restaurants in Metro Manila

Meat your match! New sukiyaki bar Inari Sukiyaki now open at Robinsons Magnolia

Steph Arnaldo

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Meat your match! New sukiyaki bar Inari Sukiyaki now open at Robinsons Magnolia
Kyoto-style sukiyaki donburi is prepared right in front of you at this casual new dining spot!

MANILA, Philippines – Japan’s famous sukiyaki dish takes on a slightly different but equally tasty form at Inari Sukiyaki, Manila’s first “sukiyaki bar,” where the sukiyaki magic is made right in front of your very eyes!

INARI SUKIYAKI. The new brand of The BBK Group offers Kyoto-style sukiyaki donburi bowls. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The small and intimate space is located at the fourth floor of Robinsons Magnolia in Quezon City, featuring a modern and rounded bar, minimalist interiors, and an open kitchen at the center where you’re guaranteed front row seats to Inari’s chefs cooking every sukiyaki donburi fresh and made-to-order.

Nice to meat you

Inari Sukiyaki gets its name from “Inari,” the god of rice, harvest, and foxes in Japanese mythology. “We drew inspiration from that backstory and built it into the brand story. Inari is the god of rice, and our logo the fox is his messenger,” owner Maxine Sanz told Rappler.

Inari Sukiyaki also claims to be a “Kyoto-style sukiyaki bar,” inspired by Maxine and husband Rich’s recent trip to a rural village in Kyoto. There, they fell in love with Kansai Sukiyaki, a different type of sukiyaki that caramelizes the beef in a sukiyaki pot with less liquid than the dish’s mainstream soupy counterpart from Tokyo.

OPEN KITCHEN. Inari’s chefs cook each bowl made-to-order right in front of you on induction stoves. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

“In Kyoto and Osaka, the beef is first seared in fat while browned, and caramelized in sugar with a little liquid. The vegetables are also cooked with just enough liquid to flavor and soften. This creates an intense beef taste,” Rich said. The couple decided to bring their new favorite hearty dish to Manila, and have Filipino customers enjoy the same premium beef in its simplicity atop Japanese rice, donburi style.

Menu, prices: What to expect

Inari Sukiyaki has a simple menu of three sukiyaki donburi choices; its no-fuss charm matches the restaurant’s laidback but classy ambiance. Most ingredients are sourced from Japan, including a special crystallized sugar that lends a distinct sweetness to the comforting sukiyaki sauce, which is typically made with soy sauce and mirin. Inari’s sukiyaki sauce permeates through all the dish’s components.

PREMIUM MEAT. A variety of USDA Angus beef cuts are offered at different price points. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

You’ll see your Sukiyaki Bowl made from start to finish – you’re presented the raw finely-marbled beef cuts first. The sugar and sauce is cooked down in a hot pan, followed by a careful searing of your choice of beef, and then the addition of vegetables, such as shimeji mushrooms, carrots, leeks, and cabbage. They’re gently and beautifully placed atop a steaming bowl of rice afterwards, and served right at your spot in the bar.

SUKIYAKI FROM KYOTO. Sugar and sauce is cooked down first, before adding the beef and vegetables. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Each Sukiyaki Bowl Set comes with a bowl of beef, Japanese rice, glass noodles, tofu, fish cake, and veggies, plus a soft-boiled egg and miso soup. The soft-boiled egg mixed into the donburi adds a creaminess to the dish, and the miso soup helps to cleanse the palate (although it was a bit too watered down for my liking).

INDIVIDUAL SETS. Each order comes with a soft-boiled egg and miso soup. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Premium meat is the star of Inari Sukiyaki. You can get the USDA Angus Karubi (P395), cuts of rich, sweet beef with medium strips of fat, with double the beef for P195.

USDA ANGUS MISUJI. Perfectly-cooked beef cuts are set atop moist rice and saucy vegetables. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

We tried the USDA Angus Misuji (P495), a lean cut of beef that’s tender and soft, with fine marbling and a beefy, umami taste. You can get double the beef for P295. For its price, this was the bang-for-your-buck choice – the meat was completely litid-free with no chewiness; the meat absorbs the tasty sukiyaki broth really well, so each bite is flavorful. It’s a very filling, satisfying, and straight-to-the-point rice bowl.

USDA ANGUS RIB-EYE. The prime cut of beef is soft to the chew. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The splurge-worthy choice is the USDA Angus Ribeye (P945), the “most premium tender cut” of beef with “perfect marbling” that just melts in your mouth, basically. It costs P745 for double the beef. It wasn’t so far away in terms of tenderness versus the Angus Misuji, but you’re getting that deeper, beefier taste here.

Since each bowl really packs on the meat and sukiyaki sauce, I found myself looking for some something light – a pickled or tangy side dish – to cut through the richness.

SIDE DISHES. Crispy, deep-fried fare are available to order as sides. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

Inari Sukiyaki also offers a few side dishes and maki, like the Chicken and Mozzarella Kushikatsu (P220) and a crispy Ebi Tempura with Caviar for P380 for four pieces.

SPICY TUNA. There are 3 different kinds of maki rolls available to order. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

The Spicy Tuna Roll was a flavorful explosion of subtle chili powder spice and a sweet-savory sukiyaki sauce, topped with fresh tuna, crispy tempura flakes, ebiko, and spicy Japanese mayo.

“Just like the God of Rice blesses Japan with abundance and flavor, we ensure that each and every bowl served is packed with meaty tenderness and filling broth, nourishing both the body and soul,” Maxine and Rich said.

FOLLOW THE FOX. Inari Sukiyaki’s concept revolves around the Japanese fox as Inari The God’s messenger. Steph Arnaldo/Rappler

You can “follow the fox” to Inari Sukiyaki at the 4th level of Public Eatery, Robinsons Magnolia, Aurora Blvd, corner Doña Hemady St, New Manila, Quezon City. The mall is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily.

Inari Sukiyaki is the latest venture of The BBK Group, which is also behind Bibingkinitan, Butternut Bakery, Hey BBK, and more. – Rappler.com

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Steph Arnaldo

If she’s not writing about food, she’s probably thinking about it. From advertising copywriter to freelance feature writer, Steph Arnaldo finally turned her part-time passion into a full-time career. She’s written about food, lifestyle, and wellness for Rappler since 2018.