Maginhawa Street in Quezon City is strikingly a foodie’s dream destination, a “food media frenzy location,” so to speak. There are restaurants on both sides of the street, and a number of them are crowded with people even at quiet times of the day. When I learned that my sister’s barkada was meeting up to hang out in Maginhawa on a weekend, I felt excited to go ahead and invited myself to join them. 🙂 I know I’d be welcome, especially since I mostly play the role of taking their pictures—aside from food. The plan was to stay at Snacks and Ladders, but because the board-game cafe opens a little later at 3:00PM, we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant just right across it: Katsu Cafe.
Review of Katsu Cafe (Maginhawa Street, Quezon City)
Katsu Cafe in Maginhawa is casual and cozy, the kind of place you walk into and immediately think to yourself, “I can definitely spend hours here.” The problem? It doesn’t have free Wi-Fi connection, but that’s okay as long as you have mobile data or carry pocket Wi-Fi yourself. Filled with a hip but unpretentious crowd, this restaurant has simple but decent zen interior. The attention to detail is also quite good, from the wood wall panels to the subtle modern industrial design including the quirky light fixtures.
Menu was handed out as soon as we entered. We also got cold water upon seating. Service was fast and efficient with only a few staff running the buzzy place. Tables can be merged for larger groups of friends or family eating together. Orders arrived rather quick as well, so there’s nothing to complain about.
My sister and I shared an order of Beef Curry Rice (PhP 275) served with miso soup and a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen (PhP 245). The Beef Curry lacked the little sweetness and assertiveness of spice I find in most Japanese curry rice. Texture of the sauce was thick and the taste of curry was fairly demonstrated. This rendition is perhaps for those who enjoy eating curry without it being lively, hot and spicy.
Made with cloudy white pork bone broth, the Tonkotsu Ramen was not as rich and creamy as expected. Umami was present but the ramen still lacked a certain depth of flavor. In the broth are thin slices of tender pork and slightly jagged noodles that aren’t of stellar quality. The only thing I liked was the soft egg that had almost runny yolk on the inside.
Price for Value:
Katsu Cafe may be great in serving katsu, but these two dishes we tried were nothing short of average. On the day we visited, pork katsu was not available since they ran out of pork in their inventory. Based on the food alone, I think the prices are higher than the perceived value. There are more impressive Japanese restaurants that serve similar items and deliver solid food tastes across the board. Welcoming ambiance and good service, on the other hand, are enough good reasons to dine in this cash-only joint.
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