When In Manila and wanting to relive gradeschool campfire days with the girls and boys, I couldn’t but say yes to Joanne and Mark Davis for an afternoon “grilling session”. Sounds like a serious business that I almost slid our stainless grill into my bag! However, how and where would one set it up on 9th Ave corner 30th Street in Taguig without calling the attention of the authorities?!?
Lest I was running quite late, I braved a drizzling afternoon bearing an excitement towards the unknown but a singular notion that all these grilling would happen at GYU-KAKU Japanese BBQ Restaurant where I was supposed to meet them.
After taking two flights of stairs, still without an idea what to expect, everyone was seated together with Mr. Benny Bernabe, Senior Operations Director of Gyu-Kaku Philippines, which happens to be the same company behind California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s and IHOP restaurants, to name a few. Following Sir Benny’s account of Gyu-Kaku’s acquisition, then I realized we would have an afternoon filled with memorable dining plus, cooking experience!
Having been in the business since 1997, Global Restaurant Concepts Inc. has not veered away from giving customers dining satisfaction as their fundamental goal. Able to position a leadership in Casual Dining category, this team-oriented culture just gave Filipinos another unique source of gastronomical entertainment and reward by bringing GYU-KAKU (means, “Horn of the Bull”) Japanese BBQ Restaurant to the Philippines where yuppies, kids at heart or, simply anyone who misses out on cooking for their loved ones in and around the Metro can experience the fun!
KIGAMI-BIRAKI For Gyu-Kaku Manila
A breaking of a barrel of Sake symbolized the “opening of lid”, and is believed to represent good fortune and harmony, in a Kagami-Biraki ceremony where formal blessing and ribbon-cutting were also performed when Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant saw the limelight in April 2013. Since then, Gyu-Kaku’s kitchen has been busy and numerous cuts of Wagyu beef (Wagyu refers to several breeds of cattle) were served when it was time for us to give it a try.
For starters, we munched on Crispy Pork Belly that the flavor stood out more when dipped into a vinegar spiced with onion leaves and boonie peppers. Deep fried and breaded, the Pork Belly retained its crispness even after several dishes were served.
Speaking of dishes, there’s no way we could get to the most substantial without a bite or two of GYU-KAKU’s own Assorted Kim-chee. Always been a favorite in a set of “banchan”, I was surprised that Gyu-Kaku has chunked apples in their kim-chee!
From crisp and spice, we shifted to something leafy and the Horenso Salad immediately conquered us having japanese style spinach with crispy garlic bathed in creamy and oh-so-delicious sesame dressing!
To give more push to our already swollen appetite, deep Fried Octopus fritters (coated or stuffed with a special mixture of starch hence, it doesn’t break away from chopped slices of octopus) served with thai chilli sauce didn’t fail to highten our anticipation…
Yakiniku has been a restaurant concept known to Filipino food enthusiasts but what makes Gyu-Kaku different from the others is that, customers get to grill their own food without having to reek of barbecue smoke as “in-table roasters have internal vents designed to reduce the amount of smoke and odor that may be emitted then, transferred to customers’ clothes”.
All eyes on the staff who shouted, “Charcoal coming!”, our minds were in unison to ask Sir Benny what was that about and we got an answer. “It is a warning to alert other waitstaff to precaution children or customers and give way to the person carrying burning charcoals until it is delivered to a specific table.” Mr. Bernabe, explained.
Grilling Made Fun at Gyu Kaku… Concluded on next page…