Friday, March 24, 2017

Nikkei: Japanese-Peruvian premium dining in the heart of Makati

Nikkei is one of those discreet Makati restaurants with a flair for international fusion cuisine. In this case, the food was a combination of Japanese and Peruvian favorites for the unique dining experience. The venue itself was abound with wood finishing and eccentric interiors for a powerful, yet subtle effect. According to the manager, the furniture was imported abroad. Also, their executive chef hailed from Argentina, where he managed a Peruvian-Japanese restaurant. Talk about bringing the best from abroad!

This was a sample of their bar/kitchen. The furnishings were well-lit by gigantic incandescent light bulbs. While a bit cramped, the bar area, gave one a full view of the goings-on in the kitchen. After an observation of the surroundings, we were then able to try a good number of their drinks and dishes. 

Enter the Norito at Php 220. This cocktail was a slightly bittersweet combination of Lime, mint, nori, ginger, and cachaca. As such, it was intended to be a starter to a whole night of drinking. Since it only contained a mild alcohol variant, one may expect more than 2 glasses of this to give a discernible kick. Add to that the fragrant herb aroma due to the combination of lime and mint.

The Yellow Pepper Ceviche at Php 375 was composed of white fish, red onions, yellow pepper sauce, red chili, cilantro, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and sweet potato strings. The mix of red chili, cilantro, onions, and pepper sauce served to dilute the strong and notable fish flavor. It also provided an inkling of sweetness to the salty fish.

The Norito in a closer view looked like an herbal drink.

We then went for the stronger drinks such as the Sake Sangria at Php 295. It was a magnificent combination of lychee syrup, orange juice, ginger syrup, cachaca, and sake. The fruity mix was tasty, yet by the time I swallowed the drink, I was able to experience the bitter aftertaste of strong sake. Truly, this drink was a level up from the Norito due to the type of alcohol used and the acidic, fruity mix. I must say that the flavor was simply a mask for the strength of this drink.

The Tako confitado at Php 260, was composed of two sticks of grilled octopus in spicy panka-miso sauce. The tanginess of the panaka sauce blended well with the smoky taste of juicy octopus meat. It was an excellent accompaniment to the strong sake-based drinks that came our way.

The Coco Chee at Php 295 was an even higher level of alcohol cocktail. It was a vicious mix of vodka Absolut, Sake, Josen Nihonsakari, coconut milk, passion fruit juice, lychee juice, and single syrup. It was quite on the bitter side due to the double mix of Absolut and Sake, two alcoholic drinks that can easily deliver a kick served individually. I did have a bit of a problem with this drink since the juices and milk were unable to temper the ferocity and bitterness of the aforementioned alcohol bases.

The Fish Causa at Php 145 tempered the alcohol by providing a sweet, meaty taste. It was composed of Peruvian Soft Mashed Potato Bites Topped with a choice of Kobe, Ebi, Tako, Fish, or Salmon. We were served the Fish variant, which was white fish marinated in soy sauce, garnished with cilantro emulsion and guacamole. Every bite was sinfully delicious. 

The Spicy Sake Martini 250 was an explosive combination of Vodka, Lemon Juice, Sake, and Wasabi Paste. I do recommend the drink for those who love a little more adventure.

The Ceviche Roll, apparently was their best selling sushi; and it was easy to see why. It cost: 5 pcs P200 / 10 pcs P395. It was composed of white fish, cucumber, onion leeks, cilantro, ceviche sauce, and fresh chili (spicy). The explosive mix of freshness, spiciness, and creaminess were very much present and appreciated with every bite. The excellent plating and the flavors were enough to convince me to stop sushi abstinence.

The Kocha Tiraditos (Sashimi Peruvian Style) at Php 175 was a delightfully arranged mix of either white fish, salmon, octopus or tuna topped with salad sauce and crispy tea. We were served the Kocha Tiraditos White Fish. I must say that mixing tea with fresh fish did make a great combo. The herbal taste of tea served to purify the salty taste of fish. The sweet brown sauce also served to make the dish even sweeter.

The excellent interiors can be seen in this shot.

The Coco Tiraditos (Sashimi Peruvian Style) at Php 150 was another raw food favorite. It was a combination of either white fish, salmon, octopus or tuna with salad sauce, coconut milk, chives, and togarashi. We were served the Kocha Tiraditos Salmon, which in my opinion, had a thick and creamy coconut and brown sauce. I must say that pairing coconut milk with sashimi had created an invigorating taste.

The Mixed Jalea, at Php 680, was an exciting combination of Mackerel, Octopus, Prawns, Red Onion, Sweet Potato Strings, and Ceviche sauce. I did adore the plating and presentation of this humongous fish-based dish.  The potato strings and the seafood provided a crunchy texture altogether. Also, every bit of flavor from the seafood varieties were accentuated by the tangy ceviche sauce.

One of their rice meals was the Buta no Kakuni Chahan at Php 680 it was a mix of 
Pork Belly, Katsuboshi, Ponzu, Leeks, and Togarashi. The pork belly had thick fat trimmings. Eating a piece made me enthusiastic about the fatty and garlicky flavor of the dish. Add to that the stir-fried rice for an exciting meal. The coleslaw was pretty plain, though.

We ended our meal with the Tres Leches at Php 280. It was a small serving of sponge cake soaked in custard cream. I must say that this was a bit underwhelming. The cake already became soggy due to the condensed milk mix. I must commend it however, for its creme bruleee topped with mango for an excellent taste.

Nikkei is located at Unit GO3, Frabelle Business Center, 111 Rada Street, Legaspi Village, Makati City. It was an exhilarating experience to have tried out this premium restaurant.

Nikkei Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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