Opening Hours: 11:00 A.M. – 11:00 P.M.
If you've visited Glorietta 4's Food Choices (just below the cinemas) from January 2016 onwards, chances are you've noticed the newly opened restaurant on the block: Gyoza Bar. It's an offshoot of the larger Osaka Ohsho restaurants, which are located in SM Megamall and SM North EDSA.
To give a little background, Osaka Ohsho claims to be the "King of Gyoza." Currently, they have more than 400 outlets all over Asia, but debuted in the Philippines only last February 2014. Their second branch opened in SM North EDSA on December 2015, followed by the one in Glorietta.
Unlike its mother restaurant, however, Gyoza Bar caters to the busy, budget-conscious crowd. The food selection is smaller, and the prices are easier on the wallet. Whether that affects the quality of their offerings in any way — well, let's just get on to the review to find out.
Gyoza Bar's location isn't much to write home about, to be honest. It's obvious that Food Choices has seen better days, and the ambience of the place could be improved. Still, if you're lucky enough to get a clean table with a good view of Glorietta Complex, you'd want to take that chance.
Also, once you've made an order, you don't have to sit too close to the Gyoza Bar outlet. They hand you a numbered pager, which lights up once your order is ready.
To try a little bit of everything, we had the Gyoza Set (Php122), which comes with chahan (fried rice), yakisoba (fried noodles), miso soup, and gyoza (dumplings).
As for the meals themselves, though, they're fast food through-and-through. The yakisoba and miso soup were just okay. You can find better versions of those in other, more upscale Japanese restaurants.
Meanwhile, the chahan felt a little lacking. It didn't have any protein sources, like shrimp or pork bits, to break up the uniform texture of the rice. Also, there was a somewhat stale quality to it.
For some reason, the gyoza wasn't served with sauce. Typically, you dip it into a mixture of garlic, ginger, green onions, red pepper flakes, rice vinegar, sesame oil and soy sauce. They probably thought it redundant, considering the gyoza already had most of those ingredients anyway.
For the drinks, we had a cup of House Blend Iced Tea (Php50).
Also, when we asked for a straw, we weren't given one because it was "prohibited." We imagine it has something to do with Makati City's "No Plastics" rule, but couldn't they have substituted with paper straws instead?
If you expected this to be on the same level as the usual "Osaka Ohsho" offerings, you'll be disappointed. But if you want a light yet filling meal that's easy on the wallet, and within walking distance from anywhere in the CBD, then this one hits the spot just fine.
The staff manning the counter were friendly. We didn't get the impression that they were just "going through the motions" at all. They also weren't pushy about their most expensive offerings — like most restaurants tend to be — which was refreshing. We even heard them joke among themselves every now and then.
It did take a while — about 10 to 15 minutes — for the orders to arrive, though. That and the bit about the straws earlier were our only real complaints about Gyoza Bar's service.
Being one of the dozens of outlets in Food Choices, it's inevitable for Gyoza Bar to get lost in the crowd. It's also inevitable of it to be associated with easy comfort food, considering its location.
However, it could do a better job of living up to the "Osaka Ohsho" name. Since the brand markets itself as the top gyoza maker in the world, that's bound to set up high expectations for its food. And when those expectations aren't met — well, Internet users aren't exactly known for their kindness when writing reviews.
Anyway, we hope they can improve their offerings, without bumping up their wallet-friendly prices too much. If they can do that, even this branch in a tiny corner of Glorietta can work wonders not only for the mother company's bottom line, but also for the tummies of Filipino gyoza lovers.