Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Going Japanese Casual at Watami

Being such The Bistro Group baby, I made it a point to visit the only restaurant of theirs that I haven't been to yet - Watami. Popular in Japan, this restaurant may be a dime a dozen over there, but the branches in Metro Manila can be harder to come by, although The Bistro Group did make it a point to put them in the best foodie malls in the country. Aside from the original branch at the Mall of Asia, there is also the newest one that had just open on the 6th floor of Shangri la Mall.

The Watami restaurant branch that I ended up going to was in the harder-to-find Glorietta branch, which is actually located outside of the mall, near the Holiday Inn and next to Lugang Cafe. I was going around in circles inside the mall for a good while, 'til I asked a security guard where the heck it was and finally got pointed in the right direction.

Read more on The Bistro Group's other restaurants:
Village Tavern Introduces Char-Grilled Wagyu Burgers
Bulgogi Brother's New Barbecue Specials
Modern Shanghai's Guide to the Xiao Long Bao
Yee-Haw for Tex-Mex at TGIFriday's
Spanish Iberico Pork Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu by Terazawa

Although the restaurant was located outside of Glorietta 2, the space it occupied was huge! The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and there were a lot of items to choose from when perusing the menu. Watami has a nice mix of both Japanese and Korean favorites, which lets customers enjoy the best of both worlds.

I would usually dive right into the Premium Salmon Sashimi (P425), but as I was having dinner with Jericho - and he isn't a fan of raw salmon - I opted for the less creamy Tuna Sashimi (P275) instead so he could at least enjoy a bite. Each slice of raw maguro was fresh, with a bright rosy hue, just the way I like it. The wasabi that comes with it is pretty strong, too, and had a field day with my nostrils. Also just the way I like it.

I was powering through an upset stomach that day, so a glass of Orange Yakult (P150) was in order, to help soothe the rumbling in my tummy. Good ol' Jericho wanted to be a bit more adventurous and had the Passionfruit Mango Tea (P145), which also had little tapioca balls at the bottom, making for a sour drink with a sweet ending.

I saw Crispy Chicken Wings (P195) on the menu, and that was the end of that discussion. This started our Korean dinner at the Japanese casual restaurant, with the perfectly crispy chicken drumsticks and wings in a sweet soy glaze. It was ok, but I'd have to contest the price point a little bit, being as I could get the same amount of chicken wings at a nearby wings store.

Since we were going the Korean route for dinner, Jericho suggested we also get the Beef and Kimchee Rice in Stone Pot (P295), so we did. How visually enticing does that bowl of food look? Our server tossed everything in the bibimbap for us, leaving us with a bright orange bowl of julienned vegetables, thick slices of pork and, kimchi. I wish they added more kimchi to the mix, though - it wasn't as spicy as I'd hoped it would be.

Needing more protein than what was in the bibimbap, we also had the Self Grilled Pork Ribs (P375). You can request to have them grill it up in the kitchen or grill it table-side. Either way, you still get beautiful, medium rare pork ribs.

For the sake of taking a pretty picture, we requested to have it cooked at the table, with the smell of sizzling meat wafting through the air and finding a home in the cottony fabric of our clothes. Hahaha! It was worth the wait - and smelling like a Korean barbecue - as I patiently sat there and watched the red pieces of raw meat turn a light brown, ready to be dipped in a light steak sauce, and devoured with equal gusto.

Going back to the Japanese menu for dessert, I had an order of their Maccha Parfait (P195). This was supposed to be one order, that turned into three. It was so good! The light dessert had a sponge base doused with light alcohol and tasted mostly of a cold, heavy cream with a strong matcha taste. This is very, very French, and something I enjoyed so much I had to have three runs at it before throwing in the towel and calling it a night.

This is a restaurant I can keep coming back to, mainly because it has such a diverse menu, there's always something new to try when I come back. That, and if I can pry myself away from the Maccha Parfait, I can probably also try some of their other desserts as well.

When mucking around Makati, check out Watami at Glorietta 2 and try their classic Japanese dishes or their Japanese take on Korean favorites! Either way, I doubt you'll be disappointed here. I'm already raring to go back, sans the tummyache!

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+63 2 808 0475
G/F Glorietta 2, Hotel Dr
Ayala Center, Makati
Open Daily: 10am - 10pm