Restaurant Review: YABU at SM Aura, Manila, Philippines

Ok, hear me out. I realize that this restaurant review might not be very helpful unless you’ll be visiting the Philippines anytime soon, but it’s mostly about the type of food they serve. You can definitely find it in Toronto and satisfy your craving after reading this post. I’m talking about “katsu”, of course, since Yabu is the House of Katsu.

First, what is katsu? It’s short for katsuretsu, which means cutlet in Japanese, that is breaded in Panko crumbs and deep-fried. Tonkatsu refers to pork cutlet but there are many variations such as chicken and seafood.

I have had them before my trip in various Japanese restaurants but I had never been to one that specializes solely in the art of katsu. I immediately fell in love with Yabu without even tasting a single thing yet because when I walked in, this is what greeted me:
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Huge comic book panels are present throughout the restaurant, detailing the secrets to mastering katsu. They were featured in the menu and in the washrooms as well.
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While they only offer katsu, their menu is pretty extensive in what kinds you can get. Pork is their specialty with different cuts that range from ultra premium ones imported from Japan to local ones. They have chicken, shrimp, salmon, oysters, soft-shell crab and vegetables. All their dishes come with unlimited miso soup, cabbage salad and rice. Oh and did I mention you get to grind up your own sesame seeds for their incredible katsu sauce.
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Everything from their appetizers…
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to their tonkatsu…
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to their chicken and seafood katsu set…
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…was super delicious. They use only the best cuts of meat and have very generous portions. They make their Panko crumbs fresh every day and cook it in 100% canola oil to the perfect temperature. Sigh. It’s pretty amazing. I wish we had Yabu here in Toronto but I’m sure I can find something similar. I suggest you do the same When done right, katsu can be one of the best things you can ever eat. If you’re lucky enough to be in the Philippines, run don’t walk.

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