5 reasons why this restaurant icon remains popular after 50 years

Jeeves de Veyra

Posted at Nov 29 2020 01:19 PM

The new Kimpura branch at O-Square in Greenhills. Jeeves de Veyra

MANILA -- Kimpura is one of those go-to restaurants where families go for celebrations. Some of us have good memories of the lush gold, red, and black interiors with the aroma of food being cooked on a the teppanyaki grill. 

More often than not, it is where kids who were in high school and college in the '80s and '90s got their introduction to Japanese food. Those kids who have grown up, have brought their own kids to Kimpura to introduce them gyoza, donburi, ramen, and the Japanese menu staples we enjoy today.

Here are five facts to celebrate Kimpura’s 50th anniversary

1. The first branch opened its doors on October 10, 1970.

The original branch in Greenhills. Handout

The first branch was located within the Makati Commercial Center, the predecessor of what is now Ayala Center. The Greenhills branch followed soon after. The original branches are no more because of the renovation of these shopping complexes. The Greenhills branch transferred from its original location beside Unimart to O-Square across the street. Meanwhile, the Makati branch moved to the top floor of Greenbelt. Kimpura has three branches, including its newest one in Trinoma.

2. 'Kimpura' means 'golden tempura.'

Golden tempura. Jeeves de Veyra

Apt for a restaurant celebrating its golden anniversary, "kim" is the Japanese word for gold and the last two syllables come from the deep-fried prawn dish. The restaurants version is a crowd favorite to this day.

3. It helped popularize teppanyaki theater.

Kimpura has long been known for teppanyaki cooked right in front of guests. Jeeves de Veyra

Back when Kimpura opened, live cooking was virtually unheard of. Kimpura has open grills where diners are seated around the chefs to watch them cook, listen to the sizzle of the ingredients, and enjoy the aromas coming from the griddle as their trained chefs perform while making preparing their teppanyaki and misono orders. 

Teppanyaki scallops, US tenderloin, and prawns with sides of Yasai Itame (bean sprouts), enoki mushrooms, and Japanese fried rice are just some of the entrees that can be cooked on the spot. Kimpura even has private rooms with teppanyaki griddles for functions and family gatherings.

4. The restaurant helped introduce sushi and sashimi to local foodies.

Sashimi. Jeeves de Veyra

Mention sushi to diners when Kimpura first opened and chances are that they’d recoil at the mention of eating raw fish. But thanks to the restaurant’s classy sushi and sashimi bars inside the restaurants with the elegant preparation of their sushi chefs, these delicacies became sought after specialties paving the way for other Japanese restaurants to offer their own versions.

5. Kimpura has its own creative additions to the menu.

Gindara Teriyaki. Jeeves de Veyra
Spider Maki (eel with cucumber and mango). Jeeves de Veyra

The team behind Kimpura isn’t content to just have traditional Japanese entrees. While the menu is considerable extensive and complete, there are specialty items pioneered by the restaurant. The teriyaki gindara, and specialty rolls like the Dragon Maki (soft-shell crab, ebiko, lettuce and unagi sauce), and the Spider Maki (unagi oer eel maki with cucumber and mango) are just some of the hidden innovative items in the menu.

Ice Cream with coffee jelly and tempura flakes, and Fruit Jelly. Jeeves de Veyra

Even dessert has a Japanese feel to it. Putting tanuki (tempura flakes) on their ice cream with coffee jelly ice cream to add crunch is a nice touch.

With the modified restaurant regulations for GCQ, the Kimpura staff have gone to extra lengths to ensure the safety of guests. All employees are required to wear a face mask and a face shield. Temperature checks for employees and diners are done prior to entry along with accomplishing health declaration forms. 

Several alcohol sanitizing stations are located around the premises which are constantly wiped down and sanitized. Tables are sanitized after each customer use. Social distancing measures include seats that are positioned apart, and no face to face interactions unless with acrylic shields. Each branch has a limited number of guests per table and private rooms which is strictly enforced. 

The interiors of the new Kimpura Greenhills. Jeeves de Veyra

Do you have any fond memories of Kimpura? If you have pictures, you have a chance to win Kimpura gift certificates. You can send them to kimpura1970@gmail.com with they year the picture was taken, details of the celebration, and the Kimpura branch where the picture was taken. Include a caption of what makes Kimpura special to you and your family. Winners will be chosen based on the quality of the photo, the age of the phot and the caption. Deadline of submission is on November 30, 2020. Please check Kimpura's social media for more information.

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