Back in September, my good friends Berylle and D, invited my partner and I for a double date. Being the foodies that we are, how could we not oblige? It was also our first time at the then-newly opened S Maison, so new map unlocked! Hue hue!
Chibo Okonomiyaki is a famous chain specializing in teppanyaki and okonomiyaki founded in Osaka back in 1973. With over 40 years of experience under its belt, it has already become a household name in Japan. And now, it has found its way to Manila as it opened its first Philippine branch in S Maison at Conrad Manila, Mall of Asia Complex.
As most restaurants in S Maison are, Chibo Okonomiyaki is also clad in warm elegance. Just their waiting area is already a nice place to lounge at. And inside the restaurant continues the gold and calligraphy motif. One thing I've noticed though, the tables are all set to accommodate groups of four. So if you're coming in as a bigger group, you might have to occupy adjacent tables, or reserve their function room overlooking the bay.
Since our friends were the ones who invited us out, we thought we'd just leave the food choices up to them. We've known them for quite a while now anyway, so we know they'll choose the bestsellers and/or interesting items. (*＾∀ﾟ)ъ
|Cheese Asparagus and Spinach Teppan (P120)|
To start off our late lunch, we first had this seemingly more Western appetizer -- layers of asparagus, spinach and tomatoes held together by teppan-melted cheese. I remember liking it, but it didn't leave a strong impression that would want me to order it again next time.
|✓ Gyoza Teppan (P150)|
We also had Chibo's take on gyoza, which is very much different from the usual Japanese dumpling. Unlike its fatter and softer gyoza brothers and sisters, Chibo's are thinner, square and grilled to a crisp. I could eat one whole order of this by myself and still want more!
|Spicy Konnyaku Steak Teppan (P120)|
Another appetizer we had was these slices of konnyaku, which is an almost zero-calorie health food made from a type of potato. When this was first served on our table, both Berylle and I were dumbfounded. From the photo on their menu, we thought we'd be getting bigger slices. Or maybe they just served it on such a big plate? Anyway, this was demolished in an instant given the portion size.
|Osaka Ika-Yaki (P150)|
Bridging our meal starter to main course (okonomiyaki) is this dish of grilled squid folded into a pressed crepe and drizzled with mayo and okonomiyaki sauce. Sadly, I can't remember how I found this anymore. >A< It was probably just okay.
Okonomiyaki and Yakisoba
As Chibo specializes in okonomiyaki, it was just a no-brainer to try out a few from their menu.
|Butatama Okonomiyaki (P190)|
To try the simple and classic Osaka favorite, we had this order of okonomiyaki with pork. And while I thought we'd get a chance to cook our own okonomiyaki like at Dohtonbori in SM North EDSA, here at Chibo, the waiting staff brought out a cooked okonomiyaki from their kitchen. The hot grill on the table was there not for actual cooking, but to keep the okonomiyaki warm, as well as a serving platter while the staff decorates the okonomiyaki with sauce, mayo, aonori and bonito flakes.
Although not filled with many frills, this straight-forward, basic okonomiyaki is good and what okonomikyaki should be like -- a great introduction to someone not yet too familiar with the dish. By the way, it was nice that every table has a set of condiments (sauce, mayo, aonori, bonito flakes) since we tend to go crazy on them.
|✓ Shirayukihime (P430)|
If we didn't order this fancy okonomiyaki, I would have given the butatama a check mark. However, this tall, meticulously-layered okonomiyaki proves its not only visually impressive, but also knows how to make the palate happy.
This thick, extra soft pancake of bacon, prawn, pork, tomato and avocado in an okonomiyaki topped with meringue and decorated with prawn head, is definitely a must-order! Its name literally means "Princess Snow White" and we can really see why it's named as such. It was even topped with grated Parmesan cheese after it was served on our table. Such elegance and showmanship befitting of a princess.
If you can only order a few things from Chibo's menu, make sure to get this!
In place of rice, it was more fitting to get noodles.
And just like how our okonomiyaki were served already cooked, the same goes for this classic yakisoba wrapped in omelette. The waiting staff just decorated our omusoba with sauce, mayo and beni shoga. Like the basic okonomiyaki, this seemed like a basic yakisoba with omelette which was pretty good, especially when sprinkled with lots of condiments.
|Shio Dare Soba (P280)|
For added carbs, we also had this yakisoba mixed with pork, squid, dried shrimps and garlic chives. Another simple but satisfying noodle dish.
Many Japanese specialty restaurants have been opening in Manila, and it's nice to have another okonomiyaki place around. It would have been better, at least for me, if there's an option to also cook one's own okonomiyaki on the table griddle or have the staff cook it in front of us, not just have the griddle serve as a food warmer. But for someone who's more keen on eating (not cooking), Chibo Okonomiyaki's system would be okay.
The dishes we tried were all decent, with the exception of the Shirayukihime -- it was exceptional! Personally, it's the only item I'll probably be coming back for again and again, unless there are other outstanding dishes I have yet to try. As for service, I have friends and acquaintances who weren't satisfied with their experience. However, when we visited on a late Saturday afternoon, we were treated with promptness and courtesy, and our waiters seemed to be pretty knowledgeable. The complimentary cold tea was a nice touch too!
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 3.5/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 3.5/5
Chibo Okonomiyaki, S Maison
Level 2, S Maison, Conrad Manila, Seaside Blvd. cor. Coral Way,
Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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