Last Christmas season, I avoided parties. Not really being an anti-social, but I wanted to reserve my time and energy for doing personal things, spending the holidays with the family and avoiding the stress of traffic and overspending. Keeping things simple made me happy that way. There were only selected occasions that I confirmed my attendance with, and those were special blogging events, reunions with family and very close friends.
One of the socials that I particularly enjoyed and deemed unforgettable was when I had a reunion with my elementary friends in Colegio de Sta. Rosa (CSR). When one of our dear friends Lorraine came home from Australia to celebrate Christmas, we quickly arranged a meet-up in BGC and I tell you, that was one of the unplanned and spontaneous dates we’ve had in a while because we are all busy with our schedules.
After strolling around BGC and chitchat over coffee, we looked for a restaurant to eat dinner. Since most restaurants in BGC are fully-booked on a Sunday, we then decided to go to a newly-opened mall, One Bonifacio Highstreet (the mall located at the far end of High Street Central, near the fountain). Upon seeing that Yayoi Teishoku Restaurant had seats readily available for our group, we all agreed to settle here finally.
Yayoi takes a new approach to one of the famous Japanese cuisines, Teishoku. Teishoku is popularly known in Japan as the classic set meal that includes rice, main dish, vegetables, and soup. Teishoku dining is based on the ichiju-issai (or “one soup, one side”).
Aside from Teishoku, Yayoi offers an impressive range of Japanese food from starters, rice meals, a la carte dishes, drinks and desserts. At the moment, there are three branches in the Philippines: one in BGC, SM Megamall, and SM Mall of Asia. We have heard that the other branches are really performing well based on the average number of customers dining there daily.
Yayoi integrates technology into their ordering system by installing iPads in every dining table where customers can select and view the status of their orders. The orders go directly to their kitchen and you can pay the bill at the end of the dinner.
The traditional menu is still available for the not-so-tech-savvy customers. If you want the full description of the food, I suggest you ask for the printed menu. The tablet only displays the photo, name, and price of the food. However, it becomes convenient as it saves you the waiting time for the servers to take your orders.
If you need assistance with your orders or questions about the dish, feel free to call the staff and they’d be willing to guide you.
Yayoi has a decent and sleek ambiance. It blends with the sophisticated vibe of the mall. It typifies a legit casual Japanese restaurant with its modern interiors, wooden accents, warm lights, and classy Japanese tableware.
Photo from Yayoi IG
My friends and I ordered appetizers, rice meals and Teishoku. With the variety in Yayoi’s menu, it’s not hard to choose your preference despite the unfamiliar names.
Kas and Hazel had Salmon Temari Sushi (Php 295) and Spicy Salmon Roll (Php 395). The difference between the two aside from the spicy flavor is the additional fillings in the latter. Kas liked her plain Salmon roll light and easy, and fresh too. Hazel liked the flavorful stuff inside the Maki, like she did with the Tempura flakes that added texture to the roll.
I had the Tempura Teishoku, (Php 395). It was a too heavy meal that I easily got tired of the Tempura and breaded vegetables. Nakakaumay. The veggies overpowered the shrimps which were only two pieces. I wasn’t able to finish the entire thing, but I loved the Potato salad and Miso soup. I should have ordered the Tempura a la carte instead.
Kit and Lorraine ordered Oyako Jyu (Chicken and egg simmered with special sauce and served with rice), Php 325.
Kit, who has a penchant for Japanese culture and language, finds this rendition as authentic. The egg was not overcooked but fluffy the way it should be, plus the sauce that renders sweet notes was not overwhelming to the palate.
There is no direct translation for Jyu that relates to food, but based on the Kanji text (yes she is that into studying the language) it means nest of boxes or stacked boxes. So to sum it up, Jyu is Japanese food or Japanese set meal placed in a box. (Comments and corrections are welcome below, hehe.)
Liz had the Wafu Katsu Jyu (Php 395) or deep-fried pork loin simmered in sauce and eggs, placed over rice. The Katsu was a filling meal, she said.
Bianca satisfied her appetite with the Mix Toji Teishoku (Php 475) which was a good combo of shrimp, beef gyudon, and breaded pork loin. It was generally okay, she said. The Tonkotsu was notably tender and the beef was not too soggy.
She also like the Tamago Yaki (Php 150) which was not too sweet compared to other Japanese restaurants.
Lastly, Mavic had the Yakiniku Jyu (Php 395) or tender slices of beef cooked in Japanese style sauce and served with rice. She finds it too sweet for her liking but maybe others who appreciate sweetened dishes others may tell otherwise. Yakiniku Jyu, Php 395
I’ve seen this caption every year in Instagram: Best of (insert year). I didn’t join the bandwagon and posted my entry in social media, but I had a short glimpse of it and it was mostly food and travel posts as usual.
