When all-you-can-eat comes to mind, places like Vikings and most hotel restaurants come to mind. I always love going to eat at unlimited buffets, unfortunately more often than not, I tend to overeat because it's so hard *not* to pig out. #BaboyProblems LOL anyways, today's review is all about one of my new favorite restaurants: the Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant!
Yurakuen takes much larger space than you might think, this is the regular dining area which is for guests who're going for their a la carte menu. A bit sad that we didn't get to eat in this beautiful area because it's just so pretty! Next time, hopefully.
Before you get to the a la carte area, you pass by the unlimited teppanyaki stations. This is where you dine if you're availing the all-you-can-eat dining experience!
Instead of the usual humungous spread most buffets have, you have this menu with only a few dishes to choose from and they will serve as many of the dishes that you want! Choices include classic sushi, sashimi, as well as a few maki choices, then you also have a choice of meats and seafood ;from chicken, beef, and lamb, as well as seafood that'll blow your mind!
Four different sauces are given to you. The leftmost is refreshingly tangy and is perfect with seafood, the next one is for the vegetable dishes, the one with the floating garlic has a bit of spicy undertones if you want your seafood to taste a bit spicier, but it's pretty mild so I personally didn't get it. The rightmost is one we all know well: light soy sauce!
The first thing we ordered was the salmon and tuna sashimi. Kind of wishing we had more! Haha! It was definitely fresh and great as most sashimi dishes are.
Then, we had the California Maki (left) and the Dragon Roll (right), which were lovely as well. Surprisingly, they even found a great way to make California Maki. Including some fresh sliced veggies in the roll made all the difference! The Dragon Roll is a bit smokier in flavor and the tempura just adds such lovely texture and makes it all the more delicious!
After ordering the dishes that you want, they prepare it and lay it all out by the counter while we wait for the chef!
We also ordered some lovely flying fish roe sushi! I've never had this before, but it was great! It basically feels like so many eggs popping with every bite! Haha! I hope I get to try the sushi with the really big fish roe like the ones in anime series.
When the chef finally arrived, he did a quick greet and introduced himself. Immediately after, he pours a little oil, wine, and then throws a lit match and BAM. The show starts.
I didn't expect for the cooking to be quite theatrical. We were incredibly lucky to have Chef Carlos as our chef because he was absolutely awesome! He was flipping things, drumming the salt and pepper grinder. It was definitely a gastronomical experience to remember!
He started with the vegetable stir-fry. He cooked it in some soy sauce, butter, garlic, and oil, as well as a dash of salt and pepper, all the while never losing focus and the theatricality.
Flavor-wise, the vegetable stir-fry was amazing! You wouldn't expect something cooked so simply would taste so good! I love how clean the flavors tasted and how nothing felt artificial and overdone. Dipped in the vegetable sauce, the stir-fry becomes a lot tastier. I never knew I could appreciate vegetable stir-fry so much! Haha!
When eating at Yurakuen, ORDER THE SCALLOPS. I can't even begin to explain how humungous they are. Imported all the way from New Zealand, Yurakuen serves the biggest scallops you'll ever see in your life. No joke.
Everything was cooked in almost the same way as the vegetables with a few tweaks here and there. With the shrimp, the chef added a few slices of spring onions for added aroma.
Again, the shrimp was pretty dang good. Loved how it tasted with the tangy seafood sauce!
As for the scallops, it was sprinkled with a few chives and cooked in the same way.
Now, this dish definitely tasted amazing. And to this day, I still can't get over how huge they were! Definitely order this when you drop by! :D
The salmon fillet was pan-seared to perfection and topped with stir-fried garlic. Again, delicious.
When it came to cooking the meat, Chef Carlos cooked them quite literally in the flames, which was sooo cool!
The beef tenderloin was overcooked a bit which was a surprise. But that could partly be because my dad asked for it medium well. A teeny bit rarer next time, perhaps, but regardless, it was pretty yummy!
No surprise there, the lamb is definitely my favorite. It was cooked with salt and pepper, oil, butter, garlic, and my favorite of all, mint jelly! Usually, mint jelly is served with lamb and beef as a sauce or a dip, so I was pleasantly surprised when Chef Carlos sauteed it into the lamb chops!
The lamb was HEAVENLY. I literally drool looking at it because it brings back such fond memories. *Such vivid memories* It was amazing since I absolutely love the taste of grilled lamb and I didn't realize how amazing it would taste with mint jelly infused into the mix! A must-try, guys. A must-try.
Our last entree was the yakisoba which is basically stir-fried noodles. Succeeding the lamb, it came out with a hard dish to match. Even still, the yakisoba is delicious and certainly the best yakisoba I've had!
For dessert, you have a lot of flavors of ice cream to choose from: Chocolate, Almond, Raspberry, and Vanilla. They're all quite wonderful, but they're not as amazing as the usual ice cream one might have at Cold Stone's, Gelatissimo, or any famous ice cream place. Regardless, the ice cream was pretty yummy. Though they aren't as creamy as I would've liked it, I liked how the ice cream did not taste artificial at all but I strangely liked the grainy texture, which strangely reminded me a bit of almond meal. My favorites are the almond and chocolate flavors. :)
I honestly can't wait until I return to Yurakuen! I love that it isn't as far from home as most places are since it's just in the Diamond Hotel at Roxas Boulevard. When you're looking for a refreshing change from the usual all-you-can-eat buffet, you should definitely try out Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant!
Yurakuen Japanese Restaurant is located at the Diamond Hotel, Roxas Boulevard, Manila.