Yurakuen is the Japanese restaurant of Manila Diamond Hotel, its been dishing out its traditional Japanese fare crafted by Chef Junichi Sekiyama since 1993. Aside from their excellent food, Yurakuen has stunning interiors highlighted by the lighted glass three story cherry blossom tree that is right smack in the center of the main dining hall, surrounded by lush water features as well as a view of Manila Bay. I was invited to try out their currently running Teppanyaki Eat All You Can, available every lunch and dinner for P1970++. Teppanyaki is a Japanese form of cooking that uses a griddle to cook food started in Japan in 1945 by Japanese restaurant chain, Misono.
Our group settled down in one of the glass encased teppanyaki rooms, seated on glass encrusted high back chairs looking out to Manila Bay. A trio of appetizers was served as the prepared the ingredients for the meal.
Assorted seafood and meat were enticing delivered to the chef prep area. The plates included salmon, shrimps, lobster, rib eye and even lamb. I’ve eaten many times before at Yurakuen but have never seen lamb before. A trio of sauces was also laid on our tables, each sauce was a compliment to either meat, vegetables and seafood.
Unlimited Kirin beer as well as sodas and juices are also part of the promo. This is not my beer since I don’t drink alcohol. I just borrowed it from Spanky.
While the raw ingredients came out plate by plate, we were served a sampler sushi plate, unlimited sushi is also part of the Teppanyaki eat all you can promo. You can order from a number of choices which will then be made as you order, a far cry from the buffet spreads where everything is laid out.
Our chef for that night was Chef Bibong, a masterful performer who completed his training at Yurakuen in 15 days, much faster than the almost 2 months training before they got the flair and techniques. He also shared with us that most Japanese diners eschew the show associated withe teppanyaki cooking than most locals and other foreigners prefer.
We started off with some vegetables like asparagus, shimeji mushrooms and konyaku (konjac vegetable jelly loved for its texture).
Here’s Chef Bibong putting on the show, flaming the spiny lobsters. The spiny lobsters are actually not part of the regular teppanyaki eat all you can menu but are available for an add on of P500 each, together with some other more expensive items like US Wagyu. Take note that the additional P500 does not mean only 1 order of the lobster, it is unlimited already.
Since only the lobster tails were cooked on the teppanyaki table, the head and other parts of the lobster were sent to the kitchen and turned into Lobster miso soup. The miso soup is given a big kick of flavor from the lobster head, I’ve actually had clam miso soups but this was the first time to try it with lobster, regualr miso soup will never be able to compare anymore.
Large fresh scallops, crisp squid and large imported oysters, rolled in tempura batter before being put on the iron plate.
On to the meatier side of things, we had rib eye and tenderloin. I preferred the rib eye though since I felt the tenderloin’s tender meat was a negative here as it did not have the meaty bite I liked.
Who would have though lamb chops would be the star of the night, I actually was a little surprised seeing it available. So I paid extra attention as Chef Bibong put the lamb through its paces, carefully removing the bones and setting them aside while the meat was cut up into smaller pieces. On the side, I observed that a bit of butter was being melted then soy was added, then mint sauce as the surprise ingredient. The combined sauce is then poured over the meat. Wow, it was the best lamb I’ve ever had, minty sweetness mixed with saltiness and the butter taste. I also enjoyed cleaning off the little bone to finish off the meal.
This is the Philippines, so rice, in this case Japanese mixed fried rice, will always be present. Chef Bibong shows a bit of his romantic side, shaping the fried rice into a nice big fragrant heart.
Finally, for dessert Chestnut ice cream topped with Adzuki red bean was served to help wash the flavor away. There are also other dessert options included with the meal like fruits and pudding.
Yurakuen’s Teppanyaki Eat All You Can is such a good deal, don’t let the price tag dissuade you. They have top notch ingredients cooked by master chefs with a flair, all of it in front of you. An added bonus is never have to stand up and get your food like the usual buffet spreads. I loved it so much I’ve already been back with Irene and some other friends for more of the lamb.
YurakuenDiamond Hotel Philippines
Roxas Boulevard. cor Dr. J Quintos St.