Daily Luxe: Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo

As a seasoned beauty blogger, I always thought that whoever said that real beauty’s skin deep is pure genius. Whether we look at it as fact or an idiom, it’s true both ways. I like to believe that being kind and compassionate makes one beautiful the same way as how supplements and good food contribute (far quickly) to better looking appearance. To date, I take 4 kinds of beauty supplements to slow down signs of aging and fight free-radicals. Unfortunately, not one of the 4’s tasty enough to rave about. While I’d like to think that they work, I’m still on the lookout for something that will work for both my palate and my well-being.

Enter Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo. I’ve tried this flag bearer from a couple of years back in Singapore thanks to my fellow anti-aging obsessed chicas who to this day, highly rave about their collagen soup. Before trying it out, I’ll be honest – I was scared to eat it because to me, collagen is synonymous to fishy taste. They assured me though that it's nothing like the usual fishy collagen. In fact, their super tasty Golden Collagen Chicken Stock is comprised of just 3 ingredients and none of them's fish. It's just Jidori chicken (a type of domestic, free-range chicken known for its robust flavor) bones, water, and salt. The three ingredients are stewed to perfection for more than 8 hours until the chicken bones are fully dissolved. This collagen rich stock eventually turns into the smooth, silky, almost dessert-like pudding of which is shipped regularly to Manila for all of us to enjoy.

I made a quick mental note to take my significant other out on a date upon finding out that Tsukada Nojo has expanded in Manila (at S Maison, no less). We're big fans of comfort food and anything chicken (long story but that's how we got together!) so a date was indeed an order.

Upon entering the shears of cloth putting us in what felt like a secret nook, we're immediately greeted by warm lights, bowls, and what seemed like a never ending stack of plates. If multiple plates meant multiple means of enjoying the menu, then we're in it to win it!

First time trying out the Bijin Nabe? Don't fret -- you'll be handed a step by step guide. Additionally, your server will be more than glad to help you out so that you can just sit back and enjoy everything to the last bite.

Golden Collagen Chicken Stock for 4 pax

Your Bijin Nabe (Php 750 per portion, minimum of 1 order per 2 pax) experience starts with the melting of the Golden Collagen Chicken Stock. While waiting for the silky mounds to melt, try out the following from their extensive menu:

Romaine Lettuce Caesar salad with shio-konbu (Php 240)

Maximum Fried Eggplant (Php 180)

These two starters are guaranteed to get your taste buds ready for the main event. The salad's nice and peppery while the surprisingly super soft and fuzzy eggplant's spiced generously to keep you craving for more and more of it.

The first leg of our dinner!

Once the Golden Collagen Chicken Stock has all melted up, your server will take the chicken and some stock out. Pardon the pun -- don't miss on this golden opportunity to try the soup at its best. Loved it? Good! It will be better once the rest of the gang joins the party.

Some veggies will cook faster than the rest so keep an eye on them else they might wilt. Based on our experience, this ceremonial dish best goes with the following best sellers:

Nikumaki Yuzu-mayo (with mayo topping, Php 115)
Nikumaki Original (with sesame topping, Php 105)
Nikumaki Spicy (with chili oil topping, Php 115)
Nikumaki Cheese (with cheese topping, Php 115)

One can't go wrong with rice and bacon, right? Tsukada Nojo's nikumaki (literally: Japanese meat rice balls) are big (took me 3 bites to finish 1 ball), tasty, and very filling. My favourite's a tie between cheese and original.

Original Chicken Nanban (Php 295)

If you're a big fan of fried chicken, do order the very tasty chicken nanban (above). They're one of the restaurant's best sellers for a good reason: they're savory, juicy, and goes very well with the salad and sauce. I'm a big eater but one serving's definitely more than what I could nosh in one seating.

Done with your Bijin Nabe? Don't have them just discard the soup! You can opt to make it into a porridge like the one above or as the base for noodles. My vote goes to the porridge -- it's very hearty and just perfect to complement all the tasty and fried treats I had.

Disclaimer: Everything listed above were pre-selected during their press dinner. While I did not pay for anything, all opinions are mine.

Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo Philippines
2nd level of S Maison at the Conrad Hotel
For table reservations, you can call +6328091268.
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