Lunch with colleagues at Tori Chizu

Original post entry in my food blog: August 16, 2018

Japan's political and trade interactions with the western world in the 19th century, particularly during the Meiji restoration, brought a plethora of influences on its culinary practices.

Tori Chizu in Eastwood City Walk  

In a country where food preparation is considered an artistry, repackaging a foreign food into perfection is truly a masterpiece.

The meticulous Japanese chefs reinvented recipes out of this western influence by infusing oriental ingredients and applying their own style of preparing dishes to create special delicatessen they could claim their own.

Who would ever think Doria and Hambagu steak are not authentic Japanese creations? These unique recipes, known as Yoshoku dishes, are what Tori Chizu is trying to introduce to the foodies in the Philippines.

Yoshoku is not a specific meal in the menu list of Tori Chizu, but it is a Japanese term for a special recipe technique influenced by western dishes and perfecting it into "washoku" or Japanese food. Yoshoku in layman's term means "western influenced dishes".
Tori Chizu, a Japanese restaurant known for its cheesy Doria (a fusion of Japanese baked rice, melted mozzarella cheese and bechamel sauce), takes Yoshoku into a whole new level of delish flavors, combining authentic Japanese recipes and western ingredients.

This artistry in food preparation provided diners with distinct selections of Japanese comfort food.

Chicken Teriyaki Doria

Doria comes in a number of varieties and flavors, and Tori Chizu so far is the first Japanese restaurant in the Philippines to offer this kind of Yoshoku dish.

This is one of the Yoshoku recipes that originated in Europe and considered a French staple.

However, though this recipe traced its origin in France, the one who concocted this fusion was an Italian chef, Signiore Doria. It was then introduced to Japan in later century by a  French chef.

Spicy Tomato Shrimp Doria

Japanese Doria is the highlight of the menu of Tori Chizu. And its signature selection, the chicken teriyaki doria, is where the name of the restaurant stems.

Teriyaki-infused chicken (Tori) with overloaded cheese (chizu) has been touted to have how the restaurant came up with such name.

Chicken Teriyaki Doria

I've been to a number of Japanese restaurants in the metro and quite familiar with Japanese dishes but have not tried this Doria concoction.

I was also wondering how the food selections gonna taste if melted cheese is blended into the rice sizzling in oven. Sounds interesting!

Hambagu Steak Tomato and Garlic

Been planning for months to try any of Tori Chizu's cheesy fares after I saw it in the poster, so I suggested it to my colleagues, Carlo, Joliver, Mikko, Aya and Reyn, when the boys asked me two weeks ago to have a lunchout with them by August 15. 😜😄

Last Wednesday, finally, we gave it a go. It was a mid-morning when we had a lunchout, atmosphere was warm, so having to walk for almost 30 minutes in the city walk sounded like a terrible ordeal.

But the effort was all worth it.

Tori Chizu in Eastwood

The restaurant has a vibrant interior with hot peach and caramel hues that relaxed our mood for a warm brunch.

It's always good to dine outside with colleagues whom you could share humor and comfortable conversation with, it makes the dining experience more gratifying.

While gazing at the menu, my eyes darted at the Doria selections and a bit intrigued with Chicken Teriyaki Baked Rice.

It's Tori Chizu's signature dish and sounded palatable. So I settled with this selection. I like teriyaki recipe and the presence of creaminess added excitement.

Wednesday lunch out with colleagues

Chicken Teriyaki Doria is a fusion of baked rice covered with sizzling melted mozzarella cheese, bechamel sauce,  sprinkled with green onions and served in a hot plate/pan. A bubbling melted cheese in a hot plate with rice sounded mind blowing.

But when I took my first bite it felt as though I had tasted something I should not suppose to devour, the dish failed to capture my difficult palate.

Perhaps, due to pungent spices, but I find it a little unpleasant. I didn't like the combination of chicken teriyaki and melted cheese.

With Aya and Reyn

I find the recipe too bland and not flavorful enough to entice my usual Japanese taste bud.

In fact, I had mistaken the balls of chicken Teriyaki for tocino or chorizo, it was too sweet, something that did not compliment the salty flavor of mozzarella cheese.

But I love cheese, I like creamy food more than anything else so the whole Doria experience was quite okay but something that wouldn't make me go back to grab another bite again.

I figured, Doria concoctions should be eaten hot to savor the real taste of melted cheese and rice gratin. And experience the gooey cheese, otherwise it will turn tacky when the recipe cool down.

Aya and Reyn ordered the Spicy Tomato Shrimp Doria, a spicy number that seems to overpower the goodness of the melted cheese. But Aya and Reyn assured me the recipe tasted really flavorful.

On the other hand, Mikko, Carlo and Joliver opted for Hambagu Steaks, something I understood because Mikko is not into cheesy food.

Hambagu is another Yoshoku dish reinvented by the Japanese chefs from the western's Hamburger, infusing oriental flavors and adding some oriental flavors on it. 

The boys vouched the goodness of the recipe. And from the look on their faces, I guess, yeah, Hambagu Steak was equally satisfying as Doria selections.

Doria highlights popular Japanese dishes like Kani Takoyaki, Yakiniku and Curry fares. Flavors are not too strong and the presence of fresh cheese sizzling on the baked rice entices appetite.

But diners might get some overpowering spicy tones and the "too westernized" bechamel sauce. Something that should be expected when devouring Yoshoku dishes.

Apart from Chicken Teriyaki Doria (Php145.00) and Spicy Tomato Shrimp Baked Rice (Php155.00), other Doria concoctions available at Tori Chizu are Chizu Curry (Php155), Beef Yakiniku (Php175), Kani Takoyaki (Php155.00) and Sesame Chicken (Php155.00).

Japanese Doria might not be your typical oriental dish due to the influence of western flavors infused on the recipe but the blanket of melted cheese spread on the ubiquitous fares wipes off repugnance and can even help stimulate appetite.

Japanese Doria is a fusion of delicate spices and baked rice covered with the goodness of mozzarella cheese. Toppings come in different varieties, from chicken, shrimp, bacon to creamy dory. The melted cheese boosted the creaminess of the baked rice.
Hambagu steak

Another yoshoku dish introduced by Tori Chizu is the Hambagu Steaks. Premium burger steak mixed with Japanese rice and egg drizzled with gravy. I haven't tasted it but the boys said it was great and very savory.

Hambagu Steaks have selections in different recipe flavors. Swiss Cheese and Mushroom, Tomato and Garlic and Bacon and Pineapple.

Each selection is complete with rice, egg, gravy and topped with burger steak. Just like Doria, Hambagu meals are served on a hot plate and have enormous servings.

For diners who don't like Doria and Hambagu Steaks, you may opt to just stick to all-time traditional Japanese favorites like Mazemen, a broth-less ramen topped with egg.

There's umami-styled friend chicken, which is very affordable at Php89.00 for one piece and a cup of rice. Donburi meals, pasta, sandwich and some side dishes, miso soup and soft-serve iced cream are also available.

Interior of Tori Chizu in Eastwood

Tori Chizu might not be a type of a Japanese restaurant that I will keep getting back when I am hungry but their Doria fares are must-try and the melted cheese coating the baked rice is something that gives you a kick of comfort.

This Tori Chizu branch is located at the Ground level of A2-D Citywalk2, Eastwood, Libis, Quezon City. Opens at 10:00AM and closes at 2:00AM.