Although Ganso-Shabuway prides itself on serving Japanese shabu-shabu, the restaurant actually originated from the United States when Eiichi Mochizuki & Koji Kikura opened a shabu-shabu restaurant in San Mateo, California back in 2004. And after opening more branches at Mountain View and San Jose, California, Ganso-Shabuway has now reached the Philippines with branches not only in Greenbelt 5 and Shangri-la Plaza, but also in Power Plant Mall Rockwell Center and Alabang Town Center.
The name Shabuway which came from shabu and way, translates to the road to shabu-shabu for shabu-shabu lovers. And staying true to its name, Ganso-Shabuway's old menu is only composed of shabu-shabu items with a few side orders or add-ons. However, they now offer more dishes, from appetizers, rice bowls and seafood. Note that these new menu items are only available in their Greenbelt 5 and Shangri-la Plaza branches. The other two branches will still carry the old shabu-shabu only menu.
To officially start the tasting, we got to try the appetizers. Ganso-Shabuway offers four types on their menu, and we luckily got to try them all.
Our first meal starter was the Nasu Miso Itame which is a serving of miso-glazed eggplant sitting on a bed of silky tofu and then topped with sesame seeds. Although this appetizer seemed simple, every spoonful was packed in flavor. It was the perfect dish to whet our palates and even the beau who was hesitant to eat the eggplant, did so and was craving for more! However, I have to say that the dish is pricey for what it is.
|✓ Nasu Miso Itame (P338)|
Next, we had the Beef Gyoza which is a serving of pan-fried dumplings stuffed with beef, pork, mushrooms and mixed vegetables. Okay, I'm not sure why they named it beef gyoza if it also contains pork, but these meaty bundles tasted good. I would've preferred if the wrapper were slightly thinner, but every bite was juicy and meaty, so it's pretty good. But again, I think the price is pretty steep for a five-piece serving.
|Beef Gyoza (P228)|
We also had the gyoza's brother, Beef Wonton which had the same filling of ground beef and pork, mushrooms and mixed vegetables, but this time deep-fried into crispy wontons. Since this appetizer had basically the same stuffing as the gyoza, these fried bundles also contained juicy and meaty fillings. I can't say which I enjoyed more because I honestly think they're equally as good, but equally as pricey.
|Beef Wonton (P228)|
I've only tasted a few Chicken Karaage items that I like, but I'm glad to say Ganso-Shabuway's is one of them. These marinated and deep-fried chicken pieces had strong notes of ginger and sake. This is actually the main reason I like these chicken treats, apart from the meat being really succulent, the skin being golden and crisp, and the lemon juice cutting through the richness of the dish. The slices of squash sitting underneath the chicken pieces were also good that I even asked the beau for his share.
|✓ Chicken Karaage (P258)|
The Seafood Items
Next, we were then introduced to two of Ganso-Shabuway's new seafood offerings.
The only fish item on the restaurant's menu is this Tuna Belly -- tuna glazed with garlic-butter yakiniku sauce and comes with a bowl of rice. Since I'm a big lover of garlic-butter, I can't deny that I enjoyed this item. However, while the tuna meat itself is quite soft, it can be cooked less done pa for a more enjoyable garlic-butter tuna belly experience.
|Tuna Belly (P338)|
We also had a serving of the Ebi Fry -- crispy-fried five-piece shrimp with dipping sauce and mixed greens on the side. Now, I'd like to clarify that this is ebi fry and not necessarily ebi tempura. Unlike tempura which uses a light batter, these fried shrimps had an additional step -- adding panko or Japanese breadcrumbs, before deep-frying. And while I generally prefer tempura, I have to admit that I liked these panko-coated fried treats from Ganso-Shabuway. The salad on the side was a good accompaniment too.
|✓ Eby Fry (P388)|
The Rice Bowls
Another set of new items at Ganso-Shabuway are these three rice bowls.
First is the Ebi Curry which is a serving of 3 pieces of panko-coated and deep-fried shrimp over a bowl of homemade Japanese curry sauce and rice. For shrimp lovers, you might want to order the Ebi Fry instead since a serving contains 5, while this only has 3. However, if you want the best of both the shrimp and the curry worlds, then this might be a good choice. The curry sauce itself is light to moderately spicy.
|Ebi Curry (P388)|
Next item is the Beef Curry which is a bowl of USDA Choice Angus beef over rice topped with homemade Japanese curry sauce. We were told that the beef here is the same beef used in Ganso-Shabuway's hotpot sets. However, I can't really appreciate the meat since it wasn't only thin but shredded quite finely too. Maybe if the pieces were a little thicker or bigger, I would've enjoyed this more. I like the curry sauce though.
|Beef Curry (P358)|
Last among the rice bowls was this Beef Yakiniku serving which makes use of the same shredded USDA Choice Angus beef, but this time, topped with yakiniku sauce and some sesame seeds. While the item is quite savory, I had the same issue with its curry sibling. Since the shredded beef were thin and small, munching every spoonful wasn't too enjoyable. If I had to choose though, I think I prefer the curry version a little more.
|Beef Yakiniku (P358)|
The New Shabuyaki
The new menu I saw at Ganso-Shabuway didn't have this on it yet, so I was actually surprised that we were served with this additional item.
This is the restaurant's take on a shabu-shabu meets sukiyaki kind of item. It had the same shredded USDA Choice Angus beef, along with napa cabbage, watercress, spinach, carrots, green onions, tofu, enoki and shitake mushrooms, naruto and some shirataki noodles in a pot of sweet and savory sukiyaki broth.
We were told to simmer the Shabuyaki for the alcohol (sake and mirin) to evaporate and for the meat and veggies to absorb the broth. After about 2 minutes, it was ready.
|Our pot of Shabuyaki bubbling away on the induction cooker|
I'm generally not a big fan of sukiyaki since I don't dig its sweet flavor. However, I liked the sweet broth of this Shabuyaki. Yes, it was really sweet, but you can also taste the flavorful explosion of the sake, mirin and usukuchi. Every spoonful was rich, and the ingredients have absorbed the flavor quite nicely. The shirataki noodles were also enjoyable to slurp. A big downer of this item is the beef itself though. Like my problems with the Beef Curry and Beef Yakiniku, the shredded beef wasn't only too small but also too few. If it were bigger like normal sukiyaki's, this would've been more enjoyable.
Ganso-Shabuway has been bagging rave reviews for its shabu-shabu sets. And while it's nice that they've decided to add more variety on the menu, I somehow have mixed feelings. Honestly, there are quite a few of the new items that I really liked, but their pricing is quite steep, especially for the appetizers. As for the main dishes with the shredded beef, I honestly think making the pieces bigger (not necessarily thicker), can help a lot, not just with the texture but also with flavor. Overall, Ganso-Shabuway offers good food. But the next time I visit, I'll try their best-selling shabu-shabu sets instead.
Taste - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 3/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 3/5
Ganso-Shabuway, Shangri-la Plaza Mall
5/F Shangri-la Plaza Mall East Wing, Shaw Blvd. cor. EDSA,
Wack Wack, Mandaluyong City
Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 655-7812; (0917) 873-1640
2/F Greenbelt 5 Ayala Center, Makati
(02) 903-6763; (0917) 541-8181
G/F Power Plant Mall Rockwell Center, Makati
(02) 822-4864; (0917) 822-1400
G/F Alabang Town Center, Muntinpula
Posted in: food, ganso-shabuway, hot pot, japanese, mandaluyong city, shabu-shabu, shangri-la plaza, shangri-la plaza east wing, sukiyaki