Japanese cuisine two ways

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TAPPING into the Philippines’ big market for Japanese cuisine, a new restaurant has opened in Makati which seeks to introduce to the local market more ways of enjoying dishes from the “Land of the Rising Sun.”

Located at the Japan Town of Top of The Glo in Glorietta 2, Shaburi & Kintan Buffet restaurant officially opened its doors last week, promising customers to satisfy their craving for authentic Japanese cuisine.

Shaburi & Kintan is a casual dining concept which brings together Shaburi and Kintan, two Japanese restaurants that serve shabu-shabu (hotpot) and yakiniku (grill or barbecue) in buffet settings.

It was introduced by Dining Innovations Ltd., whose chairman, Tomoyoshi Nishiyama, is the founder of the number one yakiniku restaurant in the world and who also introduced shabu-shabu, udon, and yakitori in over 200 restaurants in different countries.

Mr. Nishiyama, who flew into the country to oversee and lead the official opening of the first branch of Shaburi & Kintan, partnered with Dining Concepts, Inc.’s President Hubert Young to bring the restaurant to the country.

Mr. Young and his group were responsible for bringing to the Philippines the UCC Coffee chain and other Japanese food concepts: Coco Ichibanya, Mitsuyado House of Tsukemen, Mitsuyado Ramen Shokudo, and Tendon Kohaku, among others.

“I’m very happy to have Shaburi & Kintan at the center of Makati. The Philippines has a very big market for Japanese cuisine with its large population, which is second to Indonesia in Southeast Asia,” Mr. Nishiyama said during the restaurant’s opening on July 9, underscoring their decision to bring over the dining concept.

Shaburi & Kintan is divided into two areas for the shabu-shabu buffet and the yakiniku buffet.

Upon entry, the staff advises customers of the choices (such as the 90-Minute Weekday Lunch Course in Shaburi and the 90-Minute Dinner at Kitan) and they will be guided to the corresponding area to dine in.

For the yakiniku buffet, there are four options: the Regular Buffet, Kintan Buffet, Premium Kintan Buffet, and Special Wagyu Buffet. Customers can choose the type of rice and the meat they want.

Smoke from the grill is not a problem in the restaurant as it uses, owners said, Japanese technology that makes the smoke “magically dissipate.”

Over at the shabu-shabu buffet, options are broken down to Regular Shabu, Special Shabu, Shaburi Wagyu, or Special Wagyu.

Making the shabu-shabu offered at the restaurant different from the others is that customers are given a choice to have their own pot of preferred soup or soups depending on their liking.

Meat choices for both the kintan and shabu-shabu include premium chicken, pork, and beef cuts.

Apart from the quality meat available, the restaurant has a buffet display counter boasting of fresh vegetables.

Japanese and Korean side dishes like sushi rolls, chicken karaage, kimchi chijimi, vegetable kakiage and potato fries, among others, are also on offer.

To complete the meal, desserts, including soft serve ice cream, and unlimited glasses of drinks — soda, iced teas and coffee, among others — are available as well.

Prices of the buffet, which runs for 90 minutes, range from P355 to P1,999. The restaurant also offers a set menu which is good for 60 minutes with prices ranging from P419 to P895.

Having had success with the other concepts they have brought in here, Mr. Young said they are expecting Shaburi & Kintan Buffet to do well, even planning this early to open at least five to 10 more branches.

“The concepts can either be broken into either a combination again of Shaburi and Kintan, which is shabu-shabu and yakiniku. Or, we can also break it down to just a shabu-shabu store and a yakiniku store,” he said of the thrust they are planning to pursue for the restaurant. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo