The Masters of Hype

By Mariko on 24 January, 2008

For a resto that hasn’t gotten any spectacular reviews (at least, none that I’ve read), John and Yoko sure has a lot of people raring to try it. All the tables were filled when B and I were there, and there was a continuous stream of customers–impressive, considering this was an ordinary, non-holiday Tuesday night.
I wasn’t really expecting much, but I did kind of expect it to be better than its brother, Sumo Sam. While the latter isn’t on my list of favorite restos, I found their food satisfactory (again, not spectacular)–I was lured by the crowd regularly gathered outside, waiting to get a table. Ahh, you know how it goes: A crowd attracts a bigger crowd. I figured the number of people must account for something. But I digress.

Franco already mentioned the trendy interiors at the brand spankin’ new GB5 resto. I’ve got a bonus image though–the wall upon which black-and-white Japanese films are projected…


Now, onto the food.

B chose one item that didn’t succumb to this whole fusion nonsense: good old-fashioned Tuna Sashimi (P168). Hey, at least they got this one right. It was very fresh, and thankfully, the wasabi had a bit of a kick (a lot of Japanese restos nowadays have green gunk posing as wasabi).



He also ordered the Dynamite Roll (P168), one of the bestsellers. It wasn’t, er, explosive, but it did have some delightfully spicy and crunchy bits.



I was craving for something meaty, so I got me the Mt. Fuji Steak (P338), beef tenderloin on a mound of French fries and mushrooms, drizzled with gravy. Hmmm. I liken it to high school cafeteria roast beef. But with fries instead of rice. And a price that’s, like, five times more expensive than caf food. The meat was also a bit overdone and slightly tough.


As Franco mentioned, there were some similarities between the John and Yoko menu and the Sumo Sam menu. B and I decided to order the Salmon Wasabi Cream (P294), something we ordered and quite liked at Sumo Sam, just so we could compare.


Sumo Sam Salmon Wasabi Cream versus…


John and Yoko Salmon Wasabi Cream

And the winner of Battle Salmon is…Sumo Sam! The John and Yoko version looks more attractive (is it the artfully placed asparagus?), but don’t let looks deceive you. I distinctly remember savoring the white sauce at Sumo Sam, appreciating the hint of wasabi that came at the end of each bite. After trying the John and Yoko salmon, I remarked, “The sauce tastes like it should be on pasta.” And B agreed! There was not a trace of wasabi in it; it could very well have been served as carbonara. (Japanese-Italian. Now there’s fusion for you.)

Sigh. I think, more than anything, John and Yoko is a seen-and-be-seen-type of place, rather than a gustatory destination. And if there’s anything they’re doing exceptionally well, it’s generating buzz–whether they deserve it or not.

John and Yoko
2nd Floor
Greenbelt 5
Makati City
Telephone: (02) 7298698

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  • JANUARY 25, 2008 10:45 AM

    Franco said...

    Nice Food Pics, Mariko. :)

    Since it's my turn to choose, I was thinking that writing about a more authentic Japanese restaurant would be an interesting counterpoint...

    Or maybe something more Pinoy perhaps...

  • JANUARY 26, 2008 6:38 PM

    Ian said...

    I was walking in the area there yesterday, and taking a peek inside all of the customers were OH-so-trendy type folks. The "seen-and-be-seen" description is apt.

    I've eaten at Sumo Sam and was definitely NOT impressed, so I don't even want to bother with John & Yoko.

    That said, I cant recall a new resto that has had such across-the-board BAD reviews from everyone who has eaten there. Wow.

  • JANUARY 27, 2008 3:58 PM

    Mariko said...

    Thanks, Franco! I'm game for anything.

    I've talked to non-food bloggers who've eaten there, and they seem to like it. I don't know what that means. Haha. I didn't think it was bad. Just not extraordinary. I'd take a true-blue Japanese resto over this one any day though.

  • JANUARY 28, 2008 4:50 AM

    Sakai said...

    its an upsale SumoSam period...

  • JUNE 12, 2008 1:43 AM

    grumpyurbanslacker said...

    i've read all the bad reviews re John & Yoko, and i think the name is in bad taste as well; so when we were going to eat here last week, i was prepared to be disappointed, and write off this resto as expensive, fast-foody, place-to-be-seen only, etc.

    but instead, i was happy to be proven wrong. the salmon sashimi was great, and so were the dragon rolls. Their paella with seafood/chorizo (i forgot what its called) was a bit too rich, but tasty nonetheless.

    on the debit side, one of their pizzas was also weird-tasting.

    overall, for an average bill of slightly below P500/pax, it was actually better than expectations.

    i hope they change the name though. Dont think John and Yoko will take kindly to being a resto :D

  • JUNE 18, 2009 12:04 AM

    Anonymous said...

    John & Yoko is my favorite restaurant. Great ambiance and taste. The concept is very creative and I wonder why you're being so mean and cruel to it. I say be proud that Filipinos can come up with a concept that can compete with those in Hong Kong, Singapore and Las Vegas. Let's not display crab mentality.:-)

  • FEBRUARY 9, 2010 4:24 AM

    Mariko said...

    Anon, it's an interesting concept that would benefit from better execution. The post is not meant to be "mean and cruel"--constructive criticism is meant to help improve, not to bring down. Good that you (and the resto's many many other customers) enjoy the food there, but not everyone does--food is a subjective experience. To each his own.