I am a huge fan of Japanese cuisine! However, there are times when I crave for a katsu or ebi fry or tempura and I don't get truly satisfied because the ones that I have tried doesn't taste authentic. Either the ingredients are compromised or it wasn't prepared the way it was supposed to be prepared. To save yourself from such disappointment, it is best to go to katsu places that originated from Japan and that is what Saboten is all about!
Saboten, which literally translates to "Cactus" in Japanese, is one of the largest Tonkatsu chains in Japan with over 500 shops in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Hongkong, Canada, China, and now, the Philippines. It originated in the neighborhood of Shinjuku, Tokyo in 1966 and has been serving the "Original Tastes of Tonkatsu" for more than 40 years now.
There are currently two Saboten branches here in the Philippines - one in Serendra, BGC, Taguig and another in Glorietta 5, Makati. The one I visited a few days back was their Glorietta branch. It wasn't exactly easy to locate because it is found outside of the mall fronting Office Drive/Glorietta 4 Park. Nevertheless, their Glorietta branch is quite spacious and can accommodate up to 80 people. As regards the design, everything's neat and minimalist. I was told that the materials used for the seats, etc. were flown in from Japan.
Basically, Saboten's menu, as I have earlier mentioned, is all about tonkatsu. But they also serve all sorts of variations of such, appetizers, desserts, and drinks to complement your tonkatsu dishes. Since Saboten's a franchise from Japan, all dishes served are ensured to be authentic and traditional Japanese dishes.
|Strawberry Yakult - P175|
From among their wide range of Saboten Smoothies, I tried their Strawberry Yakult variant. This drink was very refreshing! It wasn't too sweet and the strawberry and yakult went well together. I would've gone for their Watermelon Wasabi smoothie but I was scared to try it then. That one's definitely on my list for my next visit!
|Creamy Green Tea - P225|
|Four Seasons and Yakult - P175|
For our appetizers, we had Agedashi Tofu and Maguro Tsukudani. Between the two, the Agedashi was the winner for me! The tofu is soft inside yet crispy on the outside. Surprisingly, it stays firm after taking a bite. This one has a fresh flavor that would surely enhance your appetite.
|Agedashi - P175|
|Maguro Tsukudani - P125|
The Maguro Tsukudani, on the other hand, is a simple tuna appetizer. This one's cooked in claypot and infused with ginger and sauce. This one's really tasty! I was actually amazed at how simple this one is made, yet it has so much flavor. I think this one would also go well with rice as a viand.
|Sweet and Sour Chicken Nanban - P475 (as set)|
We likewise tried some of the dishes which were made part of their menu for a limited time only. The Sweet and Sour Chicken Nanban was really delightful to eat. The coated chicken was tender on the inside. The skin was crispy and the sauce was great. It is served with a dip, but I think it's good on its own.
|Ginger Pork Shogayaki with Sweet Radish Steak - P495 (as set)|
The Ginger Pork Shogoyaki dish was also great! I am really not a fan of dishes infused with ginger, but this one's tolerable for me. It actually enjoyed this one. The slices of pork are very tender and the sauce is very tasty. The serving is generous, too. I believe this one would be enough for two people.
|Deep Fried Oyster Sharing Set - P1575|
The highlight of our meal was the Deep Fried Oyster Sharing Set. This one contains two deep fried oysters, two deep fried shrimps, one loin cutlet, and one rolled cutlet. It also comes with unlimited shredded cabbage, pickles, radish, rice, and miso soup. Menu says it's good for two but I think this would be adequate to feed three to four people. The serving is indeed hefty!
The set comes with an aioli dip but everything also goes well with their katsu sauce. The oysters, which are imported from Hiroshima, Japan, were really delicious. The size of the oysters are ginormous. It tastes fresh and clean. Surprisingly, the oysters were really juicy yet the outer layer is very crunchy and yummy. I believe this one is best eaten when still warm so make those Instagram pictures quick! ;)
|Tenderloin Set - P440 for L, P410 for M, and P390 for S|
We also tried their Tenderloin which is the signature dish of Saboten. What differs Tenderloin from Loin is that the former is pure lean meat while the latter has a layer of fat in it. Since I am no healthy eater, I prefer the latter more because the layer of fat gives off another flavor and texture for me to enjoy. I suggest you have this if it's your first time to eat at Saboten.
|Deep Fried Oyster - P195|
The deep fried oysters can also be availed of individually and I think this would go well with their wide range of Japanese beer! :D By the way, Saboten in Glorietta offers unlimited local beers for only P499 from 4pm to 7pm during Mondays to Fridays.
As I have previously mentioned, all set meals available at Saboten include unlimited shredded cabbage, pickles, rice, and miso soup. Personally, I enjoyed the shredded cabbage with their special sauce.
As a mom, I prefer restaurants which I know my kid would enjoy. Japanese cuisine isn't necessarily something that the kids would love but Saboten has made it exactly just that. My little boy love everything fried and the kids meal at Saboten would surely grab his attention. Aside from the adorable presentation, the kids meal contains one tenderloin cutlet, one crab cream croquette, french fries, and orange juice to make sure your kid is full.
|Kids Set - P275|
Moreover, you could also get a free kids set voucher to be used on your next visit for every P1000 you spend. Your kid, who must be 10 years old and below, will be served chicken karaage, rice, french fries, miso soup, and drink as shown in the photo above.
|Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cake - P195|
Saboten also boasts of delectable desserts that will go perfectly with your tonkatsu meal. The Chocolate Hazelnut Cream Cake is definitely a favorite! It has creamy hazelnut inside while the outer part has a rich chocolate flavor.
|Matcha Lychee Almond Cake - P210|
Matcha Lychee Almond Cake was something new to my taste. Suprisingly, everything went well together. Upon biting, it is the lychee flavor that kicks in and the matcha flavor is that one that lingers. It is one dessert that should be tried by matcha green tea lovers!
|Strawberry Shortcake - P195|
The Strawberry Shortcake is another awesome dessert to try. It isn't as sweet as your normal cake, but the flavor and texture of the cake is really enjoyable. Another strawberry dish that should be tried at Saboten is the Strawberry Parfait. This one has loads of vanilla ice cream, strawberry flavor, and cream. Definitely one of the best ways to end you meal!
|Strawberry Parfait - P195|
If you are looking for authentic tonkatsu that you and your family could enjoy, visit Saboten Japanese Cutlet at their Serendra, BGC, Taguig and Glorietta 5, Makati branches. This katsu place will definitely not disappoint with their authentic and traditional Japanese dishes. :)
For more details, visit their social media accounts:
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/raintreesaboten
Instagram - http://www.instagram.com/sabotenph