Finally, one of Aldous‘ food tasting events has led me to a Japanese restaurant. Seems like the ramen craze that hit Manila has hit me, too. Starting with that fateful night at Kichitora, Moche and I have since been on the lookout for ramen places. The feature restaurant? Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar.
Just as the English part of this resto’s name implies, this izakaya is a casual place to eat, drink and have a good time. Tonchaya’s menu is filled with a variety of Japanese dishes that Filipinos are already familiar with like sushis, ramens and donburis, together with some more interesting items. The line up of drinks is also not limited to your usual teas or juices, but is also spruced up by their signature sochu- and sake-based cocktails. There surely is something that will give anyone a great time, starting from its opening at 11am until the wee hours of 2am.
At the heart of Tonchaya is a Japanese woman’s home-style cooking. Mrs. Agnes Abad, the restaurant’s sole owner, took inspiration from the dishes her Japanese friend would serve at home. Add to that the very homey feel brought about by the restaurant’s red painted walls and porcelain tea set displays, Tonchaya will really make you feel at home. A distinct ambiance from the usual formal setting that other Japanese restaurants have.
After chatting with the very down-to-earth Mrs. Abad, we were served with the following dishes:
Crunchy Salmon Maki. Relatively new in the Tonchaya menu, it was made with rice sticky enough so it wasn’t falling all over the place. It was topped with salmon tempura flakes, Japanese mayo and ebiko. It was a bit spicy, so watch out!
Crunchy Tuna Maki. Another newcomer to the menu, it was made with tuna tempura flakes and some raw tuna bits. Also made with sufficiently sticky rice, it was easy to eat.
Crunchy Crab Maki. One of their best-sellers, it was made with a kani stick and topped with shredded crabsticks, Japanese mayo and ebiko. I’m also a fan of makis with a crunch so I liked this one best.
Okonomiyaki with Mixed Seafood. Although not a top-of-mind Japanese dish in the Philippines, the okonomiyaki is actually popular in Japan and is sold everywhere. The one we tried was made with traditional Japanese dough mixture and topped with a mix of seafood, cabbages, Japanese mayo and Okonomiyaki sauce. It was my first time to try it and I was wondering how it should be best eaten. Apparently, it can be eaten using chopsticks. However, some okonomiyaki fans use that kote (steel spatula) to scoop the okonomiyaki and bring it directly to their mouth. Me, I think the best way would be to pick up the slices and eat them by hand. Hihihi. Good for 3-4 people, this Japanese pizza is good for sharing.
Seafood Gomuko Chahan. Fried rice topped with a generous helping of prawns, squids and shitake mushrooms. This one here is one complete meal!
Ebi Tempura. Another dish that is associated with the Japanese cuisine. This serving of battered king prawns is sure to match bowls and bowls of rice. Tonchaya offers chahan (fried rice) or plain rice specifically for that purpose.
Beef Teppanyaki. Another dish that begs for cups of rice. It consists of juicy US Beef cubes marinated in Teppan Sauce, then served with a siding of vegetables.
Chicken Teriyaki. One of the Teishokus (meal sets) in the menu, the famous chicken teriyakidon comes with a side of cabbages and some miso soup.
Spicy Seafood Ramen. And of course, we must sample a serving of ramen. That night, we had the Spicy Seafood Ramen, made with spicy soup stock and loads of seafood. The name has been pretty straightforward when it says spicy, and this one definitely is! It was my favorite that night and I would surely go back to Tonchaya to try their other ramen!
Last but not the least was the Chirashidon 8 Kinds Sashimi. It’s composed of fresh slices of tuna, salmon, tamagao, uni, ika, hirame, kani and shime saba served with sushi rice.
And because Tonchaya offers something different from the usual Japanese dining experience, I’d like to award one Chasing Jayce reader with a P500-worth of gift certificate at Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar. I had the chance to experience this home-style Japanese cooking firsthand and I would like to pay it forward. Check out the rafflecopter below!
Address: The Fort Strip, 7th Avenue corner 28th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
Telephone No.: 808-9750
Mobile No.: 0917-493-3170
***All photos were taken using an iPhone 5