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Expectations of Pepper Lunch

6:23 pm PHT

The opening of Pepper Lunch in the Philippines (which happened the other Friday, May 16) has been eagerly awaited by my officemates ever since word that it would come to the Philippines was circulated last year. (See the blog entry by Chuvaness, the owner of the Philippine franchise.) Well, I haven’t eaten in the Rockwell outlet yet and I’ve only passed by it (and took the photo below) when I went to Power Plant Mall last Monday, but my sister and I definitely have plans to try it out one of these days.

 Facade of the Pepper Lunch outlet in Power Plant

I have actually eaten at an authentic Japanese Pepper Lunch outlet twice during the two business trips I had to Japan back in 2006. It’s one of those “rituals” that Pinoy colleagues based at our mother company in Japan enjoin those of us who go to Tokyo to try. Anyway, I mentioned Pepper Lunch in passing in this blog entry so I’ll explain more about how Pepper Lunch works in Japan now since it’s a unique dining experience.

In Pepper Lunch in Japan, you order and pay for your food item using an ATM-like machine (see this photo of my officemate Franz pondering on which dish to take in Pepper Lunch Shibuya). This machine—which is actually quite ubiquitous in any Japanese restaurant and leaves the staff to cleanly handle only food—spits out a chit that you give to the waiter for your order. Pepper Lunch outlets in Japan are actually small places with a bar-like arrangement and fixed stools for chairs. And unlike the circular paper “shields” ringing the sizzling plate in the Manila adaptation, the Japanese style is that the waiter places the hot plate on the upper half of a rectangular paper and you bring the lower half up to shield yourself from the sizzling oil while you cook the meat to your liking (as seen in this YouTube video).

One interesting thing about Pepper Lunch is that you’ll definitely smell of peppered steak after eating in one: the aromatic smoke clings to your clothes. I wonder if the same thing will happen when I eat at the Makati branch. Hehehe.  :)

This new dining experience of eating at Pepper Lunch is one thing I strongly recommended to my sister to do when she went to Japan on vacation early this year. Well, she loved it and that’s why we’re looking forward to try eating at the local franchise. Well, we’re a bit sad that the franchise concept has been tailored to the local Philippine market (like having tables instead of a bar) because it loses some of its authentic Japanese style. Then again, it’s the food that really matters and so we’ll see if the same yummy taste has been captured.

Anyway, to make you even more hungry, here are fellow blogger stories of eating at the local Pepper Lunch: Jayvee, Phoebe, Anton, AJ, and BryanBoy.

I’ve seen that the prices are definitely not cheap but they are actually comparable to the Japanese prices of 600–900 yen. But, hey, Pepper Lunch is definitely a recommended eat and it wouldn’t hurt to treat yourself once in a while, right?

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