So what does this have to do with food or with Yabu? It’s all about perception, people! And it counts!
Now, I’ve heard tons of great feedback for Yabu. I don’t think I’ve even heard of anything bad about it. But I’m always skeptical, especially of mall restaurants, so I decided to try it out.
First of all, getting seats are a bitch! Almost as bad as parking in Makati. I guess it’s been that popular for quite some time now. I have to say, though, that they have excellent service. The manager kept apologizing that we had to wait and that it was probably bordering on getting annoying. But the main selling point of Yabu is supposed to be their pork. Like some really high quality pork that’s the equivalent of Wagyu and they use fresh canola oil and all that.
Since I’m more of a beef kind of guy, I wasn’t too keen on spending around 500 bucks for the Berkshire Black Pig1. We opted for the more inferior quality of meat.
First, the 100g Hire, which is the tenderloin cut, which means there’s no fat. We also tried the Chicken Katsu Set, which was just OK as well.
I opted for the Rosu Curry, the pork loin cut2, is a serving of about 120g and the meat was OK. I still think Nihonbashitei’s pork is still superior in terms of quality, but this one’s above the average katsudons and porkchops that you usually see around. The curry sauce help bring out some flavor and they ask you about the level of spiciness. I got the (supposedly) spiciest, but it really had no heat to it.
Each meal comes with miso soup3, fruits4, pickled ginger, and rice. I was a tad disappointed it’s not the great Japanese rice that I really love. They do use black sesame to top the rice, which is fairly more expensive.
And they have a healthy share of lettuce for all the rabbits out there. These are unlimited, by the way, so you can keep asking for more. There are healthy dressings of their version of balsamic vinegar, which is sesame-like in flavor vs. the traditional olive oil. Or their own Thousand Island-like salad dressing, which was really nice. The vinegar is the healthier choice, but I prefer the latter. That shit ain’t cheap, by the way.
They have sesame seeds as well and their blend of katsu sauce for you to mix. You basically crush the sesame seeds mortar and pestle style by grinding it. Just keep tugging at it until the desired finish. Don’t worry you won’t turn blind after this jeje.
It brings out a bit more flavor to the meat, which I found a bit bland. But that’s really the verdict here. The food is fairly mediocre. It’s fried pork and the quality, I think, is not overwhelmingly over the top. I like a bit of fat in pork because that’s really where the only flavor is, but it just wasn’t there… even for the pork loin. It’s good, but not great. I’m generally not a fan of Japanese curry, but I felt I had to get that variety so there’ll be a bit more flavor to my meal.
The overall experience was better than average. Despite the blandness of the food, they showcase quality all-around. From the black sesame seeds, the freshly prepared katsu sauce, the fragrant miso soup, it all shouts “Quality,” whether it’s apparent or not. The service is really excellent that I think the manager must be the owner or something because employed people generally don’t work that hard5. The food was average, but the overall package really lifts the meal and that’s probably why I felt a lot better after the meal than I should have. If I could sum it up in a few words: I didn’t feel screwed6.