It's no secret that when it comes to Japanese food, whether traditional, modern or Western-Japanese, I'm probably one of the biggest fans. So after an impromptu evening snack at Little Tokyo the other week, we found ourselves in another Japanese food spot. This time, at Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza in the heart of the busy Tomas Morato.
Owned by Mr. Giovanni Cheng, Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza is a revolutionary Japanese dining spot serving Osaka's famous savory pancake, as well as other modern Japanese delicacies that even we, Filipinos can't resist. By day, the restaurant is a well-lit dining space with wooden accents and a vibe of Japanese downtown eateries. On Friday and Saturday nights, Octoboy is transformed into a pub with live band performances.
Our group visited Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza by day, and we weren't able to catch how the place looks like at night. But if you trust my imagination, then I'd say it probably looks the same but with dimmer lighting, loud live band music and sets of cheerful yuppy guests who have a glass or a bottle of beer at hand.
Even if Octoboy capitalizes on its savory Japanese sizzling pizzas, it still offers a wide variety of food items on its menu, including a list of enticing Japanese meal starters.
As we wait for other dishes, we were given a serving of Edamame (P100). These beans are immature soybeans still in their pods and boiled before served. Eaten by taking out the beans from the pods, this plate of healthy nutty treat is a delight to munch on.
We also had a bowl of Kani Salad (P165), an ensemble of fresh greens, cucumber slices, sweet mangoes, kani strips, wakame and tobiko (flying fish roe). Instead of just using Japanese mayo as dressing, this bowl of goodness is also drizzled with vinaigrette, making the overall taste more tangy and less tiring on the taste buds.
The Chef's Best Choice
After an appetite whetting start, we didn't go straight for Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza's specialty dishes, but sampled first 2 of the chef's special items on the menu.
The Grilled Mackerel with Ponzu Sauce (P280) is a nice, lean and smoky surprise for someone like me who's not much into grilled fish. The inside was cooked into a juicy tenderness with a salty-smoky flavor, while the skin has beautiful grill marks. I swear, even as a cooked fish hater, I can eat this whole plate with a bowl of steamed white rice.
We also had a serving of the Crispy Gyoza (P95), a deep-fried take on the famous Japanese bundles of meaty goodness. And although I prefer the steamed with pan-fried bottom dumplings, I can't deny I loved how crunchy and flavorful these fried ones are.
The Octoboy Specialties
At this point, everything we've tried from Octoboy's was great. However, I can definitely say that their specialties are, of course their okonomiyaki, takoyaki and yakiudon dishes.
Octoboy offers 7 tasty kinds of okonomiyaki to choose from. But for this trip, we got to try the Chicken Okonomiyaki (P300) -- a savory pancake of chicken teriyaki slices, mozzarella cheese, crispy tofu skin and green onions with peanut mayo and chili sauce. Although this hearty serving is very tasty, I was quite surprised with the unusual blend of flavors which can be a make or break scenario. While I always try to keep an open mind, or rather an open palate, I think I still need some time to get used to peanut mayo.
We also got to try the Octopus Takoyaki (P120) among the Octopus, Bacon & Cheese, Shrimp, and Salmon choices. And although there are tons of takoyaki stalls in malls, nothing beats the authentic balls made up of batter, veggies and octopus slices, topped with wakame bits and bonito flakes, and drizzled with savory okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayo. Being a takoyaki lover, this serving really made me one happy foodie. Every bite is an explosion of savory flavors which will surely make you crave for more.
Another best-seller we got to try was the Shrimp Yakiudon (P395), a plate of stir-fried Japanese noodles and veggies cooked in a savory and tangy special sauce and topped with wakame, curry mayo and five pieces of crispy breaded shrimp tempura. And although I'm honestly not a fried noodle kind of gal, I really liked the blend of flavors of Octoboy's yakiudon -- savory, salty, tangy, a little sweet, with a hint of heat.
Pink Wasabi's Kashi Maki
We thought we'd be skipping the drinks and desserts as the dishes we got to try already left us full and completely satisfied. However, we knew we just can't say no when we saw that they serve My Pink Wasabi's famous Kashi Makis (P165).
I first encountered these sweet treats when I went to Mercato Centrale for the first time. And just like how I fell in love with these bundles of sweet dreams, I found myself craving again for more. The Midnight Mint, Oolong Berry, Choco Locco and White Matcha flavors were as delightful as I remember them to be. Too bad though my favorite Marula treat was absent in the bunch. (Check my post on My Pink Wasabi's Kashi Maki!)
I initially thought that the only place I could grab an okonomiyaki and takoyaki of great quality was in Little Tokyo. However, after this trip to Octoboy, I was proven wrong. Even without venturing to Makati, northies like me can enjoy great tasting Japanese eats with good service and for reasonable prices by just paying a trip to Octoboy in Tomas Morato.
Ambiance - 3.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Octoboy Japanese Sizzling Pizza, Tomas Morato
Unit 2-C, 2/F 186 Tomas Morato Ave. cor.
Sct De Guia St., Quezon City