16 (Mon) March 2015
at Gyumon (The Pan-Pacific Manila)
In search of higher quality fare than the joints on the streets of the neighborhood typically offer, I’m eating my way through the three 5-star hotels within walking distance of my apartment. One meal per restaurant, 10 in all, not including lounges, bars, coffee shops: 3 in New World, 5 in Pan-Pacific, 2 in Diamond. Bound to be expensive but maybe worth the hassle of going to Makati or Bonifacio. However, I may fold the project if the on-going returns suggest that I’m wasting my time/money/energy/concern.
This is the 9th restaurant to be covered, the 5th from Pan-Pacific (done!). 1 of 10 remaining.
The following tiers (“Would I go back for more?”) are based on the overall dining experience, including all the dishes sampled, cost, ambiance, cleanliness, and any other factors that may apply, cumulative through multiple visits (if any).
Tier 1 (looking forward to it):
Tier 2 (sure, but not enthusiastically):
Tier 3 (only under dire circumstances):
Tier 4 (to be avoided at all costs):
- (5) D-2 Yurakuen (6.015 Jyou Nigiri Sushi Moriawase) / 1.0
Yakiniku is a type of Japanese cuisine–sort of. Whereas the term means “grilled = yaki” + “meat = niku,” the meat is pre-cut into bite-sized pieces, sometimes marinated in a sweet soy-sesame marinade, then cooked DIY on a table-top grill–just like Korean BBQ. Yakiniku restaurants also typically offer other Korean dishes, from sides to mains. Beyond the Japanized names/spellings of various cuts/items, as well as inevitable variances in flavor, the food is unmistakably Korean. Still, the genre has become so mainstream in Japan that it’s no longer regarded consciously as Korean, similar to how Koreans regularly localize and eat shabu shabu without considering its Japanese origins (see for example 1.197 Beef Shabu Shabu).
Ostensibly Japanese, Gyumon is in fact a Korean restaurant*. Specializes in yakiniku. Part of the group that owns/operates Asunaro two floors down. In fact, the expansive Asunaro menu is available upon request, orders prepared in the kitchen below and delivered/served directly to the table above–best of both worlds.
Overall, the dining experience was much to my liking. For one thing, I’ve always appreciated the lighter hand that the Japanese demonstrate in the use of seasonings, so I enjoyed the delicate karubi marinade, both mushroom and beef. The meat itself had a clean beef flavor; not as tender as the marbled appearance would suggest, but tender enough. Combination gas+charcoal grill provided a nice charred touch. Though I did miss the wide variety of vegetables that come with a traditional Korean BBQ spread, especially kimchi, I didn’t feel like paying for them, certainly not kimchi. No big deal, as the meal wasn’t only about the BBQ.
The masochistically gluttonous “Try Every” series: (i) TERRP (…Restaurant in Robinsons Place) (see completed 5.247 TERRP 85 KFC : Original Recipe Fried Chicken…); (ii) TEITY (..Item at Tao Yuan) (see most recently 6.055 The Penultimate); (iii) TERNWPPD (…Restaurant in New World, Pan-Pacific, Diamond) (see most recently 6.059 New York-Style Strip Steak); (iv) TERSK (…Restaurant in St Kilda) (see completed 5.339 Roasted Squid); (v) TEKREM (…Korean Restaurant in Ermita/Malate) (see most recently 6.056 Chung v Chung); (vi) TEIBR (…Item at Bistro Remedios) (see most recently 6.053 Chicharones).
*I will count Gyumon as the 22nd installment of TEKREM.