(SPOT.ph) Pandemic babies. No, we're not talking about actual human ones; the term encapsulates all the things birthed, and could only have been born of, the lockdowns. Food trends were a massive one, from humble homemakers to bigger concepts, at the forefront of which was Ginza Gyu. Originally a cloud kitchen concept, the go-to for stellar Japanese beef bowls has finally claimed a physical space tucked somewhere along C. Palanca Street in Legazpi Village—and yes, it's every bit what you would imagine from this out-of-the-box concept.
Even when all people could see was a window along Chino Roces, folks would walk up, knock, and ask if they could dine in at the cloud kitchen, marketing head Maxine Sanz tells SPOT.ph. The four-man team behind the concept had always known, after all, that they wanted Ginza Gyu to be something beyond a lockdown trend, so this next step was only natural. What folks can now visit is a sleek little space streetside in one of Makati's enclaves where you can dine hearty bowls of top-notch modern Japanese fare.
Ginza Gyu opens up physical restaurant in Makati
It took months for the Ginza Gyu team to come up with the menu for their restaurant. As Sanz reiterates, the quality of a dish is different when you get it through delivery or served piping hot from the kitchen. So yes, there's a whole slew of goodies you can get only at their physical space.
Top of which has to be the Avocado (P360). This plate consists of the winning combination of crisp nori in a perfectly fried batter and a dip that'll have you addicted: a stunningly simple concoction of creamy avocado, miso butter, a touch of sweet teriyaki, and a hint of spice from furikake. Another plate that'll take you on a crisp-nori ride is the Spicy Tuna (P450). We say take these little boats of happiness in bites, just make sure you get a bit of the crunchy seaweed and fresh tuna smothered in mayo in each one.
For the ultimate depth, get the Truffle Udon (P480). Yes, it might be filed under "Small plates" in the menu, but don't be fooled: this hefty bowl of thick udon covered in a creamy sauce won't leave you wanting in any way. Fill up on the creamy noodles; the depth of the truffle and earthy bonito flakes keep it from being cloying. For a vibrant seafood hit, the Prawn Soba (P490) is there to sate. Brightly wrapped veggies and rice noodles make way for a chunky shrimp center, with a savory sauce to keep the vibrancy in balance.
Salmon takes centerstage in the Salmon Aburi With Trio of Caviar (P880). A perfectly moist salmon steak with an aburi blanket of torched and creamy goodness is taken to the next level with a smattering of bright ebiko and ikura on top. Take that and mix it with hearty rice and sides of mushroom and spinach, and even more fried mushroom, and you've got a bowl that will fill all sorts of hunger. Even the meat-averse have a space here with the restaurant exclusive Four Kinds of Mushroom Claypot (P590). Think an umami-rich bowl chock full of shiitake, shimeji, and deep-fried oyster and enoki in crisp batter over rice smothered in miso butter and other tasty secrets; it's as sexy as it sounds.
But we won't lie. High-quality meat is what got Ginza Gyu the attention they deserve, and you can see that with their in-store menu. The 8-Hour Kurobuta Chashu (P680) takes topnotch pork into melt-in-your-mouth territory with slow-cooked chashu atop a bed of steaming rice. Don't forget the tamago for that perfect blend of sweet, from the tender pork, and savory, from the egg and rice.
When at Ginza Gyu, the Wagyu & Foie Gras Claypot (P1,580) is a treat you can't miss. This hefty bowl is available only at the restaurant, and it makes sense because if you're mixing stellar ingredients like foie gras and Wagyu steak, it'd practically be an injustice to serve it any other way apart from fresh from the kitchen. Steady your heart when this claypot is placed on your table: with chunks of fatty prime beef and seared foie gras atop steaming rice, you'll have to stop yourself from immediately reaching out. Don't forget to mix it all up first to make sure the rich miso butter gets to know, rather intimately, all the other ingredients; you'll be rewarded with a mouthful of melty fat and rich flavor.
They're not all food either. Ginza Gyu has got the matcha drinks—and ice cream—down pat, too. The Matcha Latte With Match Ice Cream (P290) is a rich treat you can down post-meal or while simply chilling at the resto. Think a straightforward and well-executed matcha-and-dairy mix made even better with a serving of deep matcha ice cream. For something on the brighter end of the spectrum, get the Sparkling Honey Yuzu Tea With Matcha (P250) which blends the earthy tea with zesty yuzu, all in one fun fizzy glass.
Pro-tip with the claypot dishes of Ginza Gyu: be sure to mix it all up once served piping hot to get that flavor and texture bomb with every bite. They're keeping their cloud-kitchen menu and in-store menu different—meaning that if you want to nosh on their special fare, you'll have to head on over to their Makati nook. Trust us, it's worth it.
Photos by Kai Huang.