Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ukiyo Restaurant

I've read from reviews that Ukiyo Restaurant in Alphaland Southgate is authentic, so I was intrigued to taste the food they serve here. From what I've read, the chef of the restaurant, Masakado Matsumura-san, hails from Nagoya, so this pretty much addresses the question of authenticity. But "how authentic" is the real question.

Ukiyo reminded me of the mid-range to high-end restaurants in the malls around Shinjuku, Tokyo. The layout of the dining area and the design of the exterior were similar to those found in Tokyo's metropolitan district. 

Everything inside looks nice and modern, too. Probably, the only thing missing to complete the Japanese feel of the restaurant are the realistic plastic food displays outside with the price tags.

Now, let's see how authentic the food is.

House Tea (Complimentary)

Before we made our orders, we were each served a cup of Japanese tea, which we loved.Their house tea was pleasant and non-offensive. Thank God it's not the type with boiled Nori as I absolutely hate that variant.

Ukiyo Tebasaki Karaage (P 220.00)

We first tried their Ukiyo Tebasaki Karaage (Nagoya style chicken wings). These wings were very tasty and had a unique and interesting flavor. It's hard to eat this with chopsticks though as the meat isn't really the tenderest thing on earth. But if you're not too conscious about your table manners, I'm sure you'd enjoy just eating them with your fingers. 

Uni Isobe Age (P 250.00)

Their Uni Isobe Age (Sea Urchin Tempura) was also delicious! Sea urchin isn't really a safe dish for everyone though as it's a hate-or-love kind of seafood, but this one's a must try for the more experimental lot. It's crispy inside out and the flavor of the urchin was exquisite.

California Maki (P 240.00)

My friend's not very comfortable eating sushi, so we just ordered some California Maki. The dish was nicely presented, and the rolls were huge. My friend gobbled most of them up before I could even take a decent photo.

Katsudon (P 380.00)

Everything seemed fine with the appetizers and all, and we were already enjoying our meal so much, until the Katsudon arrived.

One basic problem we had with the rice bowls was that we were already nearly full when they were served. We should not have ordered a rice dish at all as we both knew that we wouldn't be able to eat rice after demolishing all the appetizers on the table and wiping out those huge California Maki rolls.

To be fair though, the Katsudon tasted fine, but the meat wasn't tender. The Tonkatsu chops were very hard to eat because they were too chewy. I've tried better and surprisingly cheaper ones from fast food outlets and small restaurants in Tokyo. 

Kitayama Beef Gyudon (P 460.00)

I don't know what's really special about this Beef Gyudon and why it's so expensive, but the quality of this dish was not even close to fast food level in Japan. Yes, the meat was tender and all, but I've tasted better rice bowls like this in Yoshinoya or Sukiya for less than half of this price. This dish was way too overpriced for one that tastes like local beef steak. My recommendation is to avoid this dish, I'm afraid.

We passed on dessert as we were already too full by the time we finished all the appetizers. We weren't even able to finish the rice meals. 

Even though Ukiyo's dining area looked really authentic and most of their dishes were good,  there are just some dishes that are better than others, and some that should not even be in the menu. It would be best to do some research first to avoid bad orders. 

Ambiance - 5/5
Food - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Value - 3/5
TOTAL - 4/5

Ukiyo Restaurant
(02) 310 3657
6th Floor, Alphaland Southgate Tower
2258 Chino Roces (Pasong Tamo) cor. EDSA, Makati City


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