Ichika: Get Your Yakiniku Fix at This New Japanese Grill in Pioneer

It was 2014 when Takashi Japanese Cuisine, a neighborhood resto named after its head chef Chef Takashi Kawasaki, first opened its doors at Pioneer Centre Complex. With their traditional, authentic, and appetizing dishes, it didn’t take long before people started coming in to fill the seats to capacity.

More and more customers came to love their dishes – and it paved the way for Chef Takashi with partners Miguel Villalon and John Chung to open up another Japanese Restaurant, this time carrying a Yakiniku concept. The good news: it’s only a few steps away from the original Takashi restaurant!

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Ichika Japanese Grill’s soft opening was just last August. Introducing Yakiniku (or grilled meat) specialties, guests can cook on built-in grills at every table.

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Unlike other restaurants, Ichika does not revolve around the concept of putting customers in a food coma with unlimited meat or side dishes.

Instead, they aim for customers to savor each and every bite, which, for the record, is worth every penny. 

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Yakiniku without sauce? Nah.

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Ichika Special Sauces: Shio Tare (Sesame Oil with Ichika Blend Salt), Chili Paste, Yakiniku Paste, Herb Salt, Ichika Yakiniku, Spicy Yakiniku, Shoyu (Traditional Sweet Soy Sauce), Ponzu (Soy Sauce with Citrus), Teriyaki Mayo, Honey Mustard, Teri Apple, and Sesame Oil

Ichika offers many different flavors that will suit all types of customers: from those who laud the rush of eating something hot and spicy to those who prefer elevating the taste with just a hint of sweetness. If you’re undecided, you may ask the staff to recommend some popular choices, or you may simply mix and match, and find the one you like best from the sauce bar.

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All Served Fresh (Top L-R) Yakiniku Don, Ichika Bo Kalbi; (Bottom L-R) Tsubo Zuke Calbi, Kushi Yaki DIY, Cha Soba Salad

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Tsubo-Zuke Calbi (Special Marinated Beef Ribs) – Php298

The Tsubo-Zuke Calbi is already gaining attention because of its soft and tender strips, and delicious taste.

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Tzubo Zuke Calbi, Kushi Yaki DIY, and Ichika Bo Kalbi on a platter

Packing the flavors of Japan is the Kushi Yaki DIY (Php258) or chicken, pork, and beef skewers. This is the dish you definitely shouldn’t forget! We just love the delectable bites of meat that go perfectly with a cold beer or sake! It’s also good to eat with the beef Calbi Soup (Php188), but as an alternative to those with a low tolerance for spicy food, the Tamago Soup (Php128) may just do the trick.

The Kushi Yaki DIY comes with three dips: Teri Mayo, Honey Mustard, and Herb Salt. The herb salt is a crowd favorite as it can make the grilled meat twice as appetizing and can turn any food delicious (not like it needed it).

Do you feel like spoiling yourself? Try Ichika’s premium cut Ichika Bo Kalbi (Php328) – an incredibly delicious US tender beef rib finger. Chef Takashi is particular not to grill it too long, so the meat doesn’t dry out! This dish is usually paired with Yakiniku and Spicy Yakiniku sauces, though you are free to be a bit adventurous by trying the other dips.

Diners also shouldn’t miss out on their Kamameshi Rice Bowls, or rice dishes cooked in an iron pot.

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Spam Kamameshi (Php248)

They have a secret menu, where they offer the Spam Kamameshi, which consists of Spam garlic buttered fried rice-kamameshi style topped with fried Spam. Be sure to try that out because only a few people know about this secret!

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Cha Soba Salad – Php168

The light and simple Cha Soba Salad cleansed our palates and helped us prepare for the next dishes. It was our first time trying Japanese matcha noodles, and they didn’t disappoint.

And because we couldn’t help but want to satisfy our cravings for traditional Japanese cuisine, we also tried some ramen from Takashi (Ichika allows cross-orders).

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Mt. Fuji Ramen (Php368) and Carbonara Ramen (Php328)

We had the Mt. Fuji Ramen with a miso base, generous slices of pork, and a mountain of other fresh vegetables; and the Carbonara Ramen – creamy and enjoyable with its special noodles and soft slices of pork.

Do not leave this place without ordering dessert, either, or else you might regret it! We just had to try their Japanese Bingsu shaved ice dessert because a lot of their customers have been gushing about it! It comes in two flavors: mango and matcha.

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Mango Bingsu – Php148

We opted for the Mango Bingsu and it was really good! Chef Takashi worked his magic by giving the shaved ice a natural milky flavor, and perfecting a sweet and citrusy syrup. This simply delectable treat is easily one of my favorites at Ichika!

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Ichika will officially open on November 2018. Are you excited to try their deliciously authentic dishes?

Ichika Japanese Grill

Pioneer Centre 8006 Pioneer St., cor. United St., Kapitolyo, Pasig

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/IchikaJapaneseGrill/

Twitter: @ichikayakiniku

Instagram: @ichikajapanesegrill