Review: Yayoi Japanese Teishoku Restaurant

Japanese food craving has been a huge trend in the country and this is the reason why a lot of Japanese restaurants and food hubs are currently on the rise. In Manila, many locals have joined the sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki and even the ramen noodle craze with everyone slurping, chewing and swallowing tasty dishes the way Japanese people do. Some have even ventured into the dessert niche with cheese tarts, crepe cakes, cream buns and everything matcha-infused confections served perfectly to satisfy the Filipinos’ lust for sweets.

Hopping into this bandwagon is a recently-opened authentic Japanese restaurant called Yayoi (pronounced as yayo-ee) Japanese Teishoku. It opened last September 16 and it is the newest Japanese food place in town, located at the 3rd floor, Building B of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong.

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Unlike the other popular Japanese franchises which only focus on specific, specialty dishes – a ramen bar, a katsu house, a sushi and tempura bar, Yayoi plays it different by taking inspiration from the wisdom of Japanese culinary tradition with its Teishoku-dining concept which means serving home-style set meals, consisting of a main dish of meat or fish, miso soup, a steaming bowl of rice, and side dishes of vegetables and tsukemono (Japanese pickles). At present, Yayoi has over 300 outlets located all over Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, the United States, Australia and now, one in the Philippines.

Yayoi is a perfect fit for us Pinoys for two basic reasons. First, we love to eat set meals. A lot of us (or should I say all of us) don’t get full with just a cup of rice and a single viand. I personally can’t count the number of times I had to order a soup or a side dish just to complete my dining experience. Second is, we always think that rice is life, literally. We love pairing anything with rice and meals look and taste incomplete without it.

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Atmosphere-wise, the new branch is an epitome of a grandiose urban dining haven. The interiors are modern with unmistakably Japanese aesthetics. The set up is very homey with warm lights, clean walls and wooden linings. The tables are big and the chairs are well-cushioned. There are separate tables for big groups and there are seats that are lined up in the middle, best for individuals who want to eat solo. It is also good that there is a complete pile of relish – spices, pepper on top of each table.

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Hello Alexis from Fork Spoon Manila!

A very notable factor in this restaurant is the presence of (Ipad) tablet menus. Each seat has a digital touch-screen menu where orders are chosen and placed – all presented with names and photos. It also displays the order status, amount to be paid and a button if you need to call the restaurant service. The menu comes in English and Japanese versions. I personally think it’s very efficient because aside from the fact that you get to see all photos of the food you wish to order, you also get a summary of your total bill and it also saves you from the hassle of calling the attention of the servers in case you need anything from them. There’s also a normal, physical menu available for the non-techie ones.

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One of my major concerns though is the lack of complete food profile in the menu. I think it would be better if the ingredients and all the other important details such as the kind of meat, the accent sauce, the style of cooking, the type of side dish and the soup and other significant information are also provided in the set. For someone like me who is not so much of a Japanese foodie, ordering for something I do not understand (and cannot even pronounce properly) is a challenge.

Of course, the servers are always ready to assist. They helped me in operating the tablet and choosing the best dish so suit my cravings. I asked them about the limited drink choices and they told me it’s because they are on a testing period (soft opening) and assured me that more beverages will be available soon.

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I ordered for a Chicken Namban Teishoku (395 pesos), a set that comes with chopped fried chicken that has been marinated in namban (soy vinegar) sauce, topped with tartar sauce. It also comes with other side dishes – lettuce, pickles and miso soup. My friend, on the other hand ordered Hitsumabushi (650 pesos), a bento set that includes grilled eel, rice and served with a side of dash broth and a fresh dab of wasabi.

The servers gave us small cups of green tea first, the usual tea that they serve for free in most Japanese places and sushi bars. I actually love it because it gives the experience that unique Japanese twist.

Food service is quite fast. Our orders arrived hot (and smoking) after almost 20 minutes of waiting. The server adviced us to be careful with food handling because the plates and bowls are still warm.

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The entire platter was an astonishing view. Their serving is really big and the whole set is impressive. All the dinnerwares from the plates to the saucers and caps to the tray and even the soup spoon are authentic Japan-made. I feel like I wanna sit on the floor and savor that bento moment like a real Japanese lady.

The crunchiness of the chicken is superb. The combination of a flavourful marinated chicken and the tartar sauces produces a taste that is a combination of mostly sweet and savoury, but also comes in slightly sour. The chicken is fried but it is still juicy. I am not a fan of the other side dishes though because I find them really sour. The miso soup also tastes okay, a bit salty with some meaty, nutty tones.

