This is one restaurant that I am very excited to blog about! It is because for one, this resto offers Maki and other Japanese-based delights and also because of the commendable ingenuity of the founder to infuse some Filipino soul and ingredients to their otherwise foreign dishes. Yes, you read it right! Manila Maki (previously Pinoy Don) is a Filipino-Japanese fusion offering Japanese viands with a Filipino twist, which definitely makes the restaurant stand out from all its competitors since it really caters to the FIlipino taste-buds. I know that this post is already long overdue and my friends could definitely attest to what I just said as they were the ones who were endlessly nagging and pressuring me, prior this, to write and post our lunch-out here already! So, here it is, I succumb! I know they will be very psyched when they see this.
Cute and vibrant, Manila Maki's interiors will surely uplift your mood upon you entering the establishment. Embellished with bright-coloured furniture, shabby chic decorations and walls that are either covered with news prints and the bold color yellow, the place turned out to be a sure feast for the eyes.
There were also wooden-framed photographs of their foods on the other side of the wall so if you find yourself at a loss on what to get, these photographs might greatly help you on making a decision! However, since we know that we will be pressed for time, we already did a little research the day before of the items that we would like to try.
The Spicy Tuna Sashimi (Php 265) was a favorite! This is not just pure bias speaking here as this salad was surely something unconventional. Fresh tuna sashimi tossed with Japanese mayo, taba ng talangka (yummy!), tempura flakes and nori strips, this dish surely intensified my love for Spicy Tuna Sashimi.
Simply looking, this dish is more sinful than what it appears to be! Why so? Because those orange on top are Crab Aligue (Php 145)!
A Filipinized version of the Spicy Salmon Sashimi (Php 275), this raw goodness was topped with none other than chicharon bits!
Now this was something filling! Crisp Salmon belly and Laguna kesong puti, rolled with sushi rice and bacon bits and topped with these fresh, spicy salmon, the Laguna Roll (Php 265) is a sure-fire way for you to feel full in a matter of seconds!
Called Longgiyoza (Php 125), this steam fried dumplings was packed with Cabanatuan Longganisa and leeks and was served with spicy soy vinegar. I was blown away by this version of Gyoza because it felt like eating Xiao Long Bao, with the juice oozing out of the dumplings in every bite.
The Tempura Maki (Php 265) was short on delivery and I can pinpoint clearly where the awkwardness started. If only the toasted Panko was omitted or if only the sushi was toasted (or fried) for a little while I think this dish would have been a contender!
Who says you cannot have a glass of Sake during the day? Manila Maki offers a number of Sake-based drinks that would surely make you dance with happiness. We ended up trying the Coco Lychee Saketini which was expectedly sweet and refreshing you would totally forget you are consuming alcohol (and this is coming from someone who abhors alcohol!)
Manila Maki knew they could not compete with the others if they are to offer authentic Japanese dishes, so it was really a genius idea to turn something foreign into something that will be loved by its target market. Nonetheless, if ever there is such a thing as a marriage between Japanese and Filipino cuisine and ingredients, Manila Maki surely had demonstrated that it is possible and these two are bound to be together till death do they part.
(add) 332 HV Dela Costa, G/F Elizabeth Place Condominium, Salcedo Village, 1111 Makati City | (phone) +632 822 7319 | (facebook) /ManilaMaki