Minami Saki, a sakura-inspired Japanese restaurant in Ortigas
MANILA, Philippines – Manila is sweltering hot, but in Japan, it's springtime and cherry blossom season is in full swing.
If you're looking to satisfy your sushi craving and escape the heat, Minami Saki, a sakura festival-inspired restaurant, is a good option for those of you in the Ortigas area.
Found at the ground floor of Astoria Plaza in the Ortigas Business District, the restaurant has charming minimalist decor and food by Chef Kimito Katagiri, the man behind the hotel restaurants Ginza (Manila Hotel), Inagiku (Shangri-la Makati), and Yanagi (Midas Hotel and Casino).
In line with its sakura festival theme, the restaurant is decorated with the pink blossoms and the food looks festive and colorful – their sushi and sashimi dishes are garnished with colored fish roe.
Minami Saki opened in 2014, and has since changed or added new things to their menu. But their signature dishes are still there, as is Chef Katagiri's secret aburi sauce – a thick yellow sauce that's usually lightly torched – that lays over many of his culinary creations.
Minami Saki held a media event in on April 7, and Rappler tried some of their colorful dishes.
Here's what we were served:
Aburi 5 Kinds (P850)
Instead of the usual plate of assorted sushi, Minami Saki took their selection of hamachi, salmon, tuna, eel, and lapu-lapu up a notch by topping each with Chef Katagiri's aburi sauce and lightly torching each before serving.
Take Sashimi (P800)
Minami Saki has more traditional dishes too, and their take sashimi lets you try 5 kinds (15 pieces) of their raw fish. Missed the other two? Those flower arrangements in the corners aren't pickled ginger, but pieces of fish, too!
Kaki Papaya Yaki (P580)
A salty-sweet treat, Minami Saki's kakai papaya yaki is made of 3 oysters on a bed of papaya, topped with aburi sauce. This is a new addition to the menu too.
Maguro Pepper Steak (P550)
Cubes of seared tuna pepper steak with a lightly spicy kick, this dish is great for sharing and for having with rice.
Scallops in Tamago Sauce (P720)
A favorite at our table, these tender pan-seared scallops are covered in creamy tamago (egg yolk) sauce.
Usuyaki Steak with Mushroom (P900)
Minami Saki serves steak, too, but with a Japanese twist. Their usuyaki steak with mushroom has shiitake, enoki, and shimeji mushrooms rolled in a thin slice of US sirloin. Don't forget to dip it in the onion sauce for a bit more flavor.
Cha Soba (P250)
Mimami Saki's cold green tea noodles have a great consistency, perfect for dipping into its dipping sauce with tempura flakes, spring onions, and wasabi.
Dobin Mushi (P270)
A fun dish to try if you're feeling playful. Pick vegetables and mushrooms out of the small clay teapot (a "dobin") that the dobin mushi is served in before pouring the seafood broth and drinking it out of a tiny teacup.
Coffee Jelly (P180)
There was an audible gasp at our table when this was brought out. Fair warning: this coffee jelly is smoking.
Once you've taken your videos and photos, the smoke clears away to reveal a scoop of ice cream on top of a tea pot and a bowl of jelly. It's normally served with whatever ice cream flavor they have that day, and we had salted caramel.
Wasabi Crème Brulee (P120)
Don't let this crème brulee fool you. It might look like the traditional creamy dessert, and the texture is thicker, but its distinct wasabi flavor makes it unique.
Have you tried Minami Saki or any of Chef Katagiri's restaurants? What did you think? Let us know in the comments! – Rappler.com
Minami Saki by Astoria is located at the ground floor of Astoria Plaza, 15 J Escriva Drive, Ortigas Business District, Pasig City. For reservations, call 687-1111.