Japanese curry joint CoCo Ichibanya has been my go-to restaurant ever since writing about its flagship branch in 2015. Another branch opened at Eastwood Mall (near my workplace) years later. All I had to do whenever I wanted to binge out after a stressful week, celebrate a milestone, or simply splurge on pay days was head over to the Eastwood Mall branch and order a nice and hearty plate of Japanese curry. Different options, different toppings, and different spice levels made every trip unique. Creamed croquette, scrambled eggs, carrots and potatoes, mushrooms, fried fish, fried squid rings, tuna flakes, and chicken cutlet are some of the toppings I order — and all of them go well with curry and rice!
However, one familiar scene always occurs regardless of when I eat. I organize the toppings and put them to the side of my plate, get a scoop of the fukujinzuke pickles to counteract the curry’s spiciness, stir both rice and curry sauce, and indulge. By the time I finish eating, I end up with a clean plate and a full belly!
I last visited CoCo Ichibanya in January of this year and met a month later the local entrepreneur behind this brand: Hubert Young of the UCC Group. March came, I left my previous job, and the government put Metro Manila under the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) for two and a half months. A lot of businesses have reopened for in-premises eating when the government lowered the quarantine to general community quarantine (GCQ) status, but I haven’t returned to CoCo Ichibanya until now as I have been working from home for the past few months.
Thankfully, I downloaded a copy of my Instagram archives and unearthed a treasure trove of content I can use for posts whilst stuck at home. Here are some of the previous meals I had at CoCo Ichibanya, all taken before the pandemic. I guess there’s no end in sight for this Covid-19 crisis so we just have to live with it.
Until the next post, bon appetit and always stay safe!