But of course, it would be insane to try them all at once. So for this trip, we got down to business and visited the restaurant we went here for -- Tokyo Tonteki.
Located at the ground floor just beside Family Mart, Tokyo Tonteki is a franchise from Japan, which specializes in serving low fire-cooked Japanese pork steak. Established back in April 15, 2007, Tokyo Tonteki currently has 4 branches in its country of origin: Shibuya and Meatrea in Tokyo, Namba Parks in Osaka, and Sapporo in Hokkaido; while its branch at the UP Town Center marks its first restaurant outside of Japan.
Tonteki which means pork steak ("ton" for pork, and "teki" for steak), is a pretty popular dish in Yokkaichi City of Mie Prefecture. Tokyo Tonteki's owner and founder Shusaku Namikawa, brought his own version of this to Tokyo, and now to Metro Manila.
The restaurant may not be big, seating only up to 50 diners. However, it boasts of a modern yet warm and cozy ambiance, complete with couch seating, soft yellow lighting, and attention-grabbing walls with artsy uneven bricks and cute doodles. From what I know, this Tokyo Tonteki branch also carries some elements found from its predecessors, as ATTA Design -- the original designer team for Tokyo Tonteki in Japan, is also the same team responsible for the UP Town Center branch.
|Interior, wall, utensils, condiments and hot iron-branded cork trivet at Tokyo Tonteki|
Tokyo Tonteki's interior doesn't look too different from those of most restaurants in the country, alright. But, have I mentioned they have an open kitchen? And not just any other ordinary open kitchen, theirs doesn't even have a glass! You can really see how their cooks who can double as servers (Yup, they're dually trained.) prepare your food. You even get a bonus to excite your sense of smell before officially starting your meal!
I've already blabbered enough about the background and the interior of Tokyo Tonteki. Now, let's go to the most important part, at least for me. Let's talk about the food.
We had the Spring Roll of Prosciutto, Avocado and Onsen Egg to start off our dinner. This is a pretty straight-forward dish, and had me going, "Why didn't I think of this?" It just has avocado slices and hot spring-poached eggs wrapped in lettuce first then parma ham, and laid on a bed of spiced Japanese mayo. And while it may be simple, it's a really delectable appetizer that screams harmony with every mouthful.
|✓ Spring Roll of Prosciutto, Avocado and Onsen Egg (P175)|
You get a beautiful medley of creamy and salty with every bite that's surprisingly pretty light on the palate. It's also topped with alfalfa sprouts which give this meal starter an interesting texture and hints of freshness. I swear, I can eat a whole or even two of these!
|The gigantic spring roll when sliced open...|
Tokyo Tonteki Sets
For mains, Tokyo Tonteki serves in sets -- your choice of meat, with shredded cabbage (in balsamic vinegar, Wafu dressing or Japanese mayo), rice, pork miso soup and pickles. You even get to order extra rounds of these, your main dish excluded, of course.
After a great start, we had the Ginger Flavored Pork Steak Set to follow it up. This pork steak is thick yet still remains tender and succulent since it was cooked in low fire. It comes with a sweet ginger sauce and is even topped with walnuts. At first, I was skeptical on how this would taste, but upon a mouthful, I fell in love. You get sweet, gingery, savory, meaty, and even hints of chewy crunch. The portion is filling for one too!
|✓ Ginger Flavored Pork Steak Set (P350)|
We also had the Cheese Tonburg Steak Set -- 100% pure ground beef covered in melted cheese and topped with the restaurant's special Tonteki sauce. Now, this is another crowd-favorite! The ground beef was so tender and so succulent that it oozes with meaty juices. The cheese and sauce also added more saltiness and savor which made every spoonful more enjoyable. I think this will be a sure hit especially for kids!
|✓ Cheese Tonburg Steak Set (P400)|
Next, we had the Chicken Steak Set with Onion Steak Sauce. It's treated similarly to the pork steak sets, but makes use of chicken to give an option to those who don't eat pork. This serving though comes with a different kind of sauce -- a sweet and savory glaze with caramelized onions. I find this really good too, although I prefer my pork.
|Chicken Steak Set with Onion Steak Sauce (P325)|
The Side Dishes
(Available only for dinner; 6PM onwards)
The sets alone are already filling, but if you want to add some variety, Tokyo Tonteki also offers a number of side dishes which are all big enough to be shared.
The Sundubu Style Tonteki Stew is one must-try item! While it's tagged as a side dish, a serving can already be good for main course along with a cup of rice. This item takes inspiration from the Korean hot and spicy stew called sundubu jjigae. But of course, Tokyo Tonteki gives it a twist and makes it a medley of sweet, savory and spicy with heaps of beef, aburaage, wood ear mushrooms, daikon radish, green onions and egg.
|✓ Sundubu Style Tonteki Stew (P280)|
This skillet of Stir-Fried Japanese Mushrooms may be simple, but since I'm a Japanese mushroom lover, this definitely got me hooked! This dish has 3 kinds of delectable mushrooms in generous portions -- shiitake, enoki and eringi. They're cooked in butter, then topped with bonito flakes. Pretty simple, no? But it's unarguably satisfying!
|✓ Stir-Fried Japanese Mushrooms (P220)|
Another side dish we had for the night was the Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts. This skilletful of crunchy beansprouts is cooked in butter with some scallions, then topped with a few dashes of shichimi togarashi (seven spice powder) for an added hint of savor and spice.
|Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts (P190)|
Tokyo Tonteki currently offers 3 dessert items on their menu. We got to try 2, but I'm looking forward to try the other one (Chocolate Cake) when I visit again soon.
One of which we tried was the Homemade Almond Pudding. This dessert item is pretty simple -- cubes of almond pudding in creamy almond milk. Since I'm a big fan of light desserts, this treat was right up my alley. The almond pudding was soft, silky and creamy yet light. The almond milk was also a refreshing bonus. Yum!
|✓ Homemade Almond Pudding (P110)|
We also got a taste of the Cheesecake. Unlike most cheesecakes in the metro, this light, uncloying and creamy rendition screams Japanese-style, which is a big plus for me since I'm not really a fan of denser cheesecakes. It was also prepared soufflé-style (sinks in the center), so the blueberry preserve beautifully drapes over.
|✓ Cheesecake (P140)|
I have to admit, I didn't have high expectations when we visited Tokyo Tonteki. I thought it would just be another mediocre Japanese restaurant serving mediocre specialty food. However, I was proven wrong. Everything we had that night was great and highly addicting. I can't believe that from the appetizers, to the main and side dishes, up until desserts, I couldn't find anything unsatisfactory. Even the portions were pretty big, and priced competitively. With these feats, Tokyo Tonteki has made it to my list of personal favorites! Here's to hoping the food quality will consistently be this good!
Taste - 5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 4/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Tokyo Tonteki, UP Town Center
G/F (beside Family Mart) UP Town Center,
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
Posted in: burger steak, food, japanese, japanese-western, katipunan, pork, quezon city, steak, up town center