This is the last of two-part-series of our Little Tokyo experience on a late Friday afternoon.
If you’ve read my first entry below about these quaint Japanese restaurants ran by authentic Japanese chefs along Chino Roces (formerly Pasong Tamo) and Amorsolo Streets in Makati City, you have known that we first chowed down at Hana where we munched on Takoyaki or octopus dumplings, Sukiyaki plate and our son Gabby enjoyed his flavored shaved ice Ramune. This next post about Little Tokyo will show you our first experience of eating okonomiyaki at Kagura, the next-door-restaurant to Hana.
This is Kagura, one of the small restaurants inside Little Tokyo. It was so apparent that the owner of this Japanese nook is a baseball fanatic for he/she incorporated all things about the sports in the interiors of Kagura; from miniature baseball bats, to baseball balls, even the boob tube near one end of the door was showing Japanese baseball game.
This is one of the three partitioned tables in Kagura where diners can sit comfortably with crossed legs or just let legs and feet dangle at the hole under the table once seated and enjoy the yummies. But my wife Tina, our son Gabby and I opted to sit in the counter opposite this tables in front of those two chefs at the teppan (flat iron grill plate). No worries because there was unobtrusive smoke out of the cooking process; diners won’t smell the same as the food they ordered.
Kagura’s specialty is mainly OKONOMIYAKI or Japanese pancakes or some call it Japanese pizza that is cooked in front of the customer upon order. In front of the teppan grill are tiny baseball player figures that made Gabby so preoccupied at looking at them while Tina and I were busy learning how to cook Okonomiyaki.
We had one order of EGG & SHRIMP OKONOMIYAKI (I forgot the price, but it’s less than PhP 300 because I paid PhP 320 for the bill including a can of regular Coke). The other Okonomiyaki being fried on the photo above was for another diner, a Japanese ex-pat who ordered his pancake with noodles. One thing is sure at Little Tokyo according to the blogs I’ve read about it, it’s usually packed by mostly Japanese nationals so one can be sure that those restaurants inside the compound are authentic in serving good food (although some may agree that most in their menu are a bit pricey, because I’ve stated on my previous post, diners pay not only for the food but the ambiance as well).
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake coined from the words okonomi, meaning “what you like” or “what you want”, and yaki meaning “grilled” or “cooked” (as in yakitori and yakisoba); I got that info from this source. The batter was mixed with chopped veggies mainly cabbage strips and some shrimps, or you can have other seafoods such as squid rings and even bacon strips and noodles to be included as ingredients of your okonomiyaki- whichever way you want it cooked.
Because we’re a bit satiated from eating Takoyaki, Sukiyaki plate that was served with rice from Hana, but can’t afford to miss the chance of trying to eat okonomiyaki as well, we just ordered one egg and shrimp pancake but I personally asked for additional topping of FISH FLAKES for additional PhP 35. That makes Okonomiyaki different from Italian pizza which is usually topped by cheese…Our okonomiyaki was topped with mayonnaise drizzle, green nori (seaweed) powder and fish flakes before it was served on an iron pan.
I would say that I liked the first time experience of eating Okonomiyaki but I don’t think I can eat it on a daily basis. It was surprising to see the Japanese national next to where Gabby was seated to finished munching his order in a blink! I like the way it was prepared, with seafood and egg on the batter and some veggies of course, it’s a whole meal in one to be precise. But it would take probably a real Japanese blood to supply the stomach to have it as a favorite dish. Nonetheless, I would order it again given the chance to be there (again) but as I’ve stated, not on an everyday basis.
The other things that caught our eyes inside Kagura were these interesting stuffs – bottles of Japanese wines, liquor and even SMB’s Cerveza Negra (which I heard from my wife’s soon-to-be US-Immigration lawyer’s talk from a seminar we attended that it was one of the ’hard-to-find’ stuffs in the US that may be a prospect for some business minded people to import it from the PI).
Should I recommend Little Tokyo to you? Absolutely! If you’re into Japanese food and would like to enjoy authentic Japanese dishes at small restaurants tucked inside a compound owned by Japanese chef, it’s worth the experience.
Despite the traffic, and the hassle going to and out of it, I’m glad I’ve been to Little Tokyo!
Kagura @ Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces St., Makati City, tel # (63-2) 894-3856.