It may not be the best year for me, but there’s still something “BEST” to describe about it, whether achievements or failures because life is colorful that way. The best lessons come even from the ugliest of experiences, and that makes life even more meaningful to celebrate each day.
Here are the highlights of my 2018:
I upgraded my blog from a free domain to personalized one, https://diamondintheroughblog.com. Moving to my own domain improved my branding and more added features became convenient for my blogging. At the first half of the year, I became selective of the events I attended but still collaborated with more brands that widened my circle.
Not only did I meet new friends in blogging, I learned a lot from people of different walks of life and industries. Engaging in the blog posts of other fellow bloggers, I enjoyed gaining new insights from their own personal experiences as well.
I could say I ventured into a higher level of engagement this year with my blog posts: more followers, more organic reaches, more likes, shares and comments — so thanks readers for your support!
I shared in 2017 that I was devastated by the loss of my Nikon D3300. Early last year, I purchased a new mirrorless camera, Fujifilm XA3. I love that it is very handy and easy to use both for personal and blogging purposes.
Last year, I had the opportunity to travel to different provinces in the country for leisure and work but the best trip of them all is BATANES — my ultimate dream destination.
Also, I will never forget the first-time adventures for me: the sand dunes experience in Ilocos, and also my first surfing in Baler.
Aside from attending events, I participated in a couple of workshops to hone my skills related to blogging. I attended some seminars hosted by Get Craft such as: Building your Creative Brand and the Challenges you will Face, Conquering your Creative Block, and Who’s Better at Content: Foodies or Food Experts? By the way, these seminars are all free! I guess I was just lucky to be regularly invited after my first registration with them.
Hooray! I’m about to finish the term of an insurance plan by February. In addition to that, my other insurance policy is still on going. Three more years to go, and I’m still planning to invest more because these premiums wouldn’t suffice for my retirement. But of course, one at a time.
The property that my sister and I bought was also turned over to us last November but still more steps and processes have to be made before we move in. I will share this blessing to you guys once it is 100% finished.
Last year was a difficult one for me. Pastor Primo Tabanda, my beloved Pastor since I was 14 years old passed away last November. It was very sad since I already considered him as my second father. Church every Sunday and all occasions would never be the same without him. I had a few regrets since we weren’t as close as before and it dawned on me that our life is really short, the Lord can take it away from us at any moment. It made me reflect about Pastor Tabanda’s teachings and I will be forever grateful he became my Pastor. He taught us a lot about spiritual maturity and that can never be replaced with any material thing.
I also had two failed job applications last year. It was a bit frustrating, yes — but I realized that delays and denials can just be instruments to redirect you to another path.
I’ve also pondered about my decreased work incentives due to a single mistake which caused to me to make a big adjustment in handling my finances. After all, we gain, we lose. Money is just an instrument but of course, it also had a big impact on me.
Having said that, here are my goals for this year:
Traveling is my passion but this year, I hope to minimize my travels to save up for bigger investments. After all, I’ve already traveled to different places to even look for more. This year, I only have one international trip and an out-of-town wedding of a friend to look forward to and I could settle for that except if it is work-related.
I also want to aim on reducing unnecessary spending on not so important stuff (clothes, shoes, eating out) so I can focus on more long-term purchases.
This one has been an overused line but I would like to be serious on this. Less time on social media means doing more productive stuff. Of course, for updating blog posts and sharing them on my FB and Instagram, I would still go online from time to time but not the extent of staying logged- in on Facebook to get updated of the gossips, what’s hot and what’s not.
I’ve always committed myself to writing quality blog posts, though lengthy. This year, I will continue on that commitment, but this time, on a more frequent basis. Hope I can find a regular cycle of posting regardless of having creativity block.
I guess I have to stop there for now. I will keep my goals for God this year to myself in the meantime, because the commitment is between Him and me and I don’t want to be a stumbling block to other people. 😀
I’m thankful to our Lord God for blessing me with good health, career opportunities, harmonious family and Church family.
To all my readers, thank you for your avid support. To God be the glory forever.
Samgyupsal, undeniably, is among the hottest food trends today. We all love the idea of unlimited Korean food, shabu shabu, and grilled meat combined in one dining experience. However, the popularity of this food craze is often tied with one dilemma: enduring the long lines.
Thankfully, there is a newly-opened Samgyupsal restaurant in Venice Grand Canal Mall that is not yet joining the hyped long queues — All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu! All4U has become one of my favorite Korean restaus after trying its branch in Century Mall, Makati.
