Another hype or not?
I wasn't in any hurry to eat at Yabu. First, their branches are on the other side of the world. I'm from the South so you can just imagine how remote Megamall and even Robinsons Magnolia are to me. Second, practically everyone was clamoring for it and I can just imagine the looong waiting time if I were to eat there. Third, I've been burned numerous times before by various hypes. It was the same story -- I read about it online, everyone seemed to love it; but when I finally get to try it, I'm disappointed. Then, only then, do I see random people here and there who share the exact same sentiment -- it's all just a hype. So yeah, I'm in no hurry to eat at Yabu.
When I finally got the chance to eat there, my expectations were dancing back and forth on a positive-negative spectrum, pretty much bouncing like a basketball traveling across the court. This better be good. Stop kidding yourself, this may be just another hype. Maybe it is good, who knows. Nah, don't get your hopes up. I could've sworn it was some kind of battle between Dr. Jekyll and Ms. Hyde inside my mind, shut up only by the accommodating manager who guided us to our table.
At the center was a cluster of condiment bottles. There was this Goma sesame dressing, as well as the Shoyu (soy-based) vinaigrette for the unlimited chiffonade of cabbage that comes with the set dishes. Mixing the two would prove to be a good decision, as the melding of flavors enhance the heap of veggies it dresses. There were also some chili powder, chili oil and a ceramic jar of Himalayan pink salt, all of which were left untouched as I focused on the katsu sauce.
How to make the Katsu sauce:
1. Grind the black and white sesame seeds scattered in the brown ceramic bowl with the pestle made out to look like a piece of wood, until the seeds are finely grounded.
2. Pour the tonkatsu sauce using the thin and long pipe-like wooden utensil.
3. Mix it all in.
4. Dip your katsu and enjoy!
After demonstrating how to prepare the aforementioned sauce, we went ahead and ordered his recommended dishes.
First up was the Seafood Katsu Set 2 (P515), which comprises Salmon, Black Tiger Prawn, Crab and Oyster. I loved everything! From the tender, pinkish meat of the salmon coated with that echoing crunch, to that soft crab meat hidden within the fried crust, all of it were katsu-perfect. Moreover, the ebi tempura had a thin layer of Japanese breadcrumbs, enabling you to enjoy the prawn without the usual batter taste, while the oysters were luscious and had a nice clean finish to it. The set includes unlimited Japanese rice, a bowl of miso soup, some Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage, and a bowl of sliced fruits to help cleanse the palate.
As much as I loved the seafood set, the first thing that came to my mind after dipping a strip of the Kurobuta Pork (P575 for the 120g set; P515 for the 90g set) into the Katsu sauce and bringing the golden glimmer drenched in dark brown sauce into my mouth was, OMG! It isn't a hype!! This glorious piece of porcine meat was the softest, most tender tonkatsu I've ever had in my life and I kid you not. Hailed as the "kobe beef" of pork, this crisp Panko-covered "rosu" cutlet certainly deserves its title with a flavor so full and tasty, along with a trimming of fat to boot. I don't think I'll be eating another tonkatsu again without measuring it against this, even subconsciously so.
Ergo, to the question if this is just another hype, I say, definitely... NOT!! I see a lot of other food I look forward to trying, starting with that Special Rosu Katsudon and Rosu Katsu Curry. Although if I would be willing to give up ordering the Kurobuta Pork set in lieu of a new dish is a question that poses a certain challenge. Well, I'll just have to cross the bridge when I get there. Oh and something caught my eye previously, but forgot all about it when I saw the Kurobuta Pork on the menu -- those mouthwatering appetizers. I'll get me some of those when I go back.
Spot: 2/F Mega Atrium SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
Contact No.: 576.3900