Ooma (Metro Manila, Philippines)
Our last one and a half day in the Philippines was spent in Manila with my friends and family, it was so hectic I will have to schedule who I meet. First with my closest friends who I grew up with, these friends are like a family to me and most of them I knew from when I was 6 years old and been with them almost every day until I left the Philippines. I set up the whole Friday night with them, the plan was to meet up at 8:00 PM at Gerry’s Grill in ABS-CBN but since I was driving from Pangasinan to Manila plus the traffic I was a bit late. We ended up meeting everyone at 9:00 PM, before we arrive my friend told me that the Gerry’s Grill that we will stay in was their new hangout, they are so known there they can bring liquor without any corkage fees and if they don’t finish them they can also request for a bottle keep again without extra charge. So, as we arrive my expectations was exceeded much more than the reality, they were popular there with the staff, they just leave their cars in the street and the staff parked their cars without questions, they even knew all of the servers by name and have the middle of the establishment reserved for us. True to my friends story the four Black Labels that we brought over was never asked for a corkage fee, it was such an experience, I am not used to this way anymore where you are always treated special because of your social status, in New Zealand people are simple and we treat everyone the same way.
They introduced me to the waiters and again I regained my title of Sir and my wife as Ma’am, this is how people call you in Philippines specially if you are the customer. My friends started to order, first with unlimited ice tea for everyone, some of them got beers even we already have our Scotch whiskey. Then it goes crazy after that, they ordered almost all of the items on the menu, things happen really fast and I was excited having stories with my closest friends I was not able to take pictures of it. It was a feast, there were at least 25 dishes that were served, from tokwat baboy, fried chicken, sisig, bangus, bulalo, name a Filipino dish probably it was served to us. It was a good night, reminiscing the past and catching up with each and everyone’s personal story, just imagine 7 guys some with their wives, I don’t want to go home, we even waited for it to nearly close at 3:00 PM. I definitely missed them.
Next day was hard to wake up, yet another schedule this time with my Mother side relatives, I scheduled it at lunch time on a Saturday. I don’t know the places anymore so I let my cousin choose the place so we ended up having lunch at Ooma in Megamall, nice choice specially that Japanese is one of my favourite cuisines. Located in the new building (at least for me) that was the old open space parking lot, I was surprised there were lots of new shops and good restaurants and this was one of them. We had an early lunch so we were there around 11:00 AM, cousin must have reserved the place as there was around 4 families waiting in line to have their seats when we arrived.
There was no mucking around, after I sat down orders start flowing in which means all I have to do is eat. There were multiple orders of the ones I will be mentioning below as there were eight of us, some of which I haven’t got a photo of as they were the ones not in front of me. So, all of the food items mentioned below are the ones I tried.
We did start with some Hanger Steak (Php 498.00) basically a sous vide hanging tender beef served with sautéed mushrooms, white truffle oil, sweet potato mash, crispy baby potato, herb oil and ponzu butter. This was a nice start, the dish was intricate and very tasty, lots of elements involved, texture and flavours are really diverse. Initially the sweet potato mash I thought was cheese as it was savoury and it really worked well with the whole dish itself.
Then there were three choices of maki, I tried two. First was the Ebi Tempura Maki (Php 245.00), a crispy Prawn Tempura and Ebiko served with Aligue Mayo.
Then the next maki was this Salmon Skin Aburi Maki (Php 280.00), it was a torched salmon maki on crispy salmon skin with asparagus, cream cheese served with wasabi aioli and teriyaki sauce. Both were great maki’s, ingredients were well prepared, each element were well thought of.
We also have some the usual Ebi Tempura (Php 390.00), this crispy prawn tempura served with aonori, tempura Sauce, aligue mayo and herb aioli. Very nice, not too oily, very crispy, the prawns tasted really fresh as well.
For mains I had the Oyako Don (Php 299.00) made with sous vide chicken, fresh mushrooms, onion, fresh egg topped with crispy chicken skin and served with House Tare. Another great treat, specially that crispy skin which is the first one I had seen on any oyako don dishes I had.
To top it all up there was an unlimited ice tea (a standard in the Philippines) then some Green Tea Ice Cream with candied cashew nuts (Php 115.00). It was one of the best green tea ice creams I had, you can really taste that matcha.
I am not sure if it is a pure Japanese, most probably its more of a fusion restaurant, as opposed to the simplistic Japanese dishes these were intricate creations and actually it worked really well. Each element on the dish was well thought of, complementing each other, it enhances most of the qualities of each ingredients. This place is really recommended and don’t worry if you don’t like raw fish, most of the recipes here are cooked Japanese food.
Address: Bldg. D (Mega Fashion Hall), EDSA cor Julia Vargas Avenue, Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, 1550 Metro Manila, Philippines
Phone: +63 2 656 4591