All4U was the venue for our early team Christmas party last November.
All4U McKinley accepts reservations up to 6 PM only. After that time, customers have to walk-in. Our team dinner was set at 7 PM. Luckily, the place wasn’t filled up before that so we were able to reserve seats quickly even without the formal phone reservation.
We took advantage of this time that the restaurant is not yet as swamped as the other branches. I won’t be surprised if it will be crowded in the next months or so that reservations will no longer be accepted such as the one in Century Mall.
The rate per person is Php 599 and is inclusive of unlimited meat and seafood (shrimps) for grilling, vegetables, Banchan (Korean sides), shabu shabu, rice, bottomless iced tea, and Korean ice cream.
The exciting part about Samgyupsal is grilling the meat yourself. In All4u, they have unlimited shrimps, chicken breast, beef brisket, and pork belly. These sets are served with two sauces, soy sauce and hot sauce (not sure if that was Sriracha) and sesame oil which you can use as marinades for the meat before grilling.
I liked that the shrimps are fresh and are not stale or bilasa. One indication is that the head of the shrimp is not easily detached from the body. The pork, chicken, and beef, are cut thin into thin proportions that makes it easier to cook in a short time. If you are having a hard time to adjust the temperature of the induction cooker, you can ask the servers to assist you. The grill time is about 2 to 3 minutes, or depending on how do you like your meat to be well-done.
As usual, my favorite grilled selections are the shrimps and beef brisket. I didn’t eat much pork, but my teammates went crazy over it. We wrapped the grilled meat in fresh lettuce, dipped it in soy sauce and oil, and ate it with our bare hands. It was such a festive mess!
I was the only one in our team who had the most servings of shrimps — you know I love seafood! I either wrapped it in greens or ate it with rice. I didn’t care if my hands got dirty peeling those shrimps. Yes, I was also among the few people in our team who ordered rice. Sarap sa kanin e!!
You have three options for the shabu shabu broth: Organic soup, Kimchi soup, and Bulgogi soup. The organic soup was a bit bland and the Bulgogi soup was more flavorful. You will also be given a pack of Korean noodles and you have the option to include the chili powder or not. My teammates and I skipped it and just dropped the noodles in Bulgogi broth with vegetables. We also added fish cake in it.
Including the meat in the shabu shabu would also work, but for me I prefer to eat it separately and enjoy solely flavor of the grilled meat.
Be wary of the cooking time, as overcooking the hotpot will make the noodles too soggy.
Banchan is a collective name for small side dishes, a popular item in the Korean cuisine. All4U has a few varieties of sides, such as lettuce, kimchi, Dilis (anchovies), fish cakes, and picked radish. I have to commend the size and freshness of the lettuce, which seemed to be handpicked carefully. Other Korean restaurants would just serve any type of lettuce even if it is not that fresh or too small in size.
While waiting for the meat to be cooked, you can start off munching these Korean sides. Among these, I liked the fish cakes. You can eat it on its own or like I said earlier, include it in the noodles.
I’d have to say that the waiters are attentive, always smiling, and courteous. In a typical restaurant setting where the place is filled up with customers, it is common to see frowning servers. But here in All4U McKinley, they are all wearing smiles on their faces. It is understandable that the service is a bit delayed due to different customer demands, but if you make a gentle follow-up, they’d be quick to attend to your needs. When we requested the replacement of a melted ice cream, they immediately exchanged it for a frozen one.
My teammates and I had an enjoyable time at All4U. It was messy yes, but fun! The grilling experience, mix-matching the sauces, and bingeing on unlimited side dishes and grilled Samgyupsal became an instant team bonding activity.
For the price of Php 599, I should say it is definitely worth it.
All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu
Second Floor, Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Taguig City
Opening hours: 11 am to 11 PM daily
Facebook: All4U Unlimited Grill and Shabu Shabu
|scorpio1987Sajal on Authentic, Affordable Ramen an…|
|scorpio1987Sajal on All4U Unlimited Grill and Shab…|
|scorpio1987Sajal on Authentic, Affordable Ramen an…|
|Danica Airelle Maras… on Authentic, Affordable Ramen an…|
|Danica Airelle Maras… on All4U Unlimited Grill and Shab…|
Hi! I'm Danica, a corporate junkie in one of the global firms in Taguig. Writing, food and travel are my passions. This blog is my personal space to express myself and the things I am passionate about: echoing my insights and musings in life, whether about a new restaurant on the block or a profound trip I had. Join me as I continue discover God's awesomeness in diverse life experiences, places, and people. Thank you!
All Rights Reserved © 2018 Danica Marasigan
Diamond in the Rough