Sushi-Okonomiyaki Attack at Azabu

My brother and I were looking for good places to eat in Cebu. Since eating is my favorite hobby, we do that quite often these days.

It’s Sunday and we were initially planning on trying out the French restaurant, Le.  Unfortunately, the restaurant was closed on Sundays, so we had to come up with a new place to eat…and fast! Our stomachs were desperately pleading for food. Still, we refused to go eat at the restaurants or fastfoods we’ve already been to.

Hence, we rely on TripAdvisor for suggestions.

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TripAdvisor immediately listed Azabu as the #1 restaurant to go to in Cebu. Clearly, the 3 dollar sign meant it was expensive. Usually, that would mean discounting it as a choice.

But we were hungry and rationality jumps out the window when that happens. Plus, these are the photos on TripAdvisor…

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I mean, if that’s how good the restaurant is, then maybe we should give it a shot. We were feeling impulsive and hungry (not necessarily a good combination), so we went.

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The restaurant has a classily elegant interior design. It had cute sailboats on its sushi bar and displayed cherry blossom petals under a sakura canvass.

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The whole theme of the restaurant is very elegant and modern. My brother and I definitely knew we were going in a high-end restaurant, so we prepped up our wallets before charging. After all, if we’re gonna fill our desperately hungry stomachs, we might just as well do it in style.

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When we  got to our seats, the waitress showed us the menu then asked us if it was our first time and, if it was, how we found out about the restaurant. Evidently, the restaurant is doing a survey on their marketing and I told her we found out about it on TripAdvisor.

My brother decided on the meals. We initially planned on sharing a bento meal but the bento costs around P150 to P550 (depending on which meals are featured) and they only serve one persob. So we opted for the much cheaper, yet good for two, okonomiyaki. Since my brother couldn’t live without rice, he also ordered a mini bowl of Japanese Plain Rice which cost P45.

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The Squid Okonomiyaki costs P270 and it’s good enough for two people.

The okonomiyaki is basically a Japanese stir-fried pancake that usually consists of vegetables and a standard meat. Azabu offers both pork and squid okonomiyaki. We chose squid because, while pork sounded good, I was really curious about the taste of a squid okonomiyaki.

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Before eating okonomiyaki, a few toppings have to be added. The types of toppings would vary, but generally the standard would be a mixture of soy sauce (shoyu), fish flakes, and mayonnaise. Okonomiyaki would taste good on its own, but these toppings make the okonomiyaki taste soooo much better.

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The finished okonomiyaki looks like a messy pizza and, essentially, it kind of is. But it’s part of what makes the dish a feast in itself.

Azabu’s take on the okonomiyaki is delicious and heavy. My brother and I are heavy eaters but the okonomiyaki almost “defeated” us! Seriously, it doesn’t look as big as the other okonomiyakis I have tasted, but damn it was a heavy meal…and this is from a girl who could finish a pizza and half a roasted chicken all on her own. My brother’s no gimp on the eating challenge either, so getting us full is a challenge Azabu’s okonomiyaki has managed to accomplish quite well.

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Of course, the okonomiyaki isn’t the only reason we had full stomachs.

We also ordered Salmon Maki because, well, eating at a Japanese restaurant just wouldn’t feel right without a good set of maki rolls or sushi on the side.

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Unfortunately, I’m a bit disappointed we chose to order the salmon maki rolls instead of fresh salmon slices. While Azabu’s maki rolls taste fresh and are definitely exquisite, I was definitely expecting more from a set of rolls which cost P180 for 6 pieces. Their version of the Salmon maki is a tad too small for my taste. Also, the nori sheets wrapping the rolls look a bit dry.

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This would have been fine if we haven’t eaten at other Japanese restaurants and tasted bigger and better maki rolls. It’s a shame because considering Azabu is a high-end restaurant,  we’re naturally expecting a more special (or at least, better presentation and taste) for their version of the salmon maki.

The maki came with complementary fresh green tea that could be refilled whenever the cup is empty.

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The tea is for free so it was such a shame that I already ordered a can of Coke Zero which costs P50 before I knew of the complementary drink. Had I known, I would have skipped ordering a drink altogether. My brother has never been a fan of green tea (or tea, in general), so he naturally ordered a can of Del Monte’s Four Seasons juice drink which costs P60 on its own. Hear that? That’s the sound of the holes burning through our wallets. Yep, we’re losing big money with our consent and indiscretion.

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Of course, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. We did start with expensive food, might as well pair it up with overpriced drinks too. Teehee!

Fortunately, all is not in vain. The both of us also received a complementary side dish: three pieces of teppanyaki each. Of course, it hardly counts as a side dish since the serving is quite pitiful. T_T

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Still, on the positive, the teppanyaki tasted good and we also received a complementary desert – the coffee jelly – which, sadly, I failed to take a picture of. For what it’s worth though, the coffee jelly isn’t that impressive in taste and it’s also as tiny as the complementary teppanyaki.

Total Expenses:
Salmon Maki – P180
Squid Okonomiyaki – P270
Coke Zero – P50
Four Seasons Juice – P60
Japanese Plain Rice – P45
VAT (Value Added Tax – evil bastards) – P72.60
TOTAL: P677.60 (There goes our budget…lol)

Food: 6/10
The food is definitely better than average, but we’ve tasted better versions of the maki for around the same price range or lower. The okonomiyaki is definitely a heavy meal but it could be bigger. The side dishes could hardly be considered side dishes, and that’s a crying shame considering this is a high-end restaurant yet several restaurants at a cheaper price range offer more side dishes and definitely more portions in each. Somehow, it feels that the the food itself isn’t the restaurant’s main highlight – although there is no doubt that the food is great.

Ambiance: 8/10
There is no doubt that the restaurant’s theme and ambiance is excellent. Anyone who enters will definitely know and feel that he or she is eating at a very high-class restaurant. The interior design is classy and the artistry is exquisite. I love the cherry blossom installation and the sailboat over the sushi bar. As such, I honestly feel that the high cost of the food isn’t exactly because of the food itself but because of the interior design. The food is amazing but not as outstanding as the restaurant’s design.

Would I return to eat here again?
Yes. But only to show friends or family how it’s like to eat here. I wouldn’t necessarily return to eat here on my own. It’s a great experience in itself, but it’s too expensive to go in alone or with just one friend/family member – no matter how tempting it is to try the rest of their meals.

Overall Rating: 7/10

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