Hubert Young and SP (Severino Policarpio) Sumulong were classmates since kindergarten at Xavier. Hubert majored in business administration at Marquette University in Wisconsin, while SP took up law at Ateneo University. Now they’re eatmates and partners at Shaburi & Kintan Buffet.
Photos by Joey Mendoza
A double buffet with Hubert Young and SP Sumulong
LIFE AND STYLE - Millet M. Mananquil (The Philippine Star) - July 25, 2019 - 12:00am

I met lawyer SP Sumulong some 30 years ago over dinner with a group of friends that we later called our Eating Club. 

Among the members were SM’s Hans Sy and wife Carol, Robina Gokongwei and her then suitor, lawyer Perry Pe. Two members — Loren Legarda and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan — were not yet senators then. Fast-food entrepreneurs Rikki Dee and Beng Dee had just been “discovered” by Henry Sy Sr., a frequent diner at Chin-Chin, their first resto on Pasay Road. There were businessman/restaurateur Al Santos and retail maven Therese Coronel Santos, as well as Pampanga cuisine expert Maritel Nievera. SP was with his girlfriend Annette Bugarin. It was a group of gourmets and gourmands, hungry for good food, some intelligent conversation, a lot of goofing around and camaraderie. It was our way of releasing stress after work.

Hubert Young and SP (Severino Policarpio) Sumulong were classmates since kindergarten at Xavier. Hubert majored in business administration at Marquette University in Wisconsin, while SP took up law at Ateneo University. Now they’re eatmates and partners at Shaburi & Kintan Buffet. Photos by JOEY MENDOZA

Through the years, we would meet regularly for Eating Club birthday dinners. The dinners became less regular as members became too busy in their roles as senators or presidents of their own companies. 

SP, for one, was based in Hong Kong for 10 years as director of Equiom — a position he still holds. So when SP invited hubby and me for lunch two weeks ago, it was a surprise reunion. The surprise came when we found out during the lunch that this lawyer is now a restaurateur.

Not in the sense that he now cooks in his corporate suit or barong. SP is now an investor-partner of famous restaurateur Hubert Young (together with Louie Banson, Hubert’s former neighbor in San Francisco), in Shaburi & Kintan Buffet, the newest resto drawing queues of diners at the new Japan Town on the rooftop of Glorietta 2 in Ayala Center.

“We use the best quality wagyu steak, pork, chicken and seafood for our Kintan barbecue,” says Hubert Young.

How could SP, who comes from a political clan (his dad, Francisco Sumulong, was the brother of President Cory Aquino’s mother, Demetria Sumulong Cojuangco), go into the restaurant industry with Hubert Young, who comes from a food-producing clan (his father, George K. Young Sr., and mother, Florida Uytengsu-Young, were in food manufacturing at General Milling Corp. until the company was split into two, with his uncle Wilfred Uytengsu taking Alaska)?

“Hubert and I were classmates since kinder at Xavier,” says SP. “Iba yung matagal na magkakilala.”

“SP and I met up again two years ago, and we’ve been traveling with our wives Annette and Karen to Japan and Singapore,” says Hubert.

It was a bonding moment when these two friends — both scions, one from a revered political clan, and the other, from a renowned clan of food industrialists — realized they share a passion for good Japanese food.

“We use the best quality wagyu steak, pork, chicken and seafood for our Kintan barbecue,” says Hubert Young.

Their first partnership, Shaburi & Kintan Buffet, is a double treat for lovers of Japanese food. Half of the buffet is for making your own shabu-shabu, allowing you to choose your own ingredients. Prices start at P599 for adults and P350 for children.

“What makes Shaburi different is that it offers personalized shabu-shabu,” explains SP. “You can choose your own ingredients from the buffet to make your own bowl.”

The other half, Kintan, is for grilling meat and seafood, yakiniku style, with prices starting from P419. 

“If you can afford wagyu, Kintan is for you. But if you cannot afford wagyu, it is also for you, as we have different meal choices to suit tastes and budgets,“ says Hubert. “But we never sacrifice quality, we get the best imported steaks. We want to please diners who look for value for money, who will enjoy their food and tell others about it.”

There are different rates for 60- and 90- minute diners. Why so? In fairness to people who line up waiting for a table.

As you enter Shaburi & Kintan Buffet, you feel the cold, refreshing mist over the buffet of raw ingredients. “That is part of our refrigeration system to keep the ingredients fresh,” says Hubert.

At the Kintan area, you won’t see or feel the usual smoke that comes with grilling, SP explains. The smoke is sucked in beneath the grilling tables. So you leave the resto with no barbecue smell on your clothes or hair.

 

Japan Town is the newest, most exciting concept of Ayala Malls at the Top of the Glo. There is even a Shibuya Crossing for Instagram photo ops. But where is Hachiko? Photo by RICA DE JESUS

Shaburi & Kintan Buffet is located in an exciting new area on the Top of the Glo (Glorietta 2) called Japan Town, which boasts a neighborhood of good Japanese restos. This is where two other restos owned by Hubert’s group are located: Mitsuyado Ramen, where ramen bowls start at P180, and Coco Ichibanya, the biggest curry rice chain in Japan.

Hubert is known for his Japanese restos, the first one being UCC Coffee (Ueshima Coffee Company), an 86-year-old coffee company still owned by the same family in Japan. His track record of success with UCC Coffee in the Philippines — which now has 42 branches — obviously impressed the Japanese, who have been entrusting him with their franchises. One of them is MOS Burger, opening this year to introduce rice burgers and teriyaki chicken burgers in the Philippines.

 

As you leave Shaburi & Kintan Buffet, you see a Shibuya Crossing in the center of Japan Town, obviously a magnet for Instagram photo-ops. The only thing missing is the statue of Hachiko.

As Hubert and SP promised, we left carrying no scent of Japanese barbecue. But we did bring home a unique memory of the best-tasting Japanese double buffet we have experienced. Wait till I tell our Eating Club. 

* * *

 

Shaburi & Kintan Buffet in Japan Town at the Top of the Glo is open daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Ride the escalator adjacent to Holiday Inn & Suites to reach the topmost floor of Glorietta 2. For inquiries, call 719-5141 or 0917-811-5625.

EATING CLUB SP SUMULONG
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