In all those times I worked in Makati, one of the things I always planned but never managed to do was eat in Izakaya Kikufuji. It’s a popular spot in Little Tokyo among office workers, but for some reasons, I never really got around to dining here even if I have eaten at some of the other restaurants in the area (and even done a couple of photoshoots here).
Now that I’m a freelancer and have all the time in the world to explore places (yeah, I got time; the money’s another story), I manage to finally try the place on my birthday. This is the first time in three years I’m celebrating my birthday in Metro Manila, so I’m maximizing the day.
After lunch out with my ex-coworkers at a pizza place near where I used to work, my sister and I go to Izakaya Kukufuji. The restaurant closes between lunch and dinner hours, though, so while waiting, we explore the area a bit and have some afternoon snack at the neighboring Shinjuku restaurant (which has really good ramen, by the way).
At 5:30 p.m., Izakaya Kikufuji opens for dinner. We are among the first customers inside and we take our place at the bar. The place resembles a traditional izakaya, a Japanese informal bar that serves drinks and snacks, most famous of which is the yakitori (grilled skewered chicken). Izakayas are popular in Japan as afterwork hangouts, and here, Izakaya Kikufuji reflects that with its regular customers of people coming from nearby offices.
The atmosphere is laidback, and the cooks even engage in playful conversations with us. It’s the place to ease off stress after a day stuck in the cubicle and drowning the night away with beer.
Except we don’t have beer – not with what happened to my liver last year. Instead, we have Coke Zero and start simple with jo maguro (tuna sashimi) for protein.
Then I load up on fiber and vitamins with yasai salad, a heaping plateful of greens and seaweed, which fill me up quite easily. The vegetables are fresh and crispy.
Finally, I indulge a bit and have a stick of gyu kushi (skwered wagyu beef cubes). The meat is tender and, for the lack of a better description, really good!
Overall, it’s really a great day, including my lunch with my ex-colleagues and the afternoon meal in Shinjuku. Have we not stuffed ourselves earlier, I might have tried more from the menu here. But at least there’s more reason to come back and make up for this procrastination.
Little Tokyo, 2277 Chino Roces Avenue, Legaspi Village, Makati City
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