Two new restaurants just opened next to each other in Katipunan, Quezon City, and they’re both very good at what they do. The first is William Watson, a modern, swanky looking steakhouse specializing in Black Angus beef. The second is Fukui Omakase, which has a 5-seater omakase bar but also a lot of space for the more popular Japanese dining fare. Hot tip: it serves one of the best ebi tempura we’ve had in Manila.
The two establishments are both owned and run by Anthony Ng with two other partners. Ng is in the cold logistics business, importing livestock and handling it all the way to delivery and storage (he supplies meats to SM supermarkets). Food and design are two of the guy’s biggest passions, and this has easily translated to the attention to detail and high standards that characterize his restaurants.
The steak house is named after Hugh Watson and William McCombe, two of the most famous 19th century constructive breeders of Angus beef cattle. It looks ideal for dates and private business meetings, what with its moody, sophisticated ambience achieved thru the use of cozy booth seating, bespoke marble tabletops, mirror walls, and black wooden shelves filled with a growing collection of wines.
Apart from its Black Angus beef, the menu boasts classic fine dining fare and “inventive continental cuisine.” On our visit, we started with a Caesar Salad (Table Side, P1500) prepared from scratch before our eyes, using only the most essential ingredients but resulting into one of the freshest tasting and flavorful Caesars I’ve had in a long time. While some people on our table had the Classic French Onion Soup (P380), I picked the Seafood Bisque (P420). Must be the sight of a hefty mud crab claw calling out to me. It was a hearty, naturally creamy, delicious soup with a good number of unshelled clams and mussels thrown in for those essential soft, chewy bites.
The highlight of our VIP room lunch was, of course, the Tomahawk (1,300 grams, P8,800), this huge slab of US Premium Prime Grade Black Angus beef steak seared on a hot stone grill just before it was sliced for us by Chef Godfredo Jesus Villadelgado. The perfect combo of just the right tenderness and the right juiciness, this meat is served with a host of sidings: potato gratin, steak rice, sweet mashed potato, mixed vegetables, and Truffle Madeira sauce. Of the desserts, we weren’t served a dish we didn’t like but if you’re open to surprising yourself, I suggest you have their Home-made Red Miso Ice Cream (P180) with butterscotch pecan and baked tuile. Being his favorite, Ng suggested I try it. You won’t regret it.
What’s great and unique about this twin bill of a dining operation is that you can order from the Japanese restaurant even if you’re in the steakhouse and vice versa. I mean, how fun is that?! So we asked for an order of the Ebi Tempura (P590) that Ng is very proud of—and he isn’t wrong. It’s crunchy on the outside and pure, fresh, plump shrimp goodness on the inside. It’s so good we almost forgot there was a sushi boat (Samurai Boat, P7000) at the center of our table. By the way, they say their fish comes in fresh every week from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market.
Fukui’s chef is Ronnie de Guzman who was trained in New York and took his culinary studies in Savannah, Georgia. He’s also taken the Benihana route, which means he’s also a chef who knows how to entertain, making him perfect for the omakase bar. He says he has no problem engaging with diners—a chef confident of his tricks and capacity have no reason to worry. “I want them to feel invited, welcome, and I want to introduce them to knowledge about sushi,” he says. William Watson’s Villadelgado meanwhile has worked in the kitchens of Grand Fauchon Lé Paris in Paris, and the Emporio Armani Restorante in Dubai, among others. He is well-versed too in Lebanese, Indian and Chinese cuisine.
Anthony Ng is not exactly a newbie in the F&B business. He’s opened cafes with friends before, and in fact now owns the popular Señor Pollo restaurants. Opening Fukui and William Watson is for him a natural progression from his core business, which is meats. It’s also Ng’s way of expressing his aforementioned passions: food and architecture. “Unfortunately, I am not gifted on both disciplines but I have a pretty universal palette and fine appreciation for visuals,” he says. “Hence, I know what taste profiles I’m after, and what the feel and the aesthetics of a restaurant should look like—to make clients holistically appreciate their experience of dining with us.”
Ng believes there’s still a lot of space in the Quezon City scene for really good restaurants, and that his two new babies can be convenient alternatives to the ones QC residents travel all the way to BGC and Makati for just to satisfy a craving for good Japanese food, or just because someone posted a juicy piece of steak on Instagram. But that’s Ng diminishing the pretty remarkable work he’s poured into the making of these two projects. William Watson and Fukui are more than “convenient alternatives.” Simply put, they’re good restaurants that will serve you hearty, delicious dishes that will keep you coming back. I mean, I’m still thinking of that tempura.
[William Watson and Fukui Omakase are located at JSO Building, 210 Katipunan, Quezon City. Fukui is open daily from 11AM to 2PM, and 5PM to 10PM; William Watson is open during the same hours but is closed Mondays.]