I recently read about Ginza Bairin’s opening in Metro Manila. Ginza Bairin is the third katsu-place here in Manila, following Yabu and Saboten. I have dined at Yabu countless times and I loved it. So when I heard about the restaurant’s opening in the country, and knowing that the restaurant is an international franchise, my expectations for Ginza Bairin were quite high.
Since I do not frequent Makati anymore, I was thinking of dining the place maybe next month or so. Luckily, my friend from Gen San came to Manila and we had an impromptu get together with my college buds last night at–no other than–Ginza Bairin.
We had to wait for about 45 minutes just to get in. It was crazy! With all that waiting time, we were really expecting a lot from this resto.
We were so hungry by the time we were able to get to our seats and so we ordered away. Upon checking the menu, it’s so much like Yabu. Of course, I had to taste their biggest, most expensive tonkatsu as a benchmark so I ordered Kurobuta Tonkatsu, which uses Black Berkshire pig–prized for its flavor, and tenderness.
Yabu started the katsu-craze in the Philippines but the battle for the best katsu started not because of the katsudon, but the katsu sets, which include a serving of fresh cabbage salad, miso soup and rice.
I also ordered an additional a la carte salmon katsudon while my friends decided to get some curry katsudon and those in donburi/rice topping versions.
Food presentation is nice but the food is so-so. Nothing special compared to Yabu. I also tried Ginza Bairin’s pink Himalayan sea salt… nothing special with that either. It’s just less salty than the common table salt I know. My friends think that Yabu’s meat is juicier. I didn’t notice that though.
Overall, I prefer Yabu better. With the similar price point, I’d rather dine at Yabu. I also find Yabu’s service level better… or maybe I haven’t been to Yabu at an unholy hour. I don’t know.
Anyway, Ginza Bairin’s still worth a try if it’s not inconvenient for you to go to Glorietta and dine. But it’s not something you should go out of your way just to have a bite.