Sunday, April 25, 2010


4.5 out of 5 stars

Amidst the heavy traffic and buildings that is Makati is this Japanese culinary gem called Little Tokyo. It houses an array of restaurants, including some convenience stores here and there. But among all of them, two of my favorite ones include Kikafuji and Seryna, both teeming with Japanese customers, a sure sign of authenticity. Kikafuji is more of a busy dining hall, harshly lit with white walls, bright yellow bamboo floors and boisterous crowds. Seryna, on the other hand, is calmer and quieter with dimly lit lights, dark wooden walls and stone accents. Since my family is hyper enough as it is, I preferred bringing them to the nice ambience of Seryna even if the yakitori of Kikafuji tastes better.

The place was packed, not surprising because it was a Friday. Even with a late reservation, we got a bad spot right behind the front door, since that table could accommodate 6. If you’re around 4 people, the best spot would be on the left side, where you sit on a table with sunken floors, as if you’re sitting on a tatami mat with the benefit of keeping your shoes on. Of course, they also have function rooms, but make sure to reserve early since they get booked real quick.

I wasn’t able to take a picture of the tekka maki (145 PhP) and salmon sashimi (235 PhP) because my family finished it in a matter of seconds, they were that hungry. My sister raved about how the seafood was so fresh. The tuna in the sushi was glistening red, and it was expertly wrapped with a dab of wasabi. I didn’t even see the salmon, it was consumed that fast, but I did hear rounds of approval from my very critical family members. If you’re a sashimi lover, and you want to splurge a whole bunch of money, you could order the sashimi tokumori (2130 PhP), which is a whole platter of various sashimi flown straight from Japan! Good thing I was able to take a good picture of the California temaki, which was light, fresh and delicious. The only thing that confused me was that the crabstick was billed separately, but this may be because it wasn’t listed in the menu. Fortunately this restaurant can whip up stuff not written on the menu by request.
California temaki

We also got yakitori (60 PhP per stick) of the following kinds: quail egg wrapped in bacon, asparagus wrapped in bacon and chicken, all a pair each. We split each order of one kind with teriyaki sauce, and the other with salt and pepper. As I said, they were good, with the teriyaki better than the other, but the ones at Kikafuji were much better, complete with perfect grill marks.
yakitori (60 PhP per stick)

The gindara teriyaki (425 PhP) came with the yakitori. I didn’t taste it, but the piece speaks for itself (and not in a good way).
gindara teriyaki (425 PhP)

The saving grace of Seryna, apart from their fresh sushi and sashimi were our two orders of Wagyu sirloin steak (2020 PhP for around 3 pax) and 2 orders of the Wagyu Japan beef sukiyaki (360 PhP for 2 pax). Of course, we got the basic orders of ebi tempura (315 PhP per basket) and fried rice, but it’s really the meat that was worth writing about.
fried rice

ebi tempura (315 PhP per basket)

The sukiyaki is made tableside and doing this made it the presentation special. When we got our bowls, it was apparent that they did not scrimp on the ingredients. The star of the show was the beef, and paper thin strips of these filled the entire container. The soup merely coated the meat and the vegetables, and it wasn’t too sweet either. I also loved the brown beech Mushrooms and enoki mushrooms that tasted just as good as it looked. It was an amazing soup!
sukiyaki made tableside
Wagyu Japan beef sukiyaki (360 PhP for 2 pax)

Just as amazing was the wagyu steak. They served it on the table raw and pre-sliced, along with settling a portable brick grill which allowed us to cook it according to our level of doneness. The meat was cooked without any oil or seasoning, and it was best barely seared on either side since the meat was thin. It was so good even without dipping it in the chives, chili and a soy-based steak sauce provided to each of us. My first bite of that unadorned meat was pure bliss: pinkish, tender with a concentrated flavor of beef with every bite. This is what authentic wagyu is all about. Not one single ligamented portion, where it would give way with the shove of a fork but keep its shape.
Wagyu sirloin steak (2020 PhP for around 3 pax)

The tempura and rice is anticlimactic compared to the wagyu, but still worth noting. The ebi tempura was crunchy and light, and was not masked by too much flour coating. Our half orders of fried rice were well-presented with a huge shrimp on top, accompanied by a rich beef broth. In all, the food was so delicious that we were willing to bypass the dreadful service. For example, my sister’s fruit shake came 45 minutes past the time the sashimi was served. Even getting the bill itself took so long. The ratio of calling the waitress and being noticed was probably 4:1. In defense, it was probably a busy night, and my previous visits weren't as inattentive. Besides, the food all the more made up for anything else. If you can’t book a flight to Japan, this restaurant does a pretty good job in tasting it!

2277 Chino Roces Ave.
Makati City, Metro Manila
(across McDonald's in Mile Long)
(02) 894-3855
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm


My friend told me of this good restaurant in Fort that was connected with a cooking school. I immediately thought Aubergine and led him towards that direction, not knowing that he meant another place! He was too nice to change course, and told me that we should eat there instead, since I’ve been raving about it from here to there. I assured him that Aubergine’s an excellent dinner bet for his first time, and another awesome thing about it is that its kitchen closes at 10pm, later than your usual fine dining.

I don’t know what else there is to say about this, considering that I’ve worshipped this place since it opened and have written about it on occasion. We were quick to decide on what to eat, my friend choosing the Wagyu beef tri tip, while I chose the fish wrapped in bacon with tomato fondue and ravioli (both around 1,200+ PhP). Service was quick and faultless; we were only around 6 customers at that time. On a side note, I’ve noticed that the prices have gone up (The beef tri tip used to be below 1,000 PhP) and that the menu changes at a crawling pace. I guess they have every right to charge an extra premium for such a bustling business, but hopefully they could overhaul some of the dishes instead of change a few of the ingredients of the same order and call it a different thing.

The fish was full of intense and flavorful flavors coming from the rich saffron cream-based sauce, tomato fondue and bacon. I wanted to eat everything and sop up all the sauce with my ravioli, but I stopped myself since my friend didn’t eat his vegetables nor the foie gras. However, I voluntarily didn’t finish my amuse bouche since I found the Brie mousse too sour. Not even the cherry sauce could save it. Below are pictures of our meal.

Sadly, we didn’t have free macaroons or chocolate truffles to close off our meal like we used to. But nevertheless, I still love this place, and would recommend this restaurant to anyone for a truly fine dining experience.

beside HSBC, across S&R
32nd and 5th Building
5th Avenue cor. 32nd Street
Fort Bonifacio 1634 Taguig
(02) 856-9888
Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 11:00 am - 2:00 pm
Su, Su, M, T, W, Th, F, Sa: 6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

*Be sure to reserve before dining.

Related Posts with Thumbnails