I love Japanese food. I haven’t been to Japan in my entire life, but it’s definitely on my bucket list and I know in my heart that I will tick the little checkbox beside the words “go to Japan” soon. I love all things Japanese. From kawaii journaling to anime to – of course – Japanese food. As such, after trying a bunch of Japanese restaurants in the Metro, I’ve been on the lookout for a fresh restaurant concept that offers something different from my usual Japanese comfort foods.
Luckily, I found a new place that satisfies my craving for something new and unique from my all-time favorite cuisine. Kyoto Chaya is a hidden gem right in the heart of a booming new business district. Located at MET Live, Kyoto Chaya opened ahead of everyone in the new mall to give its potential customers a glance of what they have to offer.
Upon entering the restaurant, I was quite taken aback because they steered clear from the usual dark interiors we typically see in Japanese restaurants in the Metro. Instead, they offer a fresh look with white walls, glass windows, and white earthy tones. Seeing the refreshing look of Kyoto Chaya made me want to stay there for a longer period of time.
While checking out their menu, I was surprised that I couldn’t see any of the usual Japanese dishes that I order. There is no sashimi or sushi available, nor is their any ramen. However, this is exactly what makes them special. They will take you to the beautiful city of Kyoto in Japan just by trying out their food menu.
Kyoto Chaya is derived from the previous Imperial Capital City of Japan. The city is known for its cultural heritage. It is one of the most preserved cities in the world. Kyoto is the complete opposite of Tokyo. This is where people take things slow by appreciating the beauty of little things. I’ve never been to Kyoto; but according to Ms. Yumi Tamazaki, this city has a lot of Chayas or tea houses where travelers and locals can relax and enjoy ocha (tea) and wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets).
What I love about Kyoto Chaya is how they combine traditional and modern Chaya from Kyoto. They introduce premium green teas from a farm in Uji, Kyoto, and selected Japanese coffee handpicked by Japan’s coffee hunger, Jose Kawashima. They also want to introduce authentic and healthy dishes from Kyoto that Filipinos aren’t accustomed to.
My first experience at Kyoto Chaya was definitely one-of-a-kind. I tried new Japanese dishes, like their Shirataki pasta, juicy and tender wagyu, and melt-in-your-mouth takoyaki. However, what I love the most out of their wide array of dishes is the Hamburg Patty.
I know. Why on Earth would I love something I can get in other places, right? Well, what makes their Hamburg Patty unique is how it feels and tastes like a homemade patty with 100% beef. They top it off with homemade Japanese sauce and cheese to make the dining experience even more awesome. I think this hamburger patty would go well with their plain onigiri or Mentaiko Cream Sauce Shirataki Pasta.
Here are some of the other dishes that I enjoyed at Kyoto Chaya:
Tomato, Bacon, and Eggplant (Php270 for Healthy Shirataki Pasta, Php250 for Spaghetti Pasta)
Cold Chicken Somen Jelly (Php200)
Gyu Kushi (Wagyu Cubes) – a must-try (Php150 for 1 stick, Php280 for 2 sticks)
Katsu Curry (Php320)
Matcha Banana—this one is a personal favorite (Php 00)
Aside from these dishes, Kyoto Chaya also offers authentic Japanese coffee for the caffeine lovers out there. I swear guys, their coffee is a must-try!
Coffee (Php 155 Medium, Php170 Large)
Houjicha Milk (Php 155 Medium, Php170 Large)
To be honest, I love all of their food because of their refreshing take on Japanese cuisine. I only said one sentence after eating at Kyoto Chaya, and I will say it again: I WILL DEFINITELY GO BACK. No words can describe the food on their menu, so you have to see and taste it for yourself to experience a taste of Kyoto.
Second Floor, Met Live Mall, EDSA Corner Macapagal Boulevard, Mall of Asia Complex (MOA), Pasay
Sunday to Thursday: 10AM to 9PM / Friday and Saturday: 10AM to 10PM