There's a sashimi boat for P500, a big bowl of chicken karaage to share for P299, and a signature tableside Takoyaki that's 16 pieces for P300. A feast here at Kenshin Japanese Izakaya Restaurant is a definitely a steal, and yes--the flavors all hit the spot, too.
Kenshin isn't the first restaurant venture of owner Jaime Antonio 'Ayi' Beech -- he first opened a restobar that has been in operations for 14 years now. But he also wanted to put up another establishment with his business partner, and as the partner is Japanese, they decided to look no further than Japanese food.
Kenshin is named after Kenshin Himura of Rurouni Kenshin/Samurai X fame -- the Japanese manga, anime, and live action film. And while it is named after the reformed assassin, the restaurant itself is about the down home comfort of Japanese food we've grown fond of, and top hits that won't break the bank. The third outlet of Kenshin is just a short walk away from Little Tokyo, yet it draws in crowds most especially during evenings -- a testament that their value for money offerings make them that restaurant you'll soon be calling a regular on your eating out list.
"My first concern was pricing," Ayi shares, "because Japanese food here can be good but really expensive, or it's cheap but bad. So I was telling them to concentrate on costing and quality. It's a bit tight, but kaya naman." And this is exactly what draws in the crowds in all their three branches -- customers are served straight up delicious food -- simple and straightforward Japanese, without putting a dent in the wallet. Your 500 Pesos here goes a long, long way, especially if you dine in large groups and order their dishes for sharing. Easy favorites for appetizers are their sushi rolls (nothing over P300!), gyoza, karaage, and takoyaki.
"Until now, our best seller is the takoyaki," Ayi shares to us. The Japanese octopus-filled snacks here are always served fresh, because it is served tableside and guests get to make it themselves. It's delicious, it's fresh, and it's hot (be warned--it's very hot so let them cool for a bit before taking a bite), and only costs 300 Pesos for 16 pieces of the dumplings. Don't dine at Kenshin without experiencing their Takoyaki!
Another Kenshin specialty that you should not miss is their Taki Niku Nabe, one of the many versions of Japanese-style hotpot. Here, kyushu style thinly sliced beef are allowed to simmer in a broth for a short while, and once cooked, you get to enjoy it with an assortment of dipping sauces. It's fresh and tastes healthy and comforting, and this dish for sharing costs less than 700 Pesos--another steal!
For a quick lunch or for solo diners, your cravings can be satisfied well here with their set meals, noodle bowls, and rice dishes. Their gyudon, katsudon, and karaage don don't go beyond P250, and the same can be said about their curry rice meals in beef and in katsudon variants. Set meals go for less than P300 each, and they offer sets with tempura, tonkatsu, sukiyaki, and chicken teriyaki that come with rice, soup, sides, and dessert. For noodle soup lovers, try their spicy Tan-Tan Ramen, which is suprisingly good for its price, and for a more filling meal, have their Ramen & Maki Set that combines your choice of ramen with an order of California Roll.
Before calling an end to your affordable feast at Kenshin, make sure to tuck in some dessert because again, their selection of sweets are affordable and comforting. Assorted parfaits and scoops of ice cream are available (the matcha is recommended), but for a classic wagashi experience, get the dessert that combines chewy mochi and sweet azuki (red bean paste) with mixed fruit. It's simple but delivers different kinds of delightful textures and sweetness when everything comes together.
Visit Kenshin Japanese Izakaya Restaurant in their branches located at Beacon Makati (Arnaiz Ave.), Linear Makati (Yakal), and Vista Mall Las Piñas. Follow Kenshin on Instagram (@kenshin_ph) and Facebook (/kenshin.ph) for more information.