ordered the wagyu cubes, shrimp, beef with garlic, scallops, and yakitori skewers.
The Wagyu cubes that used to be at-least 1×1 square inch are now randomly cut up pieces of meat. Some are thin, some are thick, but mostly uneven pieces.
The frozen shrimps were huge, but it takes a long time to cook since their frozen.
For the scallops, our server told us she’ll be the one to cook only to bring it back 5 minutes before our time was up.
It seems that the quality of their buffet has greatly fallen since our last visit. One of the reasons why we loved going back was because of the good cuts of meat and seafood for the affordable price. After our meal, it was just disappointing.
2. It’s not worth the wait
There seems to be no system in place, there were several customers who called in advance or signed up then left the line and expected to be prioritized while there was still a long line outside. There should be clear rules so that everyone has the same expectation. A waiting time of 1-2 hours is not justifiable for 45 minutes of cooking/eating allocated time.
3. Hostile Staff
From the moment you ask them to add your name to the waitlist, to the time you get seated. The staff seems to be in a daze, and makes you feel like serving you is such a hassle. When you ask for items you need to do so several times, and when you do they check your time before even accommodating you. Then come back 10 minutes later on consuming your precious 45 minutes.
We don’t understand why they treat customers poorly, and in an untimely manner. This needs to be addressed.
4. Air Quality
No proper venitilation inside the restaurant which makes visibility and comforatability a struggle.
5. Charcoal is not the same
They don’t use the same Japanese charcoal that they used to. Our server herself told us that the charcoal was bad. The charcoal took very long to cook our food and we could only start eating after 20 minutes considering it was thin slices of meat, the heat was also not evenly spread over the grill.
Our advice is to skip the buffet and order their ala carte choices for better quality of meats.
For the famous unlimited meals, we are giving Urameshi-Ya 2 extra rice rating. Find out about or CX (customer experience rating here)
We try to be objective with injecting the 7 elements for CX rating. We hope this article helps and saves you money should you want to try their unlimited Yakiniku.
Here’s a better alternative that offers the same price range, but way better quality which is Tajimaya
Read our original 2015 post here.
- Address: Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City
- Operating Hours: Open daily from 5 pm – 1 am
- Contact Number: 02 894 3915
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There are moments in life when you just want to have that MEAT fix. You want to consume copious amounts of tender, tasty, and soulful meat. The grease and the sauce dribbling down your chin as you reach for another bowl of rice. For me, that day was today.
At an early age, I have already loved Japanese Yakiniku, and the craving comes every now and then. I usually go to Urameshi-ya in Little Tokyo for my yakiniku craving but the line has been horrible the last few times I went, I can’t fathom waiting for 2 hours just to eat for 30 minutes. Luckily, we now have Tajimaya (originally from Chiba, Japan) in Alabang Town Center. To be honest, even if I grew up in the area it was a bit difficult to find. Now, don’t be fooled, it’s there, but it can be a challenge to find to someone in unfamiliar.
So what is Yakiniku?
The term Yakiniku means “grilled meats” in Japan. In every sense, it is cooking associated with grilling meat equivalent to the western barbecue. Some kinds of meat are enjoyed with the “tare” or dipping sauce.
How to find Tajimaya:
Go to the courtyard in Alabang Town Center where Coffee Bean Tea Leaf is, then head up to the second floor and head over to Gerry’s Grill(corner restaurant), once there enter the corridor heading towards the next wing, you’ll find Tajimaya at the end of the row.
As I find myself in front of the restaurant, I can’t help but feel this burning hunger inside of me, for that piece of meat.
Their EAT ALL YOU CAN PROMO for 629PHP++ comes with UNLIMITED Beef, Pork, Squid, Special Sausage, Squidroll, Shrimp, Salad, Sangyu, kimchi, Namuru, and white rice. There’s also bottomless ice tea but better to skip this to make more room for the beef.
Now that we’ve ordered the only thing left to do is to make the “tare” or dipping sauce. I love yakiniku and for me, the best sauce has a generous portion of minced garlic and a dollop of spicy paste, then pour in your yakiniku sauce mix and adjust according to taste.
Here comes the beef. The thin slices of beef and pork are of excellent quality. Everything was fresh from the seafood to the meat.
I love the fact that they use a charcoal grill as opposed to a gas grill. You can never go wrong with that chargrilled taste that creates this rich, complex, sweet and savory compounds on the surface of the seared meat. My favorite thing to do is when the meat is at medium, I place it on the dipping sauce and put it back on the grill creating that layer of crust that seals the flavor of the meat.
When having Yakiniku, it’s best to cook the pieces of meat, one at a time, so that you always have them newly cooked. The feeling of anticipation building up, with every bite. The savory, searing of the meat that caramelizes the edges sealed with the dipping sauce. This kind of craving deeply seated within all of us on a cellular level only satiated by the kind of quality meat and precise sear that each of us secretly desires.
One thing that I like to do is when you place your newly cooked piece of meat on a bed of piping hot rice and the crust and juices of the meat are transferred into the rice, for an even tastier flavor. This got me eating 2 bowls of rice.
Insider tip: Skip the squid roll, pork, and sausage. Order the beef, chicken, shrimp, and squid.
One of the things that I found notable in Tajimaya was their excellent exhaust system, you don’t smell like charred meat, mixed with sweat when you go out as compared to the other barbecue places.
This underrated Yakiniku restaurant is sure to satisfy your inner meat cravings. Everything was fresh and was of good quality. The service was also very good, they are very friendly and attentive to their customers. As of now, there are not a lot of people flocking towards this hidden Yakiniku spot.
Our CX Rating:
- Veranda, SM Mall Of Asia, Main Mall, Bay Rd., Pasay, 1300 Metro Manila
- One Rockwell, Rockwell Dr. Rockwell Center, Makati
- Upper Ground Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
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