New Restaurant Alert: Shabu Shabu Ichiban at Circuit Lane, Makati
The popular hot pot chain from Nagoya is now in Manila.
Shabu Shabu Ichiban
G/F Circuit Lane, Circuit Makati, Olympia, Makati City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) Circuit is an up-and-coming city-within-a-city complex that you'll want to keep your eye on. Even though there's ongoing construction on your way to the mall, there are plenty of reasons to have a little look if you've got the time.
Shabu Shabu Ichiban, which is already a popular hot pot chain in Nagoya, Japan, is one such reason. If you're a fan of all things Japanese, they're worth a visit.
Once inside, you're met with the running color scheme of deep red and rich black, juxtaposed with pale wood furnishings and warm light. They offer quite the experience, from the camp mascot to the fact that the meals come in sets—which, in their way, really capture the oddities that make Japanese metropolitan life so interesting to the rest of the world.
It's easy, being foreign to—though not completely unfamiliar—with the culture as a whole, to favor one facet over another, and to deem the latter strange, even right down to the food. Some people, for example, can get behind the fried stuff (because who says no to tempura?) but can't stand the mere thought of eating raw fish. This is the kind of place where nobody has to fight.
And here's your fun fact for the day: tempura as a cooking method was introduced to Japan from Portugal—so we really can scrap tradition! COO of Fredley Food and Beverages, Inc. Avin Ong certainly has, in that he assures us that the menu has been tweaked to suit the Filipino palate. Purists might scoff—but, let's be honest, nobody's really out to please them. They tend to not be much fun anyway.
The enthusiasts might be interested, though, and after all, one comes to eat, and Shabu Shabu Ichiban serves that sort happily.
You get to customize your experience to a larger extent than one might normally expect from a Japanese restaurant—there are literally two dozen broths to choose from! There’s the usual Shoyu or Vegetable soup base to start with, but we suggest you make your way to the spicy options and check out the Spicy Szechuan or Spicy Miso for a good kick of flavor.
There are three meal sets forming a comfortable little spectrum in terms of quantity, with the most basic one having a selection of beef, pork, chicken, vegetables, udon, rice, and drinks. The bigger sets give you the option to feast on sides like chicken wings, sushi, or sashimi platters.
King Crab Legs
Set A (P488/P588 per head; P688 on weekends and holidays) is best for a date—unless, of course, they've explicitly stated that sushi is the key to their long-term affections, in which case, you'll want to go with Set B (P688/P788 per head; P888 on weekends and holidays.). For special occasions—or just big groups—Set C (P1,688/P1,788 per head; P1,888 on weekends and holidays) is your best bet, which comes with unlimited king crab.
Sushi / Sashimi Platter
For days when you don’t feel like having everything all at once, you can opt for ala carte dishes like the Shrimp Tempura (P300/six pieces), the Regular or Deluxe Sushi Platter (P350/three kinds, P500/five kinds), Regular or Deluxe Sashimi Platter (P450/three kinds, P700/five kinds), and even, yes those King Crab Legs (P1,500/500 grams)—but you might as well get the unlimited set if you’re aiming to get your hands on more than just one serving of those crabs.
Fried Ice Cream
Perhaps you've heard that they've been working on dessert. You'd have heard right; the Fried Ice Cream (which comes with Set B or C, and is one of the free options for Set A) is a chunk of strangeness you'll want to look into.
It's not for every day, certainly. But for the milestones, for the moments you might think are rare or special or serendipitous, or for that one time in the near future when your friend manages to drag you to a cosplay convention and you get so into it that you decide to cap off the experience properly—there's Shabu Shabu Ichiban.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel