Whenever someone asks me what my favorite cuisine is, aside from Filipino, often my top answer is Japanese. I just can't say no to a good tempura, or a katsudon! I love the mixture of sweet and salty that Japanese food usually has. And so a few weeks ago I was thrilled to have tried another good Japanese restaurant! So authentic that the Executive Chef creates these beautiful dishes unlike anything I've seen before. And the place is Minamisaki by Astoria.
Minami Saki is located at the ground floor of Astoria Plaza in Ortigas. It's not that big, but very comfortable. The place
It's big enough to arrange a long table for big groups
And they have nice booths for a more intimate set up.
Executive Chef Kimito Katagiri, the genius behind the amazing dishes you're about to see, has worked around the world. But here in the Philippines, he's also had a list of impressive work experiences like being the executive chef at Aoi Restaurant of Century Park, a long-time executive chef of Makati Shangri-La’s Inagiku, and then he also became Midas Hotel’s Resident Chef for the famous Yanagi Restaurant. And I'm so happy for having the pleasure of meeting him! (And admittedly I find it amusing that he can speak Tagalog!)
Now, behold his beautiful and delicious creations!
At first glance, it's hard to tell what this dish actually is. But it's hard to care because it looks beautiful! This is Chef's signature Kaki Papaya Yaki (P580). It's boat of papaya, and sitting on it are roasted Japanese oysters with miso sauce, and then topped with fresh ginger blossom for presentation. And yes, it's delicious! If you like oysters you should definitely add this on your list of must-try.
For sashimi lovers, you will appreciate this fresh board of Moriawase Take Sashimi (P800). It's got five types of sashimi that you can happily indulge in while waiting for your main entrees. I didn't use to like sushi growing up. But I guess when you get older you start appreciating raw stuff. Personally I always go for the salmon!
Another unique (at least unique to me) dish created by Chef Kimito is the US Scallops with Tamago Sauce (P720), I love scallops, and Chef Kimito made me love this even more by adding this delicious creamy egg sauce. (If you know me, you'd know that egg is another one of my magic words). Drooling right now.
Chef Kimito just kept bringing out impressive dishes as our lunch commenced. This Aburi Sushi Five Kinds (P850) tasted as beautiful as it looked. Obviously this is not your usual sushi. They're chef's signature torched sushi. Torched is the magic word for me! The sushi tuna, eel, salmon, lapu-lapu, and hamachi are all slightly torched, creating another layer of crunchy texture to it. And then of course, smothered in his special creamy aburi sauce. Oh my the sauce!
To prepare our tummies for the main entrees, we had the Dobin Mushi (P270). A light broth soup served in a tea pot, filled with fresh mushrooms inside. A perfect way to "stretch" the tummy to make room for the more heavy stuff. (If that makes sense).
One of the reasons why I love Japanese food is the rice bowls. When I'm really hungry, I know I can always count on Japanese rice bowls because it's no secret that I love rice, much more so when the fluffy Japanese rice has Japanese sauce is poured over it. In Minami Saki, they have a rice 'box' that we got to try. The Katsuju (P480) is a deep-fried crumb clad cutlet bathed in egg, laying on a bed of Japanese rice, sprinkled with nori strips. The Katsuju in Minami Saki is a set served with with a side of miso soup and fruits.
I googled the difference between a Katsudon and a Katsuju because they look pretty much the same. The only result I was able to see is that the main difference is just the box container, while Katsudon is served in bowls (source):
Ju（重）is an abbreviated form of Ju-Bako（重箱）, a square containe
Don（丼）is an abbreviated form of Donburi（丼）, a round container
Enough Japanese lessons. Moving on to the next masterpiece, the Maguro Pepper Steak (P550). Grilled chunks of fresh tuna steak, grilled to perfection as you can see with its pink center, stacked on top of a bed of wakame or seaweed. It's a good mix of flavors. The smokiness from the grilling, a hint of heat from the pepper, and a bit of tangy from the lemon.
Another one of the group's favorite is the Usuyaki Steak with Mushrooms. It is simply a dish of loads of mushrooms rolled inside a thin slice of tender steak. Juicy!
And then, under the Teppanyaki choices, there's the US Angus Sirloin (P1,050). Truly there's nothing like the basic flavors of US Angus sirloin, fried with garlic, a bit of salt and pepper, and the Angus' natural oozing flavor, fried with mixed vegetables. Can't beat that!
Usually I don't like the selection of Japanese desserts because there's hardly anything with chocolate haha! But Minami Saki has some delicious dessert selections that hit the spot. Here's the Japanese Cheesecake (P160). Fluffy and light as air with just a hint of sweetness. Very good!
And to top off the whole experience, the mesmerizing Coffee Jelly (P180)! The presentation got us all mesmerized. I think that's dry ice flowing out of the fancy beaker-like container, keeping the vanilla ice cream on top from melting too fast, and flowing into the coffee jelly.
After the dry ice show, you can put the vanilla ice cream on top of the coffee jelly bowl and eat away!
So next time you feel like dining in an Authentic Japanese restaurant, you should really try Minami Saki in Astoria Plaza. (And maybe save some Tempura Maki for me bwahahaha!) Executive Chef Kimito Katagiri to me is really a rockstar of the Japanese cuisine!
G/F Astoria Plaza 15 J. Escriva Drive
Ortigas Business District, 1600 Pasig
Operating hours: 11:00am - 2:30pm, 6:00pm - 10:30pm
Like them on Facebook: minamisakibyastoria
Check out Astoria Plaza's official website for their beautiful hotel accommodations: http://www.astoriaplaza.com/