Jozu Kin: Glittering Gold

Not all that glitters is gold, so they say.  But if I may say so myself, not all that is gold is glitteringly expensive.  Sometimes, a restaurant may appear too extravagant and intimidatingly so, such that some would-be diners shy away, expecting an exorbitant menu.  In addition, at times it's the location that sends us the wrong impression, scaring away the average Joe.

Burgos Circle is a high-end hang-out for the high-life society of Taguig and Makati City.  But its quaint and serene surroundings invites people from all walks of life to revel in this quiet piece of land.  The Circle is nestled in a tucked-away part of BGC, hidden by the tall condos surrounding it.  Surrounding the Circle is a circumference of restaurants, both the familiar and the unique, offering a wide array of food choices.  As expected, most of these shops are also high-end, and the price, of course, follows.  But, there is one Japanese restaurant that, well, glitters, amidst the brilliance of the others.  I did not let myself get intimidated by the high-class feel of Burgos Circle.  (Actually, I already read about Jozu Kin in some food blogs, so I had a hint about their menu.)

We were early for lunch

The facade of Jozu Kin is stoic, yet charming.  The tall brick tower contrasts with the more modern and vibrant glass panels and overhead roof.  I could imagine how the front would look during the night, with its big golden signage outlasting the others.  The interiors however, was another visual treat.  The brick walls exuded a homey yet a classy feel, with black chairs and tables giving off a hip and chic vibe.  Indeed, with the dim lights, it felt more like a gastro-pub rather than a straight-up Japanese restaurant.  It was lunch time though, so no late-night party goers here.  We picked a cozy spot in the upper loft.  Surprisingly, there were already a few diners enjoying their lunch.  I figured Jozu Kin was better populated during the prime time hours.

A dilapidated menu could mean one thing: many diners.

The menu book was unsightly: it was beat-up and crumpled at the edges.  Yet, that could mean only one thing: many diners have returned here.  We quickly browsed the menu, our hunger pangs catching up with us.  We picked a few favorites, uncharacteristically foregoing my favorite gyudon.  I figured a seafood feast for this day was a healthier alternative.  Little did we know that we were soon in for the feast of our lives.

Kani Salad Shooters (free!)

After placing our orders, the attentive wait staff placed an appetizer on the table, compliments of the house.  The Kani Salad shooters was mild yet filled with flavor, the mayonnaise tart yet with a hint of sweetness.  The crab sticks were fresh and crisp.  A very hospitable welcome for hungry couples.

Maguro Togarashi, P258

Soon, one by one, our orders arrived.  She agreed to order one raw dish, a rare event in the universe.  But, we never regretted it.  The critically acclaimed Maguro Togarashi  was surreal.  Fresh, raw, and choice slices of tuna coated with a spicy paste (reminiscent of gochu jang of Korean restos), and then sprinkled liberally with crunchy tempura batter and a zealous drizzling of wasabi mayonnaise.  The creation was perfectly crafted.  The contrasting texture of the softness of the raw tuna and the crispy tempura batter played delightfully on the tongue.  The zing of the wasabi and the spicy paste amped up the flavor.  A fiery start to the meal, this dish raised the standard for the next orders.  Will the rest of our food deliver?

Yasai Itame, P192

In a bid to start a healthy lifestyle, we ordered a vegetable dish.  The Yasai Itame was a teppan grilled mix of bean sprouts, cabbage, diced carrots, and bell peppers, garnished with crunchy string potatoes.  The greens were fresh and crisp, and the teppanyaki sauce was not overpowering.  We didn't finish this order, since unwittingly, we didn't realize our other teppan order had a generous siding of Yasai Itame also.

Rainbow Maki, P245

The Rainbow Maki was art in itself.  The roll was skillfully kept in place by a thin slice of cucumber, salmon, and mackerel.  Each roll was lovingly draped with a generous serving of a special mango cheese sauce.  Although the roll was over-sized by the rice, again the play of flavors stood out.  The distinct taste of cheese complemented the hint of mango sweetness, with the freshness of the salmon and cucumber blending in harmony.  The mere sight of this maki whets the palate.

Salmon Teppanyaki, P311

No, that's not meat.  That's perfectly seared chunky slices of salmon, grilled in a delightful salty-sweet teppanyaki sauce.  A serving of yasai itame accompanied the fish.  The salmon meat was golden on the outside, yet fresh and pink within, oozing with juiciness.  In my opinion, one of the best salmon teppanyaki I have ever tried.  And I'm not even fond of salmon because of its often funky taste, so that says a lot.  This must be second to the version I've tried in the now closed Origami back in Greenbelt.  So now, it's at the top of my list.

Ushi Ebi Tempura, P350

No Japanese restaurant experience would be complete without the ubiquitous tempura.  But, there was nothing ubiquitous about the Jozu Kin version.  The tiger prawns were large and plump, while the breading was just thin enough to coat the goodness within.  The coating was perfectly deep fried yet not too oily.  The prawns themselves were fat and juicy.  For five really humongous pieces, a price tag hovering just around 300 bucks, I'd say this is a definite steal.  And if you're still skeptic about the size of the prawn and the price, take a look at the following picture.

Meal fit for a Jozu King.

See the tempura at the center of the table?  Those are really huge tiger prawns, nearly the length of the chopsticks I'm holding.  Pound-for-pound, the price is worth it.

Cooling off with Fresh Dalandan and Lemonade

For such an upscale location, Jozu Kin is surprisingly reasonable, even affordable.  What was more amazing, was that when I got the bill, there was no service charge.  Yes, you read that right.  I wonder if that was a clerical error, but they did not check the bill again.  If indeed there was no service charge, then there you have it.  Not only that, the service was in fact, quick and precise. The welcome appetizers was a clue to an above-and-beyond type of service.  The wait staff was attentive and cheerful, even during those sleepy lunch-siesta hours.  More so, the manner of presentation of all the dishes exuded a posh and elegant aura, without a hefty price tag.

Jozu Kin is divine, but not extravagant.  It is refined, yet not overly lavish.  It is the perfect spot for a late-night date, a prime location for a get-together with friends, or even just a quick escape for the hungry bar-hopper.  The best-selling Maguro Togarashi and the gargantuan Ebi Tempura are consistent winners and will never fail to impress.  My only complaint?  There is no other branch.  Yet.  There used to be one branch in Ronac Art Center along Ortigas Avenue, but sadly, that closed down.  So, we have to wait in anguish for another to open (hopefully a good location in the south, greedy me!).  And finally, even with the scaling up of prices in everything, I hope Jozu Kin retains its reasonably affordable menu, while keeping loyal to its tenements of kingly service, impeccably executed dishes and fashionably presented creations.

Jozu Kin
Forbes Town Center, Burgos Circle
Fort Bonifacio, Taguig

Disclaimer: This was an incredibly late post, so I'm not sure about the current prices.  Prices quoted above were referenced from  As always, prices are subject to change without prior notice. Damn.

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1 comment:

  1. I ordered the mix tempura kind - the one that has ebi, crab sticks and another one for the mixed tempura. It was excellently crispy outside and also soft inside. It was so good I ordered another plate of ebi tempura. It also had this fan like tempura that is also interesting to eat. It must have been some noodle strings turned tempura. Their tempura is the best I've ever had!