Aside from Chinese food, Japanese food is also my favorite. I appreciate the subtlety and complexity of its flavors very much. Sadly, I don’t have the budget to fly to Japan to eat the best Japanese food whenever I feel like it—at least not until a lottery winner would freely donate some % of the cash prize to me. 😛 So for now, Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar トン茶屋 at The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City will do. And it does so pretty well!
Last Sunday during lunch, we were told that stepping into Tonchaya (or Ton’s Kitchen, when translated to English) is about as close as entering an izakaya in Japan. Its design and arrangement are inspired by traditional Japanese drinking establishments where everyone enjoys food and drinks.
When asked about Tonchaya’s specialty, various Japanese food came as reply. Their menu is huge and it includes teishoku sets, bento meals, ramen, sushi, curry rice, teppan, agemono, yakimono, etc. With that much to choose from, I thought it will be inevitable that dish selections here can be hit or miss. Let’s see how it fared on the taste test.
Review of Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar トン茶屋 (The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City)
The festive red walls must have said it all. Tonchaya’s ambiance is stimulating and awakening. It isn’t razzle-dazzle but it can be buzzy at peak dining hours of the day. The interior design was tastefully made and the setting looked modern, with touches of Japanese-inspired arts and paintings displayed throughout. I especially liked the accented brick wall with shelves of wine bottles that make the place even more attractive.
We were warmly welcomed and served by Tonchaya’s polite and courteous service crew. The staff knew what to recommend and how it’s best to introduce dishes with fervor.
Topped with fresh salmon slices and crisp toasts with wasabi dressing, Tonchaya’s Cruncy Salmon Salad (PhP 295) was pretty hard to go wrong. The salad gave quality fresh lettuce and a dash of seafood sweetness that bounced in each mouthful.
One bite into Tonchaya’s Special Okonomiyaki (PhP 320) got us all nodding with satisfaction. Tagged as Japanese pizza with pork and shrimp with cabbage and eggs, the okonomiyaki had just enough mayonnaise to make it sweet and creamy. We also loved the generous serving of bonito flakes for that added savoriness.
Craving for some hot soup to go with your meal? The Spicy Seafood Ramen (PhP 380), which has a base of spicy soup stock with mixed seafood, is a good choice. I liked that all kinds of seafood in the ramen were fresh and tender with a light lingering taste. The broth was spicy but not to the level that makes you sweat.
If you prefer “rich, salty and porky” and can’t take the heat, a bowl of the Shoyu Chashu Ramen (PhP 350) would do you good. It consisted of soy-based soup stock with slow-cooked tender chashu slices, onsen egg and vegetables. First mouthful got me cringing at the saltiness, but for ramen lovers, this might be a safe bet.
For me, a Japanese meal won’t feel complete without sushi. That’s why having been served with the Spicy Salmon Maki (PhP 280) made my day. Filled with salmon and sprinkled with mayo, it had the perfect level of spiciness and crispiness brought in by the crumbs in between. Yummy! 🙂
Next, we had Beef Teppan (PhP 395) cooked with juicy US beef cubes marinated in teppan sauce and vegetables on the side. Thinly sliced and nicely done, the beef was beautifully tender. It’s great that it didn’t have fatty pieces but lean meat all the way.
Light golden brown in color, another winner was the Ebi Fry (PhP 275, 3 pieces). The shrimp was soft yet it was complimented well with the fried breading on the outside. The tempura was also remarkably greaseless, good to be eaten with rice.
Speaking of rice…the Seafood Gomoku Chahan (PhP 295) came in the right time. It’s Japanese-style stir fried rice with seafood, egg, and mixed vegetables. This chahan seemed somewhat Chinese soy rice, as both has a distinct flavor that’s not strong but still good with a faint sweetness to it.
Lastly, for desserts, we had the Chocolate, Coconut and Strawberry Mochi with Grenadine Sauce. Humble in appearance, the mochi balls were superb! They were delightfully soft and chewy like marshmallows served cold with creamy and silky ice cream fillings taking the center stage within. I want more of these, please! 🙂
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Because this restaurant sits in The Fort Strip in BGC, my initial assumption was that prices of food are supremely high and possibly will burn a small hole in the pocket. But no, prices, considering the quality and taste of food, excellent service and comfortable seating, are fair. As always, it’s wise to bring a larger company when deciding to dine here so you can try more food and split up the bill as much as possible. 🙂
Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen and Bar will be expanding to more locations soon. There’s no word yet on where exactly the upcoming branches will be placed but immediate plans revealed include bringing its delectable Japanese dishes to the doorsteps of its clientele via a delivery service and catering service for corporate banquets. Wherever they’d be, I’m sure that Tonchaya restaurant branches can be regarded as places where people can decently “eat, drink and have a good time”—just like in a true izakaya.