Friday, April 5, 2013

Gyu-Kaku: Doumo Arigatou Gozaimashita for being in the Philippines

Wazzup Pilipinas !

Konnichiwa! Minnasan wa o genki desu ka? Watashi wa ureshii desu soshiete nihon kyouri wa oishi desu. 

If you don't understand Japanese, I meant to say: I had the time of my life!

Seriously, it was the other night that I was able to try the best Wagyu Beef I’ve ever tasted so far. It was so soft and tender that it literally melted in my mouth! Top it off with the experience of grilling the beef along with the rest of the other equally tasty meats in our Assorted Meat Plate with my friends was truly amazing!

The special secret sauce, with also an option for a spicy variety upon request, even brought out a better complementing taste. The grilled meat was good enough on its own, but the sauces simply gives you an alternative way of enjoying your grilled meat.

It's a better experience than a Shabu-Shabu meal - which is a different thing altogether - and a whole lot exhilarating than a backyard barbecue weekend. I guess its more intimate, and satisfying in the end.

The people in Manila have something to be excited all over again. This time it's a Japanese BBQ Restaurant that's opening its doors to the Filipino and our visitors in the Philippines who would like to experience one of the most popular Japanese restaurants in the world. It is a chain of Japanese "yakiniku" restaurants specializing in Japanese barbecue.

Gyu-Kaku literally means "bull's horn" in Japanese which symbolizes the restaurant's specialty in meat dishes of the grilled variety. But its the diners who get to grill the meats! Now, that sounds really fun!

Gyu-Kaku is a “yakiniku” restaurant that was originally developed by Rex Holdings Japan. There are approximately eight hundred Gyu-Kaku locations within Japan, and locations have also been opened in the United States (New York City, California, Chicago, Hawaii). Gyu-kaku is part of Reins International Inc. However, every restaurant is different in terms of region and selection availability.

As one of the largest restaurant operators in Japan, Rex Holdings Japan developed the Gyu-Kaku system of restaurant operating techniques and methods in the mid 1990s and expanded throughout Japan. Gyu-Kaku since then has been advanced and modified for the global market.

Gyu-Kaku offers customers the opportunity to cook various cuts of beef, pork, poultry, seafood, vegetables and desserts on the specially designed in-table roasters that are designed to vent smoke through forced air openings built into the roaster.

The internal vents are designed to reduce the amount of smoke and odor that may be emitted in the restaurant or transferred to customers’ clothes.



We were fortunate  to have been invited during the formal blessing and ribbon cutting, plus a ceremonial breaking of the barrel where they drank sake afterwards.


The refreshing Oolong Tea truly relaxes but also gave us the appetite. The only thing we hated was the long wait before our meals were served that night. However, it was understable since the place was jampacked.

So I think I drank three types of drinks that night before we finally got a bite. First one was the Oolong tea, then the Sake, and then some Green Tea just to compare it with the Oolong tea.

The menu also includes a variety of alcoholic (including “sake”, or Japanese rice wine) and non-alcoholic drinks.

Well, I don't really know about my other two companions on how they were able to avoid squirming after taking a full shot, but I'm not really a wine drinker so the Sake was a real shocker when drank straight up.

In South East Asia, the Philippines was the fourth one to welcome Gyu-Kaku among its many restaurant franchises. The first was Singapore, followed by Malaysia and then Thailand.

We have also learned from Winny Low, Statistics and Operational Training Manager from Reins International Pte Ltd of Singapore, that there would also be Vietnam branch opening soon.

Chicago Gyu-Kaku has recently awarded Diner's Choice Winner 2011.

A great choice if ever you'll visit the branch is to order the Botan Set. But since we attended a special event that night, the servers get to surprise us with whatever was being served that night to their guests.

The Botan Set includes the following: Kim-chee, Korean Style Cucumber Pickles, Assorted Sausage & Bacon, Choice of Salad, Wagyu Tongue, Wagyu Nakaochi, Wagyu Rump Cap, Lamb Chop, Buta Karubi, Ebi Foil Grill, Ishiyaki Bibimbab, and a Choice of Dessert.

The assorted Namuru  as appetizers started the night with a delightful and appealing crunchy goodness taste I am sure everyone loved.

Gyu-kaku also sells its own brand of kimchi in Japanese supermarkets, as well as a line of dipping sauces and marinades.