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The Hitsumabushi meal is also mouthwatering.  The servers provided us with a guide card, containing a set of instructions on how we can eat the dish. Served Nagoya style, the meal can be enjoyed in three ways: the first is to taste the original flavour and eat the eel and rice meal as is. Next is to sprinkle the condiments, spring onion and wasabi over the rice and last is to pour the dashi broth all over. Dashi is a Japanese stock or broth, and it is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. It is made from kombu (dried kelp), bonito flakes (dried and smoked skipjack tuna that is shaved into thin flakes) and anchovies/sardine (iriko or niboshi). We tried all the three techniques and I think the last one is the best, will a full tang, sweets and spices all mixed up, producing a really good dish. I loved how the Dashi broth created that savory umami taste, rich in flavours making the entire meal well-seasoned.

We were not able to finish both meals because they’re really huge and overwhelming. I am not a rice person but I was able to finish almost 2/3 of my cup because the rice is perfectly cooked. I also enjoyed putting lots of chili powder on my dish.

Of course, we had to leave room for dessert. We ordered Ohagi (145 pesos).

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Ohagi, a kind of rice cake that is similar to our own suman but with red bean paste inside and azuki red beans outside. It is served with Hot Houjicha, another kind of Japanese green tea roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal. Ohagi is a bit different from the normal Filipino kakanin because the real filling becomes the coating and the rice (a mixture ordinary rice and glutinous rice) is wrapped on the inside.

Overall, my Yayoi experience is good and satisfying. I find the food comforting with most meals topped with rice and savoury meat dishes. They also have lots of other good meals in the menu – from the usual Ton Katsu pork bentos, Sukiyaki Teishoku beef hot pots, Otaku Jyu simmered egg and chicken, Yayoi Gozen which is set filled with teriyaki salmon, pork cutlet and beef sukiyaki to green sides like Tofu Salad and Ontami Salad. They also have Niku Odon, a type of noodle soup that is topped with Sukiyaki beef and a slow-cooked egg. There are just so many filling dishes to choose from. I guess I’m ready to give up my sushi and sashimi cravings for these bigger alternatives.

The food selections are a bit pricey though, ranging from 400 to 800 pesos for a full set meal but I guess it’s because target customers are those who are from the upper middle class section. Well, with the generous serving and the tasty, authentic dishes, I think the price is just enough to compensate the whole experience.

I’m giving it a rating of 8/10. Will I come back? Of course! But hopefully next time, traffic in Megamall is more bearable.

Check out Yayoi Philippines on FB: https://www.facebook.com/yayoiphilippines/?fref=ts and on IG: @yayoiph

20 Comments

  1. natalie

    8th Oct 2016 - 3:28 am

    SO CUTE! LOVE

    NATALIEOFFDUTY.COM

    NatalieOffDuty

  2. Josipa

    8th Oct 2016 - 6:37 am
  3. Maria

    8th Oct 2016 - 8:56 pm

    I regret reading this early in the morning. Why? Because it made me crave for Japanese food! Hahaha! But that’s really new for restaurants in the country. It’s the first time I’ve read that there’s already a digital interface or technology like this. It’s so innovative. I agree with you that the ingredients should be included next time so customers will know what is included in the order. Photos look great btw!

  4. Ferna

    9th Oct 2016 - 11:24 am

    Damn! this really craves me for Japanese food. Since it just opened last September 16 I bet there will be more people visiting the place, I will visit soon. I think I’m going to try Chicken Namban Teishoku as I never tried that kind of Japanese food.

    This is a good review. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Laveena Sengar

    9th Oct 2016 - 1:08 pm

    Just yummy. So many mouth watering dishes and so creative. I love the presentation so much. Food is something I don’t get bored of reading any time. Haha.

  6. Sriparna Saha

    9th Oct 2016 - 4:18 pm

    I haven’t been a Japanese food fan, but everything here looks so delish! I probably haven’t had the right food. The place looks so fine-diney… no wonder you had a nice time!

  7. Nina Sogue

    9th Oct 2016 - 4:44 pm

    I’ve seen this a couple of times whenever I drop by Megamall, but it always had a long waiting line. I’m a fan of Japanese food, so I’m excited to give this a try. This is a very helpful walkthrough – I’m pretty sure I’ll get intimidated by the tablets. haha. But kidding aside, I’d definitely make time to try this one out. Looks promising!

