Rosanjin: Refreshing Japanese

Appreciation for Japanese food was a slow journey for me—a gradual revelation. When I was younger, I couldn’t understand why I had to subject myself with the fussiness of eating with chopsticks, when I could easily shove everything into my mouth with a spoon. Then I had my first encounter with a truly delicious ramen—from a restaurant which put so much reverence into their food—that I began to understand why Japanese is so meticulous and intricate. That jumpstarted my quest for more things Japanese.

Rosanjin Japanese Restaurant is a recent discovery. It’s a casual restaurant in SM Mega Fashion Hall, a spot that was discreet and not too crowded—something I found desirable with my hate towards long lines but at the same, unbelievable. Amidst all the selections of ramen places in the city, Rosanjin chose to take a different path, aiming to introduce diners to unexplored food concepts—the Tobanyaki and the Kaminabe. Two cooking styles which I was more than happy to try.
the toban
Walking into the restaurant feels like entering any other Japanese place; however, I liked the floral wallpapers and the paper-and-bamboo umbrellas hanging from the ceiling. In addition, the difference begins with the electric stoves installed on each table—like something you would find in a hot pot restaurant. I liked the ambience—casual, understated, and a bit intimate.

Tobanyaki, a modern-style teppanyaki, is a method of cooking with involves an earthenware called toban, made of heat-protection cray or aluminum. Because of the material, heat is produced quickly and stays on for a long time even after the flame is gone. This also cooks the food in an even fashion—take for instance the Australian Rib Steak (PhP380).

I loved how simple the seasoning was—highlighting the natural flavors of the meat. In addition, the bite-sized steak pieces were cooked evenly, very tender and juicy. There were three kinds of sauce (yakiniku, sour cream, steak) served with this but my favorite was the sour cream.

Typical cooking time is 7-10 minutes, so while waiting, I tried some of Rosanjin’s delicious Spicy Tuna Roll (PhP200)—8 pieces of fresh tuna and avocado rolls, topped with spicy mayo. These were simply exquisite.

Beef, chicken, and seafood are among the Tobanyaki options, and for seafood, I tried the Jumbo Scallop Butteryaki (PhP450)—four huge pieces of Hokkaido scallops. Like the steak, they were seasoned simply, with only butter and a hint of soy sauce. The scallops were fresh, sweetish, and delectable! Some of them even had egg in it, making them a bit creamy. I enjoyed every bite of this dish!

The Kaminabe, on the other hand, is an art of Japanese cooking utilizing paper as a pot, and is quite similar to the Chinese hot pot. The Japanese paper—which is made from mulberry, paperbush, and ganpi—doesn’t burn and even absorbs the oil from the food, so it’s quite a healthy method of cooking.

I tried the Sukiyaki (PhP350, regular) which is a mix of beef, vegetables, tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and noodles (vermicelli). The soup tasted so clean and fresh, and the high-grade beef they used, cooked after 7 minutes, went very tender—with alternating layers of lean meat and fat. My mouth is starting to water just remembering this.

For dessert, I had the Green Tea Pudding (PhP150) which was a light and delicate way to end my meal. It comes topped with red beans and a dollop of cream, and the taste was a balance of sweetness and bitterness.

As if a green tea dessert wasn’t enough, I also tried the Green Tea Shake (PhP120) which was delicious although a bit on the sweet side. Nonetheless, I think I finished this in one sip.

When I entered the restaurant, it was almost empty so I was so surprised that the food was really good. Perhaps the reason is its unique offerings, which is currently not part of any hype. But then again, this is precisely the same reason why people should try it—I mean, ramen and tonkatsu can get pretty boring after a while.

If you’re not used to these types of food (like I am), don’t worry because the staff is knowledgeable, and the servers would help you if you need more info on the dishes. Yes, you don’t have to be very skilled at using chopsticks and you certainly don’t have to memorize all the fancy Japanese names for these dishes—the place is casual, the food does not disappoint.

For a new way of exploring Japanese cuisine, check out Rosanjin Japanese Restaurant in SM Megamall. The Tobanyaki and Kaminabe dishes featured above can be easily shared by two, but honestly … I was so besotted by them that I finished the scallops and the steak all by myself, LOL! They offer other traditional dishes too like ramen, gyoza, tempura, sushi, and sashimi but you have to try the two specialties. Thanks to places like Rosanjin, I’m loving my Japanese culinary journey more and more.

Here's a short video I made for my Rosanjin dining experience:


Rosanjin Japanese Restaurant
3/F SM Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
Menu: click here
Budget: around PhP500/head

Have you tried Rosanjin? How was your experience?

My meal was sponsored by Rosanjin. All opinions, however, are my own.

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