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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tokyo Tonteki: Japanese Pork Steak and More at UPTC

A few weeks ago, I finally had the chance to check out UP Town Center, Ayala's newest mall along Katipunan Avenue. This two-floor mall, albeit still small at the moment, has a pretty good line-up of restaurants. Touring it for the first time had me all giddy like a little kid in a candy shop. There were just so many new and interesting joints I wanted to try!

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.
Tokyo Tonteki UP Town Center

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.

Tokyo Tonteki at UP Town Center
Uneven brick wall, condiments and utentils
Tokyo Tonteki hot iron-branded cork trivet
Interior, wall, utensils, condiments and hot iron-branded cork trivet at Tokyo Tonteki
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.

Tokyo Tonteki's Open Kitchen

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!

THE FOOD

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.

Spring Roll of Prosciutto, Avocado and Onsen Egg (P175)
✓ Spring Roll of Prosciutto, Avocado and Onsen Egg (P175)
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
The gigantic spring roll when sliced open...
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!

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.

Ginger Flavored Pork Steak Set (P350)
✓ Ginger Flavored Pork Steak Set (P350)
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!

Cheese Tonburg Steak Set (P400)
✓ Cheese Tonburg Steak Set (P400)
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!

Chicken Steak Set with Onion Steak Sauce (P325)
Chicken Steak Set with Onion Steak Sauce (P325)
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.

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.

Sundubu Style Tonteki Stew (P280)
✓ Sundubu Style Tonteki Stew (P280)
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.

Stir-Fried Japanese Mushrooms (P220)
✓ Stir-Fried Japanese Mushrooms (P220)
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 Bean Sprouts (P190)
Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts (P190)
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.

The Desserts

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.

Homemade Almond Pudding (P110)
✓ Homemade Almond Pudding (P110)
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!

Cheesecake (P140)
✓ Cheesecake (P140)
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.

THE VERDICT

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


Tokyo Tonteki, UP Town Center
G/F (beside Family Mart) UP Town Center,
Katipunan Ave., Loyola Heights, Quezon City
Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 955-2269
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33 comments :

  1. I want to try the Spring Roll and the Cheese Tonburg Steak. Looks really good! I must drop by UP Town Center one of these days. This is quite near me. :)

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    1. Go visit UP Town Center! There's a lot of new and interesting restos. I think I'll have to return soon so I can try more! :D

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  2. Sumiiii! We really have to meet soon na and do a resto review one time! Hehehe, anyway, UP town center is really near my place. I've been seeing this resto every time we pass by and thanks to your review, I think it's definitely time that we check it out.

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    1. I want!!! Let's set something up soon. I'd love to personally meet you and eat with you too. :) Basta I'll let you know when I'm free. Food trip tayo! ;)

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  3. OMG that Ginger Flavored Pork Streak looks soooo appetizing! And the place, to me, looks so comfy and sophisticated! ♥♥♥

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  4. The food looks sumptuous. We'd love to dine here the next time we are in the Philippines.

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  5. I love their interior! The food, they are presented well land look palatable. I can't complain with the price too! For me, with that kind of serving, yes they are priced competitively. How I wish they have a branch here in the south too! However, still happy to know that it's in the Philippines where they decided to have their first branch outside Japan ^_^

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    1. I think they'll put up branches by next year. Yes, hopefully there'll be one in the south. :)

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  6. Lots of foods to choose from...Japanese cuisine indeed! I loved all of the above...yayyy. Loved to eat like this....Japanese-style. And, the restaurant interior's superb.

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  7. Hi Sumi!!!! How are you? Hehehe I definitely agree with michy!!! I so want to try that... and the mushrooms... waaaaa drool mode on!! next time I go back .. Ill try them out!! definitely!!!

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    1. Hi Sumi! :) Thank you for visiting me & leaving a comment! <3 This UP town center is on TOP of my "need-to-visit-asap" place. Hopefully Jeng will take me around when I finally get the courage to manuever the way to QC! ;)

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    2. Mama Bear!! .. I will! no problem.. basta weekend and or walang pasok.. Ill drive for you pa nga eh if you want :D hatid sundo!!! :D :D ... of course ikutin natin lahat !!! hehehe!!! !!! :D :D :D my treat! :D :D :D

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  8. love their desserts,im now craving for sweet

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  9. The desserts looks so yummmy :)

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  10. I must try to dine in Tokyo Tonteki.
    Next to Italian food, Japanese food is my favorite.

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  11. Thanks for sharing! looking forward na matikman ko ang almond and cheesecake. hahaha! another tonkatsu house in the city :)

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    1. No sis, they don't actually specialize in tonkatsu but tonteki = pork steak. :)

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  12. Wow! The place is really nice! How I wish meron din dito sa Bacolod ng branch. Hihi. Btw, the Stir-Fried Bean Sprouts looks yummy! :)

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  13. The ambiance really looks nice! The side dishes presented here looked like main entrees themselves or is it just the angle of the photos that make them look larger in portion?

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    1. They really serve in big portions! The side dishes are already good for sharing. :)

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  14. You got me at Spring Rolls and Japanese Mushrooms. I went to UPTC once but sad to say I was not able to park. I ended in Katipunan instead.

    xoxo
    MrsMartinez

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    1. Aww.. I think parking at UPTC is quite limited nga. Anyway, give this a try when you find yourself in the area. :)

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  15. UP Town Center is a little far from where we live, but I will surely ask hubby to bring us there to try out this newly opened Japanese restaurant. I would love to savor their Cheese Tonburg Steak Set and their Blueberry Cheesecake.

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  16. Oh that Tonteki Stew looks interesting. As of now my fave is their Tonburg but I will try the stew when I go back. I love this place. :D

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  17. I see they serve kinds of dish ive never seen before - a must try! good thing is, i've been there to UP town center already :)

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  18. Cheese Tonburg Steak seem so yummy & the ambiance really is relaxing.

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  19. We so love Japanese food so this is definitely a must try resto.

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  20. I'm so happy that there are a lot of awesome restaurants opening near our area! <3 plus, that cheesecake!! :o

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  21. I Just won a GC for Tokyo Tonteki, reading your post makes me more excited to eat there. I will order Cheese Tonburg Steak and maybe a chocolate cake hahahah

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  22. The spring roll looks so yummy. Have never been to Up town Center too. Will definitely check this place out soon.

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  23. The spring roll looks so yummy. Will definitely check this place out soon with my kids.

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  24. the foods looks interesting,hope i could try this!

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