Hot mocha, P95
The very first time I ate at Tokyo Bubble Tea (SM Megamall) was a long time ago, when we had our Japinoy moderating team meeting. I remembered I had pizza but cannot recall how it tasted. So when they opened a branch at The Fort, I knew I had to visit.
Long lines, however, kept me from doing so, until late last month. Finally!
The store is not too spacious, and since Tokyo Bubble Tea is quite popular, you can imagine how long the lines get at all hours of the day.
But my friend Core and I managed to get a nice, large spot one Friday afternoon. Talk about lucky.
I love how everything in Tokyo Bubble Tea exudes “kawaii”. From the pastel-colored interior, to the wall decorations, to the staff uniform, even to the fonts used in the menu. Young, cool, hip.
Milk tea king
Tokyo Bubble Tea serves a wide variety of Japanese-Western fusion food and drinks. But the undeniable star of the menu is the tapioca tea. They serve many kinds in at least 2 sizes — milk tea, tea slush, plain green or black, hot or cold. In fact, their tea selection occupies the entire front page of their large print menu.
I am not exactly a tea person, so I opted for a hot mocha instead (P95 for a cup). It was OK, nothing spectacular. Which is understandable, since coffee is not their specialty. Core had a medium-sized Japanese green milk tea for P115.
What makes Tokyo Bubble Tea a cut above the others serving bubble drinks is their tapioca (more popularly known as pearls or bubbles). Where ordinary tapioca drinks serve pearls that are too mushy or too difficult to chew, Tokyo Bubble Tea’s is perfectly chewy and even slightly sweet, which I really love. You don’t get the burned taste that you sometimes get with ordinary brands.
Beyond tea and bubbles
I don’t know why they took pizza off their menu. But I didn’t mind, because their food selection is almost as big as the beverage one.
The extensive menu has everything from sandwiches to noodles to rice meals. They even have okonomiyaki (a cross between a Japanese pizza and pancake). Goodness knows how difficult it is to find great okonomiyaki in Manila (the best one being at Kagura in Little Tokyo, Makati). And chicken doria and curry rice! Makes my mouth water just typing that down!
We ordered yakitori for a light merienda. For P175, you get 3 sticks of Japanese barbecued chicken and a veggie salad on the side. The yakitori is quite big. The chicken pieces are very tender and juicy, generously basted with sweet barbecue sauce. The only thing I didn’t like was that the shiitake (mushrooms) pieces were a tad too big, making them a little difficult to chew. The side salad is a favourite of mine, which I make all the time: lettuce, cucumber, corn and sweet Kewpie mayonnaise (you don’t suppose they used Kewpie Half, do you?).
For lunch a few days later, I went back to order takoyaki – octopus-filled batter balls topped with Japanese mayo, katsuobushi (bonito fish flakes) and sweet tonkatsu sauce. Yes, I am takoyaki-deprived too. For P175, I got 8 pieces of takoyaki with the same veggie salad. Unlike other takoyaki that are too “airy” inside, Tokyo Bubble Tea’s are quite hefty. It doesn’t feel as if you are biting a small balloon, haha. However, I think the tako inside are the same size as the other brands of takoyaki. Still, very filling. In fact, I was only able to eat the salad and half of the takoyaki. The rest, I gave to my friend Jinbei for a late snack. This serving is good enough for a snack for 2 people.
Takoyaki with veggie salad, P175 (sorry, the mayo and sauce have all gone watery and messy. I had this as a takeaway)
Will I go back? You bet! I already have a list of the things I want to eat: doria, unagi, tonkatsu curry, gyuudon, tonkatsu omurice, mango black tea, inferno sushi mix. The list goes on much longer — the big problem now is which item (items?) I am going to order first!
Tokyo Bubble Tea
U1 The Fort Residences Building,
Bonifacio Global City, Taguig