    Nina Sogue | http://www.ninasogue.com

  8. Carola

    9th Oct 2016 - 5:34 pm

    I love the look of this restaurant. It’s great that it’s so modern. I like that, I love Ipad menus. I’ve had that once before in a restaurant here in the Netherlands. (It was a sushi restaurant). And it was so handy! My parents in law really had to get used to it. But in the end everyone enjoyed it like that. The food looks great.

  9. Ma.Me.Mi.Mommy

    10th Oct 2016 - 5:28 am

    Megamall has so many new restaurants that I have yet to try. It’s good to hear about another one here. If only the traffic situation there is not so hard. Ay!

  10. Marge

    10th Oct 2016 - 3:47 pm

    Save for the ramen, I wasn’t really big on Japanese food, until I went to Japan. I found out there’s much to discover about the Japanese cuisine and now I’m a fan. So definitely, I would check out Yayoi. I love the interiors and wow they have a digital menu, sweet!

    I’m curious about Ohagi, never seen that one before. I love red beans so I wanna try it.

  11. Nadine Smith (Scenes From Nadine)

    10th Oct 2016 - 4:30 pm

    Wow! This is something to look forward to when I go to Megamall. I’m a huge fan of Japanese food and I always have Japanese food cravings, so I’m excited to try this, especially since you said they have a little bit of everything so there are plenty of dishes to choose from. It’s so cool that they have iPads. In a lot of restaurants in Japan, customers order from a vending machine instead of having a waiter take their orders.

  12. Airina Desuyo

    11th Oct 2016 - 1:54 am

    That Chicken Namban Teishoku looks really good, and it’s quite affordable too! You take very good photos btw 🙂

    airinaapril.blogspot.com

  13. ROBERT LEE

    11th Oct 2016 - 9:31 am

    Wala akong masabi. Parang minsan ka lang makakita ng restaurant na pwedeng sabihing sulit at the price range that they have. I live so close to Megamall and perhaps one of these I may just drop by. I am often here at Shangri-La Mall and the Japanese restaurants they have here, so far, has not lived up to my expectations at their price offerings. Nice review, Shaira.

  14. Thelittlelai: Beyond limits

    11th Oct 2016 - 10:11 am

    I actually like how they come up with the concept of having a set meal, yes, you’re truly right that we Filipino are not satisfied with just a single viand and one rice. I hope this beanery will soon be expanding here in Cebu. I also love Japanese restaurant.

  15. Jenny

    11th Oct 2016 - 1:30 pm

    Thanks for one very detailed and Great review. One thing that I’ve never seen before in my country is the digital touch-screen menu.. Oh my?! Modern times for sure! 🙂

  16. Orana Velarde

    12th Oct 2016 - 1:15 am

    I love these kinds of japanese restaurants. It’s like the difference between an authentic mexican meal and whatever american’s call “mexican” which isn’t. What I mean is, it’s not like sushi and miso soup and tepanyaki is all that the japanese eat. Real japanese meals in homes are so elaborate and full of different flavors, it’s nice to see a restaurant doing that.

  17. Mommy Anna

    12th Oct 2016 - 3:23 am

    Your food photo makes me hungry.Will definitely try this one my son loves Japanese food. Love the concept of table setting and the Ipad which you can monitor your order and the bill. Less hassle for the customers and for the waiters. Nahihilo lang ako sa megamall sa aki nya.

  18. EG III

    12th Oct 2016 - 7:30 am

    Looks like a really swanky place. I love the modern simplicity of the interior. Although I don’t remember seeing this restaurant, Japan was the first country I lived in outside of my home country and the entire setting really does remind me of a traditional Japanese meal.

  19. Gellie N.

    13th Oct 2016 - 2:13 pm

    Look at that menu, on ipad! Haha coool! Gosh, im craving right now! The price for me is kinda high, though if youll see the serving, i think its very sulit naman. I would love to try their bento set, that looks good. Plus more japanese desserts too! ?

  20. teresa tabayan

    16th Oct 2016 - 12:26 pm

    its a wow japanese resto… so cozy, yrt the food was awesome….. love your review..

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HI! I’M SHAI!


Call me Shai, a wonderwoman wannabe trying to balance different roles in one life. I am an entrepreneur, MA student, blogger, online influencer, fashion stylist, events organizer, host, lecturer, speaker, communication and marketing assassin and a certified bathroom singer.

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