I’ve not known or heard about CoCo Ichibanya until the first day I was actually in it and trying their curry! It was a mere coincidence that I found it, and here are my first impressions.
I just came from a short engagement somewhere around Burgos Circle when a friend of mine recommended CoCo Ichibanya. It was a stone’s throw away from where I was and I was famished so I gave it a try.
Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, its full name (カレーハウスCoCo壱番屋 in Japanese), originated from Japan and has branches all over the world. As the name implies it specializes in curry but as being of Japanese origin, it has its own twist. Unlike the curry that we Filipinos are familiar with that is usually colored yellow and has meat and vegetables, CoCo Ichibanya’s is thick and brownish and has a wide variety of options in it.
A typical template is a bed of rice occupying half of your plate with the other half filled with curry sauce and your choice of topping. It actually kind of looks like a beach of rice in a sea of curry with the topping like a marooned boat! The standard serving comes with 300g of rice but you may double that to 600g for an extra ₱120 or lessen it to 200g for ₱20 less. And as curry goes, it naturally comes spicy and you have an option on how spicy you want it, from Mild (Level 1) all the way to Crazy Hot (Level 5). Additional toppings also available for an extra ₱50 (including, but not limited to, corn, ripe tomato, boiled egg, and tuna). I picked the standard rice serving with Level 4 spice level.
The first dish I’ve tried is their cheese hamburger curry with cheese on the inside (₱360). It is basically a hamburger patty with cheese inside, floating on a sea of curry. And since it’s my first time, I wanted to taste as many items as I can and so I availed of their special add on offers: between their daily soup, mini salad, dessert, or drinks, choose any two (2) for an additional ₱80, three (3) for ₱100, or all four (4) for ₱130. I chose the additional two items but looking back I think I should’ve had all four! On its own a drink costs ₱100 so it’s quite a value. My choices were the mini salad and a drink in the form of calamansi iced tea.
The cheese hamburger curry is so good! The patty was delicious and surprisingly it really worked well with the curry. The rice quality was also good as despite being soaked in curry, it doesn’t become mushy. But just to be sure I put the curry sauce on top of the rice instead of scoping it with the sauce like soup—that way it’s close to how we usually eat our rice meals.
Their spice is based on their Japanese standards so it is spicier than what were accustomed to with Filipino restaurants. Level 4 is pretty spicy and quite good but if you’ve developed a taste for spice, don’t be afraid to bring it up to level 5!
The mini salad makes for a good side dish and you have some options for the dressing. I got toasted sesame (goma) dressing with mine, one of my favorites, the same one used in shredded cabbages used in other Japanese joints.
I’m not sure though if I’d recommend their calamansi iced tea as it is mostly ice (at least 60% of it is) and I honestly can’t taste any calamansi, or frankly any difference with regular powdered iced tea.
Finally, the pickled dish fukujinzuke (福神漬) that is just sitting silently on the table. You have to try it! I love pickles but adding it with my cheese hamburger curry gave it that additional texture and flavor that made it much more interesting! It is commonly used as a relish for Japanese curry so I assume it would go well with any of their curry.
I love Curry House CoCo Ichibanya! I don’t think that curry is one of my favorite dishes, but I really love their curry. And they have so many options including vegetarian-friendly ones so it can satisfy a lot of differing tastes. And I only mentioned curry! They also serve many dishes other than curry so there’s plenty of options to try. Looking back, I would’ve lessen the rice, picked all four add-on items, had my spice at level 5, and probably a hot drink for digestion. Highly recommended!
- Accepts Credit Card: Yes
- Service Charge: 10%