Gyu-Kaku is a chain of Japanese yakiniku restaurant and is marketed as the biggest chain yakiniku restaurant in the world. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ restaurant first opened in Japan and quickly expanded around the world. They have branches in United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia- just to name a few. In Indonesia itself, they already have 3 branches, the first one opened in AEON Mall BSD, the second one in Lippo Mall Puri, and they recently held a grand launch of their new restaurant in Citywalk Sudirman.
Located on the first floor of Citywalk Sudirman Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ restaurant carrying the modern, and minimalist design, and dominated with wooden interior. The restaurant is not big, I would say it can fit around 70 people. There are few small table with an individual grill on the table if you come alone or in a small group, and there is also some long table for a big group.
I noticed that the restaurant very clean, the table was sparkling and clean, no trace of smoke in the room. Unfortunately, the dominance of dark wood for the interior and the dim light make the room the room pretty dark, and not good for taking a picture.
The menu is big, with half of the menu dedicated to the high-end beef. I was amused, but not all that impressed. Some dishes, like Ishiyaki Bibimbap and Gyu-Kaku karubi, were awesome. But other, like cold tofu and Choregi salad were let downs. But if you stick to a few of the key items that they do best, you should come away happy.
The most enjoyable part eating at Gyu-Kaku Japanese Restaurant is that you can cook your own food. Make sure to order one of the combos, or at least a selection of different meats, so you could sample different cut of meats. Some of their meat like Gyu-Kaku Karubi is very juicy and tender while the other part, like beef tongue, has more texture, but all the meats were well marinated and fresh.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Menu
Yaki-Shabu (IDR 38K)
This short plate beef cut is my favourite on the menu. The cut is thicker than the other beef and it’s incredibly tender. Personally, I like to grill it longer on one side and flash grill it on the other side.
Also known as a short rib. This one of the favourite cuts, but I found yaki shabu is more tender and enjoyable. Grill the beef to medium to retain the tenderness and juicy flavours of the beef. If you’re daring put a sliced of garlic, roll it up, and stuff it in your mouth.
Tongue (IDR 58K)
They use the stem part of the beef tongue for yakiniku as it contains good marbling. The cut is thicker than karubi and yaki shabu, but still tender and juicy. Beside normal beef tongue, they also have a thick beef tongue (IDR 87K), and Negi tongue (IDR 63K).
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ Side Dish
Ishiyaki Bibimbap (IDR 58K)
Rice served in a hot stone bowl topped with namul (sautéed and seasoned vegetables), kimchi, beef, and egg. The waiter will add the gochujang mixture, and shake to mix it all up. It tastes good and fun to watch.
Cold Tofu with Spicy Sauce (IDR 38K)
Few slices cold tofu topped with soft egg, thinly sliced green onion, and drizzle with spicy sauce. Simple and fresh dish, if you like soft and bland tofu, you will probably love it.
Popcorn Ice Cream (IDR 24K)
Soft-served vanilla ice cream covered with crunchy caramel popcorn. If the combination of vanilla ice cream and caramel popcorn is too sweet for you, you can opt for Matcha Ice Cream (IDR 18K) or Dorayaki with Ice Cream (IDR 48K) if you like the combination of red bean paste and ice cream.
The franchising model is a dangerous game, is not easy to maintain the consistency and quality of the executions across all branches. Opened branches in a different side of the world which means serve guests with different culture and tastes make it even harder. So far my dining experience was pretty good, the waitress all nice and responsive, and all the food were fresh and well seasoned. I hope in the future they can maintain the quality of their food.