YABU: The House of Katsu Hype?

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Initially, there was the Ramen craze. And then came the Katsu craze, which was revived first by Crazy Katsu in Maginhawa Street, followed by different Tonkatsu stalls popping up like mushrooms in the weekend markets.

But it was only with YABU: The House of Katsu that Manila was introduced to the high-end Katsu, and foodies started debating on what’s the best Katsu experience.

Is it all just hype to justify the premium price or does Yabu really deserve all the foodie raves?

Here is our Yabu experience…

Related Blog Post: Dessert Comes First | The House of Katsu

Battle for the BEST Tonkatsu in Manila:

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Yabu’s chefs were trained by Chef Kazuya Takeda, the Master of Katsu in Tonkatsu Takeshin (a popular Tonkatsu restaurant in Tokyo).

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I love the Infographic Yabu menu–it educates you on how to enjoy Katsu,
provides a yummy visual feast, and makes it easy for you to order.

The YABU Menu:
The YABU Difference | Anatomy of a YABU Katsu
The Beginnings of Katsu | How to Enjoy your Katsu | The Master of Katsu
Appetizers & Salads | Tonkatsu Sets | Premium Tonkatsu Sets
Original Katsudon Sets | Yabu Special Katsudon Sets
Seafood Katsu SetsSalmon Katsu Sets
Mixed Katsu Sets | Mixed Seafood Katsu Sets 
Katsu Curry Sets | Chicken Katsu Set
KIDS’ Katsu Sets | A La Carte | Take Out | Drinks, Sake & Shochu

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The Yabu experience is interactive, boasts generous servings, and offers yummy sauces.

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To make the katsu sauce: first, you have to crush the black and white sesame seeds until most of the seeds are ground well and the aroma of sesame fills the air.

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Then, you mix in two scoops of the Tonkatsu sauce to create the best Katsu sauce. 🙂

It was wise of Yabu to capitalize on the Filipinos’ love for the taste of sesame and sauces in general. It’s great for the boys because they had a fun time crushing their own seeds and mixing their own sauce.

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Kurobuta Pork Set 120g (P575 +5% service charge). “3/4 inch cutlet made from ‘rosu,’ or pork with a trimming of fat. Kurobuta, also known as the Black Berkshire pig, is the world’s finest pork. It is called the ‘kobe beef’ of pork, due to its rich marbling, softness, and flavor.” Served with unlimited Japanese rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage with sesame dressing, and a bowl of fruit.

For us, the best part of our Yabu experience was the Rosu Kurobuta Pork Set. The pork was very soft and tasty indeed. We loved the fresh Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) even if it sometimes seemed to overpower the meat itself.

Some Japanese foodies do not like Yabu because they say that the reason the pork is very soft is that it is made from thinly sliced layers of meat; they don’t like the smell of the Canola Oil; and I guess they are not made by a Japanese chef (so they prefer TONKATSUYA). See related blog post:【お食事】メガモールで本格トンカツ

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Joshua loved it and wanted the full serving of the Tonkatsu all to himself. 🙂

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Not only do they serve unlimited rice, but also unlimited cabbage…

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…and unlimited sesame dressing and shoyu vinaigrette sauce. Super yummy indeed! They captured the hearts of Pinoys with these unlimited servings. 🙂

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Seafood Katsu Set 2 – Salmon, Black Tiger Prawn, Crab, Oyster (P515 +5% service charge). Served with unlimited Japanese rice, miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage with sesame dressing and a bowl of fruit.

Their latest additions to the menu are the Seafood Katsu Sets. Their katsu crust is really good, and I think it would go well with any type of meat.

I liked the prawn and salmon version, but I personally did not like the oyster and crab, which were served stuffed with mayonnaise.

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The salmon was equally good (especially with some lemon juice).  🙂

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Aidan liked the seafood set, but I think he liked the breading more than anything else.

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Rosu Katsudon (P315 +5% service charge). Served with miso soup, Japanese pickles, unlimited cabbage with sesame dressing and a bowl of fruit.

The Rosu Katsudon was a real treat — the pork was so soft (it won’t get stuck in your teeth) and topped with egg and served with sweet sauce.  Filipinos just love Katsudon, and this is the best I have tasted so far.

