The perfect drinking place. That is what an Izakaya is. A neighborhood bar that is the go to place after work. Delicious Japanese food served alongside beer and sake. This Tuesday, July 12, 2016, the Raintree Group, in collaboration with PIGLET from Tokyo, Japan, is opening CHOTTO MATTE and IZAKAYA SENSU to the dining public.
The press preview, held just recently, showed the prowess and the depth that both establishments have. CHOTTO MATTE, being the genius that it is, has a plethora of choice drinks that would make any alcohol lover jump for joy. Starting out strong, HIGHBALLS were served right there and then. Complementing these drinks would be different high grade sakes. For something on the sweet side, FLAVORED SAKES would be your top choice. Crowd favorites would include tangerine and plum. For first timers, the orange sake is a safe choice.
To accompany the drinks, Japanese Bar Chow was served. One could start with the grilled edamame. You could say that this is the Japanese version of club peanuts. You crack the shell open and eat the green legumes inside.
A wonderful treat was the SICHIMI AGE. This lightly fried chicken hearts and gizzards were marinated with Japanese 7 Spice. Not really a fan of such but one bite in and I was impressed. The texture and the flavor surprised me and caught myself getting more than I should have. I couldn't stop. This is definitely a must try dish.
Aside from the heart and the gizzard, another dish to order would be the SOBA. Their version has the right bite and texture. With the addition of tomatoes, one would say that this is a refreshing noodle dish. Each slurp left me wanting for more.
Something familiar would be the SENSU KARA-AGE. This sesame crusted fried chicken has a crunchy outside and a moist and tender inside. Lovely.
One thing that separates great Japanese restaurants from mediocrity would be the freshness of their dishes. A Special OMAKASE (chef's choices) would be the ideal seafood platter that demonstrates this. 11 different kinds of sashimi are placed elegantly on the plate to entice the guests.
Adventurous foodies would enjoy the UNI IKA "RUIBE". Sea urchin "ice candy" frozen and wrapped in squid. The Squid had a bite but it wasn't rubbery. The uni perfectly melts and weirdly enough goes well with the squid.
A play on flavors, chefs are sometimes given freehand to create something off the beaten path. It pushes their creativity to the limits. I enjoyed the seared tuna marinated with different Japanese seasoning.
Here, an assortment of edamame, avocados, roe, and uni were wrapped up to give a lighter touch.
Definitely one of their specialty, the SENSU ROLL would make anyone swirl with delight. A combination of two rolls in one, you get more flavor profile than a typical roll. One is made with tempura asparagus, spicy tuna, green chili slice and unagi sauce. The other one has crabmeat mayonnaise, yuzu skin, cucumber with mangoes and flying fish roe on top.
If there are only 2 variants to try, it must be the chicken skin and the enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon. The chicken skin has crunchy exteriors with a slight salty taste. The mushrooms, on the other hand, provided a little bite giving way to a play in mouth feel.
Something different would be the SENSU TAMAGO. Simply put, these are sweetened eggs. Created like a souffle, the sweetness of the egg was brought out. The texture is almost like a Japanese Cheesecake. This gave the diners a perfect way to end the meal.
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One could never go wrong with fresh ingredients and quality workmanship. At CHOTTO MATTE and IZAKAYA SENSU, there are no wrong decisions. The ambiance of the place alongside the food and drinks would make it the ideal go to restaurant for a night of unwinding.
Ground Floor, NET PARK,
Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig City, Metro Manila
Disclaimer: was invited to the preview. wrote this based on my experience. Go for the Gizzards and the Soba, you won't regret it.