It’s been a week and then some since I had my first taste of Yabu. Yabu is a local katsu restaurant. I’m not really a fan of katsu—at least, the ones I’ve previously had. But, I had been meaning to try it out, just to see what the fuss was all about. I finally went with Sarie (read her review) on November 26, thanks to an invitation from Mike.
I’ve already gone back once (with my family in tow), and writing this review is actually making my mouth water at the thought of all the good food I ate. I tried to sample everything I could possibly on those two trips. They asked me and Sarie to move to a bigger table, because of our enormous spread. I’d have to say that nothing disappointed.
Sarie and I each got the Kurobuta US Premium Pork Set (Php 515) because it’s Yabu’s specialty. The meat, which apparently is like the pork version of kobe beef, was absolutely tender and the batter wasn’t slathered on but was thin and crispy. I think that this is what really sets Yabu apart from the kind of katsu that I’m used to. It was just really delicious.
Most of Yabu’s menu consisted of meal sets, which come with rice, unlimited cabbage (salad), miso soup, pickled vegetables and fresh fruits. A great deal if you are starved, not so if you don’t have such a big appetite. The servings were hefty, but it didn’t feel like you were stuffing yourself with just batter and oil.
The ala carte menu had offerings of hire, chicken, and potato croquettes, among other things, but we had our eyes on the seafood! We both got a piece of Black Tiger Prawns (Php 125), Oysters (Php 100) and Scallops (Php 100) each. The price may be a little bit daunting, but the pieces (especially the oysters and the scallops) were quite large and so very tasty.
I personally didn’t care much for the prawns, but I think that might have had to do with me being so full by the time I ate this. The ala carte selections are served with some Japanese mayo-based concoction, which I tried and actually liked. (I vehemently dislike any sort of mayonnaise.) It’s not that the prawns weren’t good, it’s just that if I was to get only one type of seafood, I would go with either the oysters or the scallops, no question.
Scallops. I must say, I have never met scallops this huge before. It is an introduction I very much enjoyed.
Half a scallop! Sarie had to take a photo of mine because she inhaled hers right away. You know, because of deliciousness.
Oysters! These were dee-vine—lightly breaded and bursting with flavor. On my inevitable next trip, I think I will get the oyster meal, which comes with four oysters. Yum!
Now, on to the sauce: I don’t think this is a secret ingredient, but it absolutely helped! You’re supposed to mix the katsu sauce with ground up sesame seeds. Feel free to ask for more of these, since you will no doubt finish at least two bowls of katsu sauce for the duration of your meal. At least, I did on both occasions.
And then, I’m posting this photo just because it’s cute.
Other things I’ve tried: Chicken Katsu, which I enjoyed more, only because I’m not such a pork person, and Chicken Curry, which was pretty good but I have a new love affair with katsu sauce.
I’d also like to commend the staff. They are helpful, attentive, and also they laughed at our jokes, which is something that I always enjoy.
I cannot wait for my next trip.
Yabu: House of Katsu is located at 2/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall. Store hours are Mon-Sun: 10 a.m. – 10 p.m.
NOTE: The meal prices on the menu are not inclusive of 12% VAT and 5% Service Charge so it’d be safe to mentally add 17% when picking an order, just to make sure you’re budgeting right.