This Unassuming Izakaya In Salcedo Village Offers Japanese Street Food Fare That’s Surprisingly Good
With so many great food concepts and restaurants set to open in Metro Manila in the near future, it’s easy to bypass the unheralded, hole-in-the-wall type eateries that just don't have the marketing moolah to announce their arrival in a big way. One such place would be 102 Izakaya, found on the 2nd floor of 102 Valero Street in Salcedo Village, Makati. Open for less than a year, it’s basically a Japanese pub concept, hence the izakaya moniker, serving excellent street food that’s very reasonably priced.
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With its chill, very informal ambiance, 102 Izakaya could serve as a Japanese-style bar or pub with the added attraction of tasty food that you would normally find in joints charging so much more for this kind of quality and preparation. Managing partner LA Valles and Japanese chef Edo-San put together the menu that highlights the kind of street food you find in major Japanese cities such as Osaka.
The Salmon Carpaccio and Salmon Aburi were the first menu items I tasted, and as variants, the two provided an excellent introduction to the kind of food 102 Izakaya has on offer. The garnishing, the little touches in presentation, belie the casual atmosphere of the eatery. I also loved the very fresh Tofu and Seaweed Salad.
Tofu and Seaweed Salad
The Ebi Aburi has sweet potato shavings sprinkled on top of the ebi. And while I don’t have a photo of the Edo-San Special, it truly was special, made with unagi, kani, mango, cucumber, shrimp, and ebiko. This is one of those special menu items where each bite promises a mélange of flavors and textures.
The Beef Usuyaki stuffed with chopped shiitake mushrooms will be my go-to protein fix when I return, which will happen very soon. For those seeking ramen and udon, you’ll also find these noodle dishes on the very diverse menu. However, it’s not one of those crazy ‘everything including the kitchen sink’ menus; rather it has a smart yakitori selection, complemented by exciting new creations and Japanese standards. The restaurant even has lunch specials that approximate the bento box options you’d find in other Japanese eateries.
I love how LA related the very DIY way that 102 Izakaya came to life, and continues to be run. I noticed origami cranes hanging from one section of the ceiling, and LA said it was the staff who used pages from Japanese magazines to create the paper figures. Similarly, as the place was packed the night we ate there, I loved how LA himself buckled down to clear and clean a table that had just been vacated for a group waiting outside.
102 Izakaya is one of those great finds that you just stumble upon, as you don’t hear much about it. But with its very reasonable price points, you are amply rewarded.
2/F ACCM Building, 102 Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City, (02) 838-7591
Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng
Lead images from @102Izakaya