Since Yabu came in to the Manila food scene, katsu places seem to have popped out everywhere such as Saboten, Katsu-Sora and Kimukatsu. Another one has arrived in the Philippine shores thanks to the Suyen Group.
MAISEN, one of the most popular tonkatsu houses in Japan, just opened their first branch in Greenbelt and their second in SM Megamall. Their third one will open next month in SM North EDSA. I went to the SM Megamall branch.
I liked the clean and bright interiors of Maisen. The area is quite big but since it’s new and Kris TV just did a feature on it, expect to be in the waiting list especially during peak hours.
They serve complimentary hot tea, cold tea and plain water. They also provide cold towels to clean the hands before eating.
Jeff went for the Tenderloin Katsu Set (Php630 + 10% Service Charge). As expected, everything is refillable except for the Katsu. One thing I noticed first was that there was no sesame to grind. Or at least they didn’t grind the sesame. It was just… there. They also have two different sauces for the katsu – spicy and sweet.
The tenderloin was really soft and tasty. It contrasts the crispiness of the breading. It’s not as oily as other katsu that I have tried also. (*I learned that they actually make their own cooking oil from sunflower)
I was looking for the pickled radish (I love that!) but there was none. They only have this small coleslaw and cucumber.
I went for the Katsumabushi Set (Php390 + 10% Service Charge) because I was intrigued by soup with rice. (Be warned though. This does not have unlimited rice or soup. *SadPanda). According to them, you can enjoy it three ways.
1.) Plain – as in eat the rice and the katsu together. The rice is already tasty and the katsu was yummy too so this works.
2.) With Garnishes – Part of the set is a small plate with wasabi, onion leeks and sesame seeds. The leeks and sesame didn’t change the flavor much. The wasabi was really strong though.
3.) With the soup – I thought it was going to be like a WOW experience. But in reality, I do this all the time at home when our dish has soup. The soup tastes like shoyu.
* BONUS: 4.) They also serve raw tamago which is suppose to be eaten as an appetizer but you can mix it with the rice too.
My mom had the Sukiyaki Set (Php520 + 10% Service Charge). Instead of beef, they used something like bacon. The tofu was firm. There’s a little katsu on the side too.
They have a take out counter outside if you want to take home their sandwiches. I’m not sure how it compares to Kimukatsu though.
It’s easy to brush the place off as just another tonkatsu house but it is a lot more. They put a different spin on the katsu that we’re used to. According to the marketing division manager, all their chefs went under a special test from their Japanese chef to make sure their quality will always be consistent.
There are a lot of tables but you can also sit by the counter to see the chefs in action.
I would recommend this for a friendly get-together. Check out Maisen at:
MAISEN SM Megamall
3rd floor, Building A
SM Megamall, Ortigas Centre, Mandaluyong City