MANILA -- Okosoba and okonomiyaki specialist Botejyu has opened its flagship restaurant in the Philippines at One Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City.
This new branch is the biggest of the Botejyu branches in the country, which can be found at the SM Mall of Asia, Festival Mall, SM City Dasmarinas, SM Megamall, Robinson’s Galleria, Robinson’s Magnolia, Ayala Malls Cloverleaf, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Ayala Malls Trinoma, Ayala Malls Feliz, SM Pampanga, and Solenad, Nuvali.
Opening later this year are branches in Greenbelt 3, O Square 2 Greenhills, Ayala North Exchange, SM Fairview, Ayala Bay Mall, SM Bacoor, and SM Baguio.
As with all the other Botejyu restaurants, an open kitchen buzzes with the sounds of the flipping and sizzling okonomiyaki as they’re cooked to order for the hungry guests. There is also private room at the back for meetings and private dining.
Established in post-war Japan in Tamade, Osaka, founder Eikichi Nishino had to count on his creativity to make amazing meals out of what was available. The Japanese omelet pancake okonomiyaki became the restaurant’s specialty, made out of flour mixed with whatever ingredients were available.
Botejyu is the second concept brought in by Viva International Food & Restaurants, Inc.
“Most Japanese restaurants only specialize in one item like ramen, or just tempura. But for Botejyu, though we specialize in okosoba and okonomiyaki, the main selling point is that technically, we carry the best of each place in Japan,” said Vicente Raphael “VR” del Rosario IV, senior vice president for Viva International Food & Restaurants, Inc.
Executives from Tokyo Food, Botejyu’s mother company, flew in to cut the ribbon to officially open the new Taguig branch.
Okonomiyaki is an egg omelet/pancake filled with meat, cabbage, and carefully selected ingredients. Botejyu’s contribution to the Japanese recipe is the use of mayonnaise as a topping. Back then, mayonnaise was only used in cold dishes. But after Botejyu started using this as a sauce on their “okos,” other Japanese restaurants followed suit, not only on okonomiyaki, but other hot dishes as well.
The batter used in the okonomiyaki is the same one used to make takoyaki. These balls with bits of octopus in the center are cooked with a special pan over flame to make it crispy on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. Guests can order the base takoyaki with just takoyaki sauce, mayo, and katsuboshi (dried tuna shavings). However, if you want more variety, the All Star Takoyaki are six pieces of takoyaki adorned with different sauces and toppings.
Botejyu’s other claim to fame is that it created the okasoba, which is traditional yakisoba, Japanese stir fried noodles, encased in an okonomiyaki. For first-timers, try out the classic Pork Okosoba, then move on to the premium Beef and Negi (green onion) Okosoba when you’ve gotten the taste for this dish. Dab some of Botejyu’s thick spicy sauce for some heat.
Botejyu uses chicken paitan broth in its ramen instead of the more common pork tonkotsu. The result is a somewhat lighter ramen, but still flavor-packed from the chicken broth.
An interesting part of the menu is the donburi section. Botejyu takes Japanese rice toppings variants from Fukuoka to Hokkaido and puts it all one page.
Like the other dishes in the restaurant which all have a back story, the Tokyo Honey Toast, made with hollowed out toast, ice cream, and honey, was first served in the 1980s before becoming a popular dessert in Tokyo restaurants.
What’s interesting about Botejyu is that it is not as expensive as it seems. It may look intimidating from the well-designed Japanese interiors and the large glossy menu, but the serving sizes are generous enough to be shared among two or three hungry diners.
Botejyu is a comfortable go-to place for those looking for their Japanese food fix.