Yabu specializes in Katsu. It pioneered the katsu craze in the Philippines. The word katsu is an abbreviation of the word “ katsuretsu” which means cutlet. It refers to a slice of meat that ‘s been breaded and deep fried. The dish was introduced to Japan in the 19th century during the Meiji period when Japan opened its doors to the West.
At the start, beef was originally used, although pork became a popular choice among people in the 1900s and gave rise to dishes such as tonkatsu. “Ton” in Japanese means “pork”.
Yabu was a Dish of the Year Awardee by Esquire magazine for 2012.
Yabu’s katsu is cooked at precisely 165 C and is allowed to rest properly. This ensures that the meat retains its natural juices and tenderness. Yabu makes their own panko or Japanese breadcrumbs fresh everyday which results in light and crispy flakes. They use canola oil to ensure that you get crispy and non greasy breading. Canola oil is also rich in omega 3 and has zero transfat or cholesterol.
Yabu’s sets are unlimited and come with Koshihikari Japanese organic rice or miso soup, Japanese pickles, organic cabbage with dressing choices such as wasabi, soy , and goma or sesame dressing. They also guarantee to be able to serve your order within 20 minutes.
The Premium tonkatsu set immediately caught my eye. It highlights Kurobuta which is also known as the Black Berkshire pig. It is supposed to be the world’s finest pork. Kurobuta is also called the “kobe beef” of pork due to its rich marbling, softness and flavour. Now, this I’ve really got to try.
I tried ordering the Kurobuta pork set 120g which is a ¾ inch cutlet made from “rosu” or pork with a trimming of fat. It’s freaking expensive at Php 575 per set. It’s almost 25 times the price of regular pork in the market.
While waiting for our order, we were given a small mortar and pestle with black sesame seeds. You have to ground the sesame seeds in a circular manner in order to bring out its natural oils and mix them with around 2 to 3 tablespoons of their special tonkatsu sauce.
My order came out after 15 minutes. The waitresses were polite and attentive. I loved how light and crispy the coating of the tonkatsu was and how soft and juicy the meat turned out. It was a perfect complement to the tonkatsu sauce I had just made.
I enjoyed eating the organic cabbage salad that accompanied my meal. The cabbage salad is best eaten with a mix of either soy and sesame/GOMA or Wasabi. I loved the combinations so much that I ate more cabbage than rice.
Even the tea they served was a perfect complement to the meal. All it was missing was the radish or Japanese daikon. It was even better than the tonkatsu I had a few months ago at a small specialty restaurant in Tokyo’s Shinkansen station.
Mixed Seafood Katsu set 2 consists of salmon, black tiger prawns, oyster, crab at Php 545. I liked the oyster, but wasn’t too crazy about the crab. For Php 545, I was expecting to taste real crab meat, not something mixed with some sort of filling similar to Japanese potato croquettes or korokke. I wasn’t crazy about the salmon either.
We tried ordering the Rosu katsu curry which was pretty good judging by the empty bowl and the contented smiles on our faces after. Japanese curry actually rose to the popularity in Japan during the Meiji era mid 1800s. This curry roux is thicker, sweeter and milder than other curries in Asia and oh so addictive.
At Php 375 for the set, I find it reasonable given the quality of the pork, the cooking, sidings being organic and all.
Overall, I ‘m happy with my Yabu experience and look forward to another carnivorous experience 🙂
Yabu has 4 branches SM Megamall, Robinson’s Magnolia, SM Mall of Asia and SM Southmall. Telephone number for Robinson’s Magnolia : 9614975