Tetsu: A Food Review

Hola! So it’s the holiday season here in the PH, and as such there are a lot of days that work was suspended. Hence, more time to eat and pig out.

Recently, I got the chance to try Tetsu, a Japanese restaurant near my residence. As you’ve probably noticed, I am fond of Japanese food and I like trying new places that are budget-friendly. Honestly, I am not one of those big-shot bloggers that get sponsored to try restos and food, so it’s important for me to select a restaurant that has affordable goods.

Anyway, so Tetsu is a Japanese restaurant located in SM Southmall in Las Pinas. It serves steak, sushi, ramen, teppanyaki and other Japanese food. (See: here )

I came to the restaurant around early afternoon for a quick late lunch. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take a lot of pictures, so I will just include images that come from their official website.

Right. So when I entered the resto, I was a little disappointed that there was no waiter/waitress/server who assisted me nor guided me to an available seat. Unlike in other restaurants where you are greeted and ushered inside, there was none of that. I guess that’s a bit of a downer but I deemed it was still too early to judge, so I just let it slide.

Seconds later a waitress handed me a menu and I saw their wide selection of food. Price-wise, I’d say that most items were within a 500php budget, and the illustrations were enticing enough. I decided to order a potato salad, sutamina don and green tea.

Service wasn’t as prompt as Ikkoryu (see previous food-related post), where the moment I was seated I was served hot tea and water. Here at Tetsu, I had to wait for some minutes before the waitress served me my tea. Then another couple of minutes before my food actually came.

In spite of the wait, I have to say that I was surprised when the potato salad was served. The serving size was bigger than I anticipated! However, the taste was a little… bland. The vegetables were fresh and crispy though, so I guess, it’s okay. Not spectacular, but satisfactory.

Image may contain: food
Potato salad. Image from Tetsu’s facebook page. This was what was shown in the menu, bu the actual serving size is WAY larger with more vegetables.

Next was the sutamina don. I opted to have a raw egg because I was expecting the rice to be hot enough for the egg to be cooked when I mix it up. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. The good thing though, was that the beef was savory and had thick slices. Also, even though the bowl seemed small, it was filled to the brim. It also came with a small bowl of miso soup. The dish cost 140 pesos, so I guess it’s good enough for its price.

Sutamina don. Pork, onion with soy glaze, nori and sesame seeds. This came along with a bowl of miso soup.

For drinks, I had hot green tea, which tasted like green tea. I mean, nothing remarkable about it, except that it’s bottomless.

Because of the large portions, I wasn’t able to finish both dishes and had extended my stay. Haha. The staff seemed not to mind though, and they served me politely.

The best part of my dining experience is the free takoyaki! Yes! They gave free takoyaki to their customers that day! The dish was tasty and the sauce was the right consistency. It didn’t taste like the usual street-style takoyaki in sidewalks where the sauce is runny and bland. This one tasted great and the best part is of course, it’s FREE!

Hence, my rating:

Service: 4/5 – the staff were courteous and attentive, but I had to try much to catch their eyes when I need something. Also, I appreciate it very much when my needs are anticipated, such as offering a glass of water and/or a pot of tea before I actually ask for it. They did serve me those things but only after I asked.

Price: 5/5 – my total bill: 260 pesos ONLY for three dishes, (potato salad, sutamina don, takoyaki) and to be honest, the portions were large enough to satiate me. So yes, I think this price is more than sulit!

Ambience: 5/5 – clean, modern, everything you could ask for a restaurant in a mall. I mean, I wasn’t expecting it to feel like an authentic izakaya or Japanese resto since I’m not in Little Tokyo. I think it’s pretentious to expect a modern Japanese restaurant which is located inside a busy mall, to seem like a quaint traditional tea house, you know? So for it’s aesthetics, I have to say that this meets my expectations. It was clean, the “open kitchen” thing where you see the cooks prepare the meals was cool, and the modern furniture were all suitable and satisfactory. I also appreciate the Japanese songs playing in the background.

Taste: 3.5/5 – this is where it wasn’t much of a superstar. Portion size, yes, Tetsu delivered. But the taste wasn’t really stellar. In fact, the potato salad was quite bland, the miso soup also lacked a bit more flavor, and the sutamina don was quite so-so, in the sense that while the pork was aptly flavored, the rice was cool. So overall, in terms of taste, I feel like it fell short of my expectations.

Overall, my experience with Tetsu was great. I love that their price range is affordable and that the portions were big. Also, I the free Takoyaki is a good addition. However, the taste of the dishes can still be improved, as well as the proactive service from the staff. In spite of those though, I will be sure to come back in this restaurant in the future!

PS: sorry for the lack of pictures. ;'(

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