Our daughter had raved about this small restaurant called 12/10 in an off-beat location on the fringe of Makati a year ago, and we had been meaning to eat there ever since… She went with friends, all with a limited budget, so while they enjoyed it, I think she knew a more adult budget (read: Mom or Dad’s credit card) might result in an even more pleasurable experience. Patterned after a japanese pub with food known as an izakaya, this kind of fusion Japanese watering hole is hip, young and interesting.
Mrs. MM and I went with another couple, good friends equally serious eaters. We started off with some cocktails, (rather than beer as you might do at a real izakaya), and I must say that my negroni was perfectly crafted. I don’t have cocktails often, but if they were always this good, I’d have one every night. And the little detail that put this drink in my extra good graces? A carefully made near clear chunk of ice that helps to justify the hefty price tag. Earlier photos of drinks from 12/10 on-line clearly show they have used tube ice in the past, so this little bit of extra effort was noted and appreciated. Try making clear solid blocks of ice for your home cocktails these holidays, and see if anyone notices. :)
We ordered almost 80% of dishes on the menu, having been warned earlier of small portions and a shortage of starch. We started off with their version of a spicy tuna salad, doused in panko breadcrumbs, seaweed flakes and a slightly spicy dressing. It was nice, and a riff on a Japanese restaurant favorite, familiar yet new at the same time. We also had a SUPERB, but SUPERB, roasted bone marrow (photo up top) again with the toasted panko to add texture to the silky marrow. We had duck, pork buns, and several orders of chicken wings and fried chicken as well. My photos were horrific in the minimal light, so visuals are lacking.
One of our favorite dishes of the night was some roasted mini-eggplants topped with some greens. The attention to detail again in the garnishes, mincing, chiffonade, sprinkling of cadena de amor blooms was all noted. The flavors were familiar yet new on some dishes at the same time.
This was a superb dish of kobe beef with fresh lychees and deep fried leek stems/roots. The sweetness of the lychees paired surprisingly well with the beef. While each dish at dinner was memorable, some were more memorable than others. After 7-8 dishes I started to notice that many of the flavors, textures and garnishes seemed repeated in several of the dishes, and I suppose you aren’t really supposed to eat 80% of the dishes in one go, but it’s a quibble in that you get “more of the same” sauce/flavor/garnish and it gets a tad tiring to the palate. Having said that, one of the ways it might have been made better was if there was a bit more variety of flavors (sour, salty, bitter, sweet, umami)on offer, to wake the palate up a bit more and stretch the boundaries. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked our meal, I guess I was just gunning for more considering the high quality we were experiencing…
We ended with two orders of this tuna and foie gras onigiri that was superb. Overall, a very, very satisfying meal. Service was attentive and knowledgeable. It was pricey, but delicious. Some reviews on line suggest budgeting PHP750-1,000 per person for dinner and a drink here. I think we ended up closer to PHP2,750++ per person. But we would definitely return, and the next time with daughter in tow, so she can taste more of the menu with Mom/Dad underwriting the experience! :)
7635 Guijo St, San Antonio Village
Makati, Metro-Manila 1203