Restaurant Review: Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar at The Fort Strip

I once again got an invite from Aldous for yet another food-tasting event that he organized for bloggers. I was supposed to be a part of the first batch of bloggers to sample the food at Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar at The Fort Strip in Bonifacio Global City, but I fell ill on the scheduled date. I felt really bad because the restaurant is just a few cartwheels away from where I work. But luck was on my side when Aldous told me that he organized another one. I love Japanese cuisine that’s why I didn’t let it pass the second time around even if it fell on a Sunday.

I initially thought that Tonchaya is a Japanese word. I was knocking my head in shame when I realized that it’s not. Haha. Our host told us that “chaya” means kitchen in Japanese, and that Ton is one of the owner’s son. So literally, Tonchaya means Ton’s kitchen. Tonchaya was initially a fastfood outlet in Ortigas which started operations in 2012. On the same year, Tonchaya opened two more outlets at Mercato Centrale and at the parking lot of Makati Medical Center. Because of its successful first year of operation, the owner decided to put up Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar in April 2013.

Ok, I’ll stop boring you with history. Now, let’s talk about the food!

DSC_2491 Okonomiyaki PHP320-375

Our lunch feast started with Okonomiyaki. Known as the Japanese pancake, this savory appetizer was indeed the perfect way to jumpstart our meal. The batter is simply tasty, and the filling is packed with so much flavor. I think I ate at least three slices of this! :p

I felt my eyes widened, and I could swear that I almost drooled when the Crunchy Salmon Salad was served to us. Lying on a bed of fresh lettuce are slices of salmon sitting on crisp toasts. I used to be really scared in eating raw food, but my younger brother introduced me to the art of eating sashimi. And since then, I could not stop the addiction! The freshness of the salmon was very evident. It instantly melts as it hits my mouth. The melts-in-your-mouth salmon goes perfectly well with the crispiness of the fried wanton wrapper (Sorry, I’m not sure about it, but it does sure look like it.) which was generously scattered in the salad. The contrast of texture created an unstoppable party in my mouth!

DSC_2497 Crunchy Salmon Salad PHP295

I once heard from Kris Aquino in one of the episodes of KrisTV that the best restaurants in Japan are those with limited menu. This is because they serve their specialties. So it’s either the place is a ramen house or a sushi house. If you see ramen, tonkatsu, sushi and any other Japanese-sounding dishes in the menu, then odds are the place is just so-so. Don’t get mad at me, I just heard it from Kris. Haha! Anyway, when I saw the ramen being served to us, I got a bit hesitant because of what Kris told me (feeling close, haha). Plus, my husband and I recently got hooked to eating ramen, so my palates became hard to please. Good thing Tonchaya’s Spicy Seafood Ramen didn’t disappoint.

DSC_2507 Spicy Seafood Ramen

I remember the time when I went to a ramen house and failed to finish my bowl of spicy ramen. Because my conscience told me that it’s a mortal sin not to finish a meal, I asked the waiter to give me additional plain broth because the soup was too spicy for me. My tolerance for spicy food is really, really, really high so this was news to me. The waiter told me that they could not do it as per the restaurant’s SOP. I literally begged and gave him my most kawawa look before he gave me a cup of soup. But if you get this Spicy Seafood Ramen in Tonchaya, there would be no need for you to beg and look like a kawawa because the spiciness level is very tolerable. I fell in love with the rich flavors of the broth. And it won’t be called Spicy Seafood Ramen without the seafood. The generous serving of seafood was indeed impressive. Parang buong dagat nasa ramen! :p

This Salmon Maki was not only an eye candy, it was a delightful gastronomic treat as well. There’s a generous amount of salmon bits, both in the filling and the toppings. I totally forgot to take note of the price. But if I remember it correctly, this costs less than PHP300.

DSC_2510 Salmon Maki

With a grand entrance to our table, this sizzling plate of beef teppanyaki totally stole the spotlight. Chunks of beef cubes were marinated in their special teppan sauce and then served with mixed vegetables. I really loved the texture of the beef. It’s cooked to perfection giving the beef the melts-in-your-mouth tenderness. And the sauce! Oh my! I saw someone from our group wiping the plate with a spoon just to savor the sauce until its last drop!

DSC_2521 Beef Teppanyaki PHP395

I was trying to take pleasure in all of the dishes so that made me forget to eat rice. I was totally blinded by all the mouthwatering dishes in front of me. I sampled the Gomoku Chahan, and I was pleasantly surprised. First, can you actually resist the vibrant colors on this bowl? And second, have you noticed the very generous serving of squid and shrimps? Kailangan mo pa ba ng ulam???

DSC_2526 Gomoku Chahan PHP295

Ebi Tempura is probably one of the staple dishes of any Japanese restaurant. What I distinctly like about Tonchaya’s tempura is the fact that it’s not oily. Don’t you hate it when you feel like you’ve ingested one gallon of cooking oil with just a piece of a breaded shrimp? Well, I do! But don't worry about that when you’re in Tonchaya. =)

DSC_2536 Ebi Tempura (5 pcs) PHP375

I thought it was already the end of our sumptuous lunch when they served desserts for all of us to enjoy. Mochi ice cream has reached the Philippine soil by storm. These tiny balls of sticky rice with ice cream filling have stolen the hearts of many Filipinos, including me. Our host that day let us try three flavors of mochi ice cream - coconut, chocolate and strawberry.

DSC_2540 Mochi Ice Cream

Strawberry is my favorite ice cream flavor next to vanilla so I would be biased if I say that strawberry is the best among the three. Everybody loves chocolate so that would be unfair, too. Haha! But I have to say that the coconut mochi ice cream is totally underrated. I would never have thought that it could compete with strawberry and chocolate. The coconut mochi ice cream is not too sweet. Plus, it’s quite refreshing. It was the perfect way to cleanse my palates after a heavy feast!

Tonchaya Japanese Kitchen & Bar
The Fort Strip
7th Street corner 28th Avenue
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City

* All photos were taken with a Nikon D60

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  1. Drooling over the okonomiyaki, ramen and beef teppanyaki! Hindi kasi ako mahilig sa mga hilaw-hilaw (my husband is!) kaya yung mga cooked food lang sa Japanese resto ang kinakain ko. :)

  2. Ganda ng pictures mo dito tol! Wow!! :)


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