Kimchee and Spicy Pickled Cucumber  - I am a kimchee lover but the cucumber was my choice here.  I love the combination of spicy, tangy and sweet flavor of this pickled dish.

The Horenso Salad perked up the night with its awesome taste that's not too sweet and salty. I've tasted a lot of veggie salads before and this one is among the best there is.

The Ishiyaki Bibimbap was cooked in a claypot and served hot in a bowl. The rice was seasoned well and can be eaten on its own. I actually loved the sort of crunchy bits that got burnt from the claypot. It gave the Asian feel of appreciation for rice.

Though I appreciated it more when I combined it with some of the grilled meat. The dipping sauce on the meats made the meal so much a winner!

The Garlic Prawn Foil Grill were wrapped in foil and then cook on the grill to steam. It was sure an adventure in dining!

We just couldn't resist the temptation of opening the foil and checking if the contents are cooked already. The waiters told us to cook them in just five minutes, but the length of time also depends on the how hot the charcoals are.

The Assorted Mushrooms were also wrapped in foil and cooked on top of the grill. I appreciated the sweet and spiced up taste that lingers in the tongue for a long time.

The Ebi foil wrap was soaked in lemon sauce and lots of garlic, we have to cook this first to avoid spoilage and food poisoning. It was good but I think the portion was too small. 

The Wagyu beef  declares its superiority with a sort of a miniature banner flag that says Wagyu, the world's best tasting tender beef.


The Assorted Meat Plate has enough portion of everything which were marinated with lots of spices like garlic, - Wagyu tongue, Wagyu Karubi, Buta Karubi, Beef Karubi, Chicken Thigh Fillet Basil, and French Duck, were cut nicely so the fats around the meat were evenly spread.

My favorite among the four ice cream they brought out to us was the Matcha Ice Cream. The green tea ice cream was delightful.  It's not too sweet and I can still taste the green tea goodness with my eyes close.

So they also served us some fruits before the night ended. The preparation was indeed "amazing" and very creative but sadly the fruits were not that sweet enough to be enjoyed.  Maybe it's just me because I love my fruits sweet and juicy.

What can I say about the service? It was excellent! The staff were very attentive of your needs and took the initiative to provide you with whatever they thought was necessary.

They gave my friend a small jar containing sake when he kept asking for more of the Japanese rice wine, they assisted one of our friends in putting on her bib, they served us some ice cream even though there was not enough for all of the people that were still expected to come in, and they kept on changing the charcoal and even grilled plate so our meat won't get charred easily.

Did I mention that the restaurant had a second floor. More tables upstairs for their customers.

The kitchen and wine bar is located at the second floor so I would advise everyone who wants some fast service to seat at the upper level. But then again, expect that it will be very busy in the eye as you see the crew members in a hurry with your orders and shouting to warn everyone of an incoming charcoal delivery.

My friends and I posing for the camera as we end the night with a wacky photo shoot. We really enjoyed our dining experience at Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Restaurant. There was truth in what many had testified a day before that I would be amazed with the food and the experience.

That same day an hour before the event started, a foreigner approached me while I was taking photos of the facade of the restaurant and asked me if the restaurant was already open that day. They surely can't wait to dine in and have some delightful grilled treats at Gyu-Kaku!

Gyu-Kaku wa Wagyu Karubi ga yuumei desu. Itsuka isshooni ikou?

Zehi, tabete meti kudasai!

Gyu-Kaku is located at the W Global Center building (same place where Ihop, PF Chang, California Pizza Kitchen is located) This is at 9th Avenue corner 30th street at the Bonifacio Global Center (BGC).

To learn more about Gyu-Kaku, check out their Facebook page :

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  1. Sugoi desu ne....I want to visit this restaurant soon...Thank you for the meaty information.

  2. Wow, this is what I am waiting for...Salamat at meron na pala dito sa Pinas.

  3. Nice restaurant. Although I'm not into japanese food,I've been dreaming of eating Wagyu beef ever since I read some articles of how delicious it is. My mouth is already watering through the author's descriptions alone, what mkre if the dishes were in front of me. How I wish I can eat there, I bet Ms. del Rosario can treat me. :)

  4. This is nice! I want to try this, too! The food looks delicious and the location is great, as well. :)

  5. I savor, result in I discovered just what I was having a look for.

    You've ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man.
    Have a great day. Bye

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