Check Out This Affordable Japanese Food Joint: Katsu Cafe Banawe

Katsu Cafe has now become one of my better alternatives in getting delicious yet affordable Japanese food.

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I do believe that most people love Japanese food. Although surely, there might still be some who does not fancy eating raw fish and sushi. But in this case, how about trying some Katsuretsu Sets instead?

Katsuretsu Sets, or simply Katsu Sets, have become more popular these days, since a lot of restaurants have made it as the main highlights on their menus. This is composed of any breaded cutlet of fish, meat, or seafood, laid on a strainer type of plate (which keeps it from getting oily and soggy underneath), served with some fresh and thinly sliced cabbage with dressing, miso soup, Japanese rice and a yummy serving of sauces depending on the type of katsu (either soy sauce or tonkatsu sauce).

If you are looking for some far more affordable options on where to eat some yummy Katsu Sets, then Katsu Cafe is what you are looking for. They also offer Don Buri, Curry Rice, and other ala carte dishes which you might have cravings for. Drinks like coffee, soda and iced tea is also served when you order. And much like some of your favorite Japanese restaurant, they also offer unlimited rice for their Katsuretsu Sets as well.

Katsu Cafe, which has its first branch situated in Katipunan, Quezon City, was brought about by a group of friends who has the love for eating Japanese food. After Katsu Cafe's opening on October 2012, they now opened their second branch in Banawe, Quezon City, which I consider as one of the melting pots for Asian food. It's a long street in Quezon City where you can find a lot of restaurants, mostly from cuisines based in Taiwan, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Singapore and India.

So me along with my food trip buddy headed to their newest Banawe branch (which is quite bigger than the Katipunan branch) and tried two of their bestsellers: Gyudon and the Tonkatsu Set.

Katsu Cafe Banawe just opened last February 17, 2013, so it's just almost a month after operations.
It's a very rustic but homey establishment, and its interiors are quite similar to their branch at Katipunan.

As soon as I entered the establishment, there are a lot of customers. Surely it boasts of a cafe vibe because of their soothing house music. Usually, Katsu Cafe's crowd are comprised of families. We went here on a Sunday lunch time, but even on weekdays, they say that they always have a lot of customers coming in to dine. Impressive!

Most of the customers at Katsu Cafe Banawe Branch love their shrimp tempura.

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Each table at Katsu Cafe Banawe has simple condiments like these authentic chili powder and chili sesame oil.

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As-tall-as-the-wall display structure for their drinks and sodas in can, which in the meantime, acts like a center of attraction for all customers at Katsu Cafe.

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Look through the chic bamboo type walls and there they have 3 separate VIP areas, each good for about 8 to 10 people. Katsu Cafe Banawe can accommodate up to 30 people since these 3 VIP areas is only separated through adjustable dividers. This is great for intimate parties. I was thinking that this is a good idea for baby showers and christenings as well.

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Food is being prepared after you order, so you are sure to have freshly cooked Japanese food as soon as it arrives. We waited for quite a while, so if you are in a hurry, please don't expect fast food at Katsu Cafe Banawe.

The first thing that we were served is this cute little sauce bowl with creases inside that acts as a mini grinder. Deliciously toasty and nutty black and white sesame seeds were getting jiggy in unison using this cute little wooden stick.

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So after a few minutes, here goes my excitement, my Gyudon order came. This is how it looked like as soon as you get it.

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The Gyudon Bowl at Katsu Cafe is huge! It was an almost filled bowl of hot Japanese rice, beef gyudon with some fresh mushrooms, topped with an egg (for which, all I can see right at that time was the eggyolk) and some green onions.

The miso soup, on the other hand, is not your typical miso soup with tofu. They have some kelp with it which makes it more authentic. The tofu cubes are quite small but enough to fill you up. I mean, how can you complain about not being filled up when you got this heavy bowl full of rice and meat in front of you?

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The rice was not overcooked at all, though the beef, you might think that it's not enough to compensate the rice. The trick here is to mix everything together. I topped the Gyudon Bowl with some of the chili oil and chili powder to add in some more flavor and heat. As soon as I got my first taste, it was delicious with smooth and almost melt-in-your-mouth state textures. I loved it. Needless to say, I finished the bowl. Gyudon Amateur Finisher Star unlocked!

The Katsuretsu Set came in a bit later after I already started eating my Gyudon. Yes, I know, you might be thinking "OH so Nines doesn't know how to wait for others to get their food before she eats. No no no."

Here's the thing: I have a habit of eating very slow. And my companion eats quite fast because he's a big guy. This is usually normal for my food trips with him and my close friends. So as much as it looks that I am defensive, it's just a simple way of making a hint to tell my readers who I really am at times.

So, going back! Here is the Tonkatsu Set that my friend ordered. Like I described earlier, here is how they serve it at Katsu Cafe. I can't wait to taste it!

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We both have a thing for heat, which is why he did the same thing of putting a lot of chili powder and chili oil on his tonkatsu cutlets.

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I do love thick, breaded pork cutlets that makes up a damn good Pork Tonkatsu. I instantly fall in love to any establishment who is able to serve Pork Tonkatsu with this quality. It looks as if the breading makes it more thicker, but the meat does that job perfectly. Freshly made. Evenly cooked. Thick. Succulent. Juicy and sweet. Whew. This cutlet is no faker at all.

I even tried a few pieces of tonkatsu with the gyudon that I ordered. Ooh la la. No need for any further explanation.

The way the cabbage was sliced also made it more flavorful as soon as you spread the dressing over it. a bit sour and a bit sweet for my palate, like a coleslaw, and it balances out the meatiness so it's a great siding too.

Maybe I am not the one who deserves to teach everyone on how to eat your Katsus the right way, but usually it depends on you. It's either one mixes the sauce into the small bowl with sesame seeds. Or you can dip the meat on the sesame seeds first and then on the sauce. Or in our case, we just placed the sesame seeds on the cute bowl of thick sweet/savory sauce and mixed it with that cute little bended spoon.

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The verdict? I wanna go back here. Soon! I do hope that they maintain the cleanliness of their stores and the quality of their food that makes people go back for more at Katsu Cafe. I just wish that they come up with a way to have simple desserts soon though.

But most of all, the prices are super affordable. Me and my friend have had enough food to fill our tummies for less than 500 pesos. Now isn't that just sweet?

With all the good news that I have just mentioned above, let me share with you the best news of all! In a few weeks time, Katsu Cafe is set to open their third branch at (drum roll please) MAGINHAWA QC (i just had to shout it hehe)! And that's three stores in less than a year, so how cool is that! I'm sure they can get more patrons at this location as well.

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To check out Katsu Cafe's complete and current menu as well as other contact information,
please visit their page below. Like and share!
Official Katsu Cafe Facebook Page


  1. hi, did you know that katsu cafe have new dishes?

  2. Hi Anonymous! I wasn't able to come back to Katsu Cafe because of my busy schedule, but I did check out their Facebook Page and yes, they do have new dishes indeed.

    It surely makes me wanna go back for some of their delicious katsu sets! *drool*

    Thanks for the comment! :))