Friday, November 26, 2010

Going Cosmopolitan at John and Yoko

I usually avoid going to Ayala, unless someone volunteers to drive for me (and search for a much coveted parking slot) or unless I'm meeting my girl friends from UP, who are all well worth braving the Ayala traffic for. Last Saturday was one of those moments when friendship beckons amongst the Makati weekend crowd, and I was too much of a weakling (and a good friend, I hope) to resist. 

Our Saturday affair was thankfully not one of those times where the indecision about where to eat forces us to walk aimlessly and waste twenty minutes of our time ping pong-ing the words, "where do we eat?" and "up to you" amongst ourselves. I guess I have my good friend Emy to thank,  as she sent me rather insistent text messages to get my fat ass to John and Yoko the soonest possible time or risk her wrath. 

John and Yoko is an upscale Filipino owned restaurant serving modern Japanese cuisine.  It boasts of bringing to life the slightly overused concept of East meets West, by serving Japanese food tinged with Western influence. Allow me to post this well written excerpt from their menu:

"John is from the West while Yoko comes from the East. As John is bold, modern, and fresh, Yoko is guarded, conservative and traditional. He is sunset while she is sunrise or the dawn of a new day! In essence, johnandyoko is a successful union of the two worlds. It is union where the new embraces the old and the innovative features the authentic."

The restaurant was dimly lit, with bare black ceilings and  patterned walls. It looked very modern and industrial, without losing the casual vibe. 

For starters, we had New York Fried Maki, which was rice rolled in tempura-batter-coated-Nori and stuffed with mango, cucumber and unagi. You have to put the whole thing in your mouth to experience the burst of flavor and amazing mixture of textures of this maki variant. The crispiness of tempura batter, the sticky familiarity of rice, the firmness of unagi, the pleasant sweetness of fresh mangoes and the crunchiness of cucumber all blended perfectly well to make one bombshell of a maki. 

The Wagyu Rice came highly recommended by our server, so my friend Emy, ordered a bowl. It was basically Japanese fried rice, with some occasional vegetable bits, topped with cubes of Wagyu beef. I did not really expect much, because really, who pays Php 300 (approximately $7) for Wagyu, right? Even with very low expectations to begin with though, I was still quite disappointed with this dish. The rice was seriously bland, so after finishing the very few cubes of beef on top, you are left with a whole lot of bland, brown colored rice. If you won't be ordering some other viand, do yourself a flavor and skip this.

Roj ordered the obligatory Chicken Teriyaki. The meat was surprisingly lean and flavorful, and the sauce was as sweet as a  Teriyaki sauce should be.

We also had Tribeca Salmon on the table, but this, I wasn't able to  try. It came with three different sauces, which my friend, Har said were tempura sauce, teriyaki sauce and wasabi cream. She said she liked the wasabi cream best. 

I was in the mood for steak (not Japanese food) that night, so I ordered Mt. Fuji Steak, cooked medium well. Sadly, the meat was tough and quite bland, and the fries were a bit soggy. 

It came with what the server said was Japanese gravy, which I asked him to serve separately. The sauce was a bit spicy, with generous amounts of shiitake and button mushrooms thrown in for good measure, but it was nothing special. 

The restaurant seems to have an awful lot of customers for such a mediocre food place, so I might have to go back again some time to re-try the experience. They have an extensive menu that I have yet to explore, so I'm pretty sure that I'm  bound to encounter some hits the next time around.

Expect to spend around Php 500-600 (approximately $12) when you dine here. John and Yoko is located at the 2nd floor of Greenbelt 5 in Makati City.

Have you tried John and Yoko? Please do share the experience with me!

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