As a foodie, one of the things I’ve always admired about the Japanese is their ability to seamlessly incorporate Western elements into their dishes. I am a lover of traditional Japanese food, but I can’t deny the creativity that a touch of Western influence can bring to a familiar Japanese dish. Many Japanese chefs have been doing this fusion for a long time, but I’m glad that the rest of the world is catching up.
Tori Chizu is a great example of a restaurant that has cleverly latched onto this trend. Their specialty is the doria, aka Japanese baked rice. But we’re not just talking about any random baked rice here- in each plate of doria, you are promised delicious Japanese flavors plus a very cheesy experience.
Tori Chizu makes their doria with a layer of rice and your choice of meat, then they cover all that up with béchamel sauce and cheese before putting in the oven to bake. Since the doria is served inside the cast iron skillet used to cook it in, the cheese is still bubbling when the plate is brought to your table. All it takes is that first scoop to get that delightful cheese-pull. Always a highlight with any cheesy dish!
Looking at their offerings, it did not come as a shock to me that the place was packed to the rafters on a Sunday. They seem to have the perfect mix of food to attract the Pinoy palate. The doria aside, they’ve got fried chicken and a special kind of burger. Oh and let’s not forget the soft serve.
Of course, looking at the menu is one thing and trying out the food is another matter entirely, so I’ll be sharing with you what we ate during our visit to Tori Chizu. Before I go into the details of each dish, here’s a little peek into our Tori Chizu experience:
Tori Chizu Original Chicken Doria (Php 145)
The name of the restaurant stems from this signature dish composed of teriyaki-coated chicken (tori) and lots of cheese (chizu). It is a mixture of sweet and salty flavors, but I think the sweetness of the teriyaki can be too overpowering at times. Teriyaki isn’t my first choice when I order in Japanese restaurants so this wasn’t a personal favorite, but I was impressed by the quality of the juicy teriyaki chicken balls atop the cheesy baked rice.
Spicy Tomato Shrimp Doria (Php 155)
I have to admit I was very excited about this one because it had tomatoes, chili, and shrimp– three things I quite like. Upon first taste, I found that this had a very strong taste. Every spoonful would give you the punchy, tangy taste of tomatoes with a kick of spiciness. This can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on how flavorful you like your food. You really have to eat this with a big bite of the cheese and rice underneath since it helps balance the flavors out. Giving this a good mix before eating would be best.
Sesame Fish Doria (Php 155)
Here we have the most balanced among the three doria dishes we tried. Soft dory fish is seasoned in sesame oil then smothered with just the right amount of cheese to make this dish perfect. The toasted sesame seeds add a nice fragrance and slight earthy taste to the cheese. Everyone at the table said this was their favorite, and since I’m partial to fish I enjoyed this a lot too!
Umami Style Fried Chicken (Php 145 for 2-piece with Rice)
If you’re looking for a super juicy and tender chicken with a nice crunchy skin, try this version by Tori Chizu. Their Umami Chicken is also available as a 1-piece option with rice for Php 89, but if you’re just hankering for the chicken, you can order the TC Chicken Rack. It comes in 3, 6, and 8-piece options for prices ranging from Php 195 to Php 495. I would recommend getting the Chicken Rack actually, so that you can eat this with your doria of choice.
Sesame Coleslaw (Php 45)
This humble bowl of coleslaw topped with Japanese sesame dressing served as a really great “palate cleanser” between each of the cheese dishes we tried here at Tori Chizu.
Tori Chizu Hambagu with Cheese (Php 125)
One of my favorites from the day is this sandwich. Don’t know if it’s because I like sandwiches in general, but I found this to have such a great balance of flavors. All the components worked well together and I loved the taste of the patty. You can add Php 50 to get the hamabagu with Tori Chizu’s yummy Thin-Cut Fries plus a drink. (The fries are super crisp and incredibly addicting. Be warned!) This is also available without cheese for Php 105, but why would you deprive yourself of that?
Mazemen No-Broth Ramen (Php 115)
This noodle dish comes topped with bacon, corn, a soft-boiled egg, and some green onions. They added some nori bits in there for good measure. This is quite reminiscent of carbonara in appearance, but the dominant flavor is definitely garlic. It has a strong garlic aftertaste as well. If you’re not a garlic lover you might find this a bit much. Luckily we do like garlic around here.
MilkChiz Soft Serve (Php 35 in a cup, Php 45 in a cone)
Super rich and super thick ice cream that’s got a full-on cheese flavor. This felt so indulgent to eat, but it was also quite a surprise that you get this quality of ice cream for just Php 35 if you go for the cup option. That’s a real bang for your buck. If you’re super full from your meal like we were, this ice cream is perfect for sharing.
I honestly did not know what I was walking into during my visit to Tori Chizu, but the experience actually exceeded my expectations. The service is fast and yet the quality of the food is much much better than your regular fast food chain. The staff was really attentive as well. The best part about eating here though is definitely the value for money aspect, because for prices that do not break the bank, you can get yourself a warm and bubbling cheesy meal that’s comforting and delicious. The portions are just right for the price too so you don’t have to worry about walking out hungry. All in all, Tori Chizu left me pretty impressed.
After trying out Tori Chizu, it comes as no surprise to me why it seems to be a popular pick among shoppers here at SM Megamall. Looking around, I see customers ranging from couples to families just really enjoying their time here. You can see on their faces how much fun they had pulling on the strands of cheese from their doria orders. The kids were especially having a blast! I think that’s definitely one of the highlights when you eat here– the food is as entertaining as it is yummy! If you’ve got a cheese-lover in your life, I think you know where to eat on your next meal. 😉
Upper Ground Floor, Outside Building A,
SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Hours: Monday to Sunday 10AM to 10PM
Contact Nos: +63 998 598 4031
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*Other branches: AIC Gold Tower Ortigas, Eastwood Citywalk 2 Quezon City
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Full disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The author did not pay for the food mentioned in this post, however it does not affect the personal opinions stated above.
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