I really don’t know why it took me this long to realize just how good the food at Chibi’s Kitchen is. Maybe it’s because Japanese restaurants are a dime a dozen. Maybe the cute logo of a pig with one ear folded over made me think it was just just another mediocre Japanese place that regurgitated all the popular favorites, slightly sweetened to accommodate the Filipino palate. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really found a good Japanese restaurant in Las Piñas. With all that being said, let me assure you, Chibi’s is definitely not the typical Japanese restaurant, you’d expect in the south. They actually churn out some really, really, really good food. Las Piñeros, rejoice!
I had just recently discovered Evia City myself, a short drive up Daang Hari, which is a refreshing change from the crowded SM malls that line Alabang-Zapote road. You can’t miss Chibi’s Kitchen on the ground floor, just look for the bright pink piggy. The store is small, decorated with wooden shelves and tables, with a little hideaway on the second floor with a few Japanese cooking books on display for those who want to browse through them while they wait for their food.
Chibi specializes in teishoku, a pre-set meal — a main dish, always with miso soup and a bowl of rice, and it builds from there according the chef’s seasonal fancies. Theirs consists of your main dish, miso soupl salad,and okazu (side dish), which were pickled cucumbers in my case. Sticking to traditional Japanese home-cooked meals, all the dishes were beautifully plated with a clean taste (i.e. not oily), each individual ingredient playing its part in the overall teishoku.
Displayed on some of the shelves are their various drinks – everything from Soda (₱55), to Iced Tea (₱45), to Sapporo (₱130) and other Japanese Drinks (Php 105), which of course, gives you a great visual of what you’d want to pair with your set. Oh, and make sure you IG that big can of Coke while you’re at it! #tastethefeeling
Karaage (₱290) is an exaple of Wafu-Chuka (Chinese-style Japanese) cuisine that literally means “Tang fried” (Tang as in the Chinese dynasty) and is an umbrella term used for any type of chicken that’s coated in either potato starch or flour and fried. Chibi’s does it so well, with just the right amount of garlic with just the right amount of crunch to keep you interested until you realize you’ve finished the entire thing. If you’re feeling fancy, a squeeze of lemon before dipping into the creamy kewpie is always a good idea. After trying this, I totally get why they were voted #1 karaage at Spot.ph.
Gyudon (₱245) is a donburi served as rice topped with beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet sauce flavored with dashi, soy sauce and mirin before being topped with an egg, pickled radishes, and saffron. While most bowls of gyudon look like sad, browned pieces of cardboard that’s been simmered in soy, Chibi’s presentation is quite the opposite, looking very appetizing with pops of color that’ll actually make you want to tuck into the big, beefy bowl of goodness. I’d motorboat that bowl if I could. Fo’ serious.
My favorite out of the lot we had for lunch was Chibi’s Kitchen’s Gindara Teppanyaki (₱390) – grilled premium Japanese black cod marinated in miso sauce is delicious! The cod fillet absorbed the flavor of the miso marinade so that every delightful bite was bursting with savory-sweetness. Nothing was left on the plate after I’d finished with it – not the firm, perfectly broiled filet of gindara, not the perfectly circular teppanyaki sauce that added just enough liquid to make your lips smack in delight, and not the piece of shiso leaf that worked as the perfect garnish but also as a little sushi wrap for the cut up pieces of fish. I swear, the place was so clean I don’t think they’d have needed to wash it afterwards.
I was surprised at just how deceptively simple yet flavorful all the dishes were at Chibi’s Kitchen. Even the salad, which is nothing more than shredded lettuce and carrots doused with a sesame sauce was so good, I asked if I could buy a bottle for myself. As it turns out, they do sell it by the bottle, but were sold out when I dropped by. Damn it.
Stop by for a quick lunch or dinner before checking out Evia’s new cinemas, and buy a pack of Tohato’s Caramel Corn (₱130), a Japanese snack made since 1971 that cheese puffs more than the caramel corn, which then tastes like flavored packing peanuts if you leave them out for too long. At the end of the day,I am pretty chuffed that this authentic Japanese place chose to open in the south, a short drive from where I live. This is definitely one of those simple dining spots to share with friends and family.
Chibi’s Kitchen is located at the Ground Floor of the Everyday Building, Evia Lifestyle Center, Evia City, Las Piñas and is open daily from 11am to 10pm. For inquiries, please call +63 2 887 0148.