It was just a week ago that I posted an article about the buffet at the Mandarin Oriental here in Manila, and it wasn’t long before I found myself in another “eat-all-you-can” buffet. But, this time around, you can “cook-all-you-can” too. The place is called Yakimix, and it’s driving Manila crazy.
People usually don’t like to be kept waiting, and in places like Manila’s malls, where good restaurants sit side by side, people would just turn their backs and look for the next best thing if the waiting queue gets too long. However at Yakimix, you’ll see the waiting queue go up to more than 40 (and that’s not just people, that’s groups). You would normally expect people who’ve been waiting for a table, for more than half-an-hour, to start to get irritable, and demanding, but here everyone sat quietly by the sidelines, patiently waiting for their turn to get a table, as if they’re under some spell that makes then impervious to “bad vibes”, such as hunger and hot-headedness. People in the queue are actually losing an hour or more of their precious weekends, and they seem to be okay with it. Now, if that is not crazy, then I don’t know what is.
So what’s in this place that makes people forget time? “Time is gold”, as they say, but there must be something here that’s worth more than gold, and in the Philippines only one thing is more precious than anything else…good food.
Yakimix, as the name implies, is primarily about Japanese cuisine (“yaki” being common among Japanese dishes such as teriyaki, teppanyaki, yakitori, etc.). However, they also have traces of Korean and Chinese here and there, plus an attractive dessert station that clearly has the Filipino sweet tooth in mind.
In terms of the sheer amount of food presented to the guests, Yakimix’s buffet wasn’t nearly as varied as those in upscale hotels, and wasn’t even close to the mass-market Dad’s. However, their biggest appeal is that the guests are given the chance to cook their own food, and they can cook as much as they like, provided they can eat it (and not burn it).
Each dining table has a Japanese grill in the middle, and the buffet table has an abundance of raw beef, seasoned in various ways, plus some pork, chicken and even shrimp and squid, in various forms of preparation. Here’s diners can live out their Iron Chef fantasies, outdoing others within their party for the best Yakiniku. Just be careful though not to burn yours, as other tables will definitely smell who hasn’t spent enough time in the kitchen.
This is one of the few places on Earth where you would pay so you could cook, but food in this place is undoubtedly better than what you’re paying for. And, grilling infront of family and friends is so much fun, you just can’t help but find yourself cooking to your heart’s content.
* We dined at Yakimix last September 2011. All photos taken with Panasonic Lumix LX5.