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Chocolate Lava and Green Tea Ice Cream dessert

The desserts were a bit of a disappointment. They should have invested on really good Japanese-inspired desserts to cap off the Yabu experience.

I just love this scene where the boys battle it out for dessert — Aidan boxing out Joshua, who tries to grab his fair share, and Raphael, with a serious look on his face, determined not to be outdone by his brothers.

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Magnum Bar Almond Flavor

Maybe for lack of a better dessert concept, they serve the complete line of Magnum Bars, which is not in sync with their Japanese theme.

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Great job, Yabu for all the foodie raves! Also, congratulations on your Megamall expansion and your second branch in Robinson’s Mall near St. Paul in QC.

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Overall, I love the Kurobota Rosu Pork Katsu, the unlimited servings of cabbage and sauces, and the interactive process (particularly for our curious and restless boys). 🙂

I think Yabu deserves the Filipino foodie raves for delivering an engaging, better Katsu dining experience in Manila (despite disagreement from some members of the Japanese community because of its overall taste).

Maybe a mochi-based dessert with exotic Japanese ingredients would be more appropriate to end the meal on a sweet note. Budget around P600/head.

Related Blog PostDessert Comes First | The House of Katsu

YABU: The House of Katsu
2/F Mega Atrium, SM Megamall, 1552 Manila, Philippines
Telephone: +632 576-3900, 919-4453 
Email: yabuphilippines@gmail.com
Website: www.yabuhouseofkatsu.com
FacebookYabu: House of Katsu

Battle for the BEST Tonkatsu in Manila:

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Full Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. We paid for our meals but desserts were courtesy of Yabu management. We are not connected with the establishment or any organization marketing the restaurant.

P.S. Any other tips on what to order in Yabu or other remarkable katsu places in the metro?

17 thoughts on “YABU: The House of Katsu Hype?

  1. I tasted something similar to the Kurobuta pork katsu here, but it costs about 900 per serving. It was in a hotel 😛
    This place is great value for money 🙂
    Mochi would be great 😀 ! Maybe something from Mochiko or Dezato (my pesonal favorite in Manila) could partner with them 😀

  2. Great pictures, hope to visit the place soon but you’ve got to try Yu-Fu-In’s Kurobota Katsu in Clark, Pampanga, it’s worth the trip.

  3. We didn’t enjoy our experience in Yabu. Their premium “Kurobuta” was soft but very dry, probably because as you pointed out, it’s not a genuine cut. Definitely overpriced for what you get. I’ve had much cheaper but better tonkatsu elsewhere in Manila, including places that don’t specialize in tonkatsu.

  4. I tried eating in katsudon in yabu then at tamagoya (repeated that 3x) and I have come to the conclusion that Tamagoya’s katsudon is just as good (maybe even better) as Yabu’s but priced way way cheaper. I’ve never eaten at Tonkatsuya though, I hope that shop didn’t disappoint because Yabu disappointed me because it was way overpriced.

  5. Once again Thank you OurAwesomePlanet for featuring Yabu! This is where I celebrated my birthday with my habibi. We had the Katsu Special Set and Seafood Set, Sake and, WE definitely LOVE everything! Their price is pretty reasonable, the service is a charm as we were assisted by one of their Manager all throughout the evening, she even gave us a complimentary unlimited miso soup. Oh! We are drooling for the GOMA (Sesame Dressing). Burrp! (excuse me). Til next time, See you Yabu Robinsons Magnolia! 😀

  6. This resto is overrated, tried the different Katsus (kurobota, oyster, salmon, etc.) really, overpriced and overrated. Expensive doesn’t mean good food all the time..

  7. Love their food but staff in SM Southmall are so inefficient. Had to call their attention 4 times everytime you need something and they will answer an annoying “certainly ma’am” but won’t come back for a refill of the cabbage etc. and to think there have lesser customers compared to MOA.

  8. been to Yabu Southmall and the newly opened ATC branch since they are nearest to our residence. My nieces loved the food and the services anyway . I think their unlimited promos (iced tea, fruits, rice, soup, cabbage) is one of their come-ons.

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