Truth is, there is no shortage of Japanese-themed restaurants here. Some are more authentic than the others, some far removed from their Japanese roots. Which begs the question: is there really space for a new one? The people behind Nama Sakana believe that with their fusion cuisine, there is always room.
But first things first – what’s in a name? Nama Sakana is Nihongo for “raw fish”, an apt name for the restaurant has an extensive sushi bar. But as happyfoodies found out, this upscale Japanese restaurant has more than sushi to offer. Talk about Nobu-style Japanese fushion cuisine where traditional Japanese fare is tweaked to offer the diner a tasty twist on their favorites. Chef Rolly, who has worked for Nobu London for more than a decade, does a fine balancing act in coming up with Japanese food that tastes familiar and yet offers something new for the taste buds.
Lagal[og] said: For starters, we had the Green Salad with Seared Tuna. It’s a good choice – the veggies are fresh and crisp, the vinaigrette sauce had just the right sourness to complement the tuna slices. Certainly whets the appetite for the heavier, main course to follow.
Ironwulf said: I love sashimi so I was delighted we were served their New Style Salmon Sashimi as an appetizer. Emphasis here on the ‘new style’ since they already incorporated the sauce into the dish. Thinly sliced and suffused with a well-balanced sauce that has a pleasant sourness and lightness. It’s a perfect starter, I would wanted to have more but I’m leaving room for surprises.
Lagal[og] said: I’m not fond of sashimi but the salmon gets my nod. I gathered from owner, Lovely (Rivero-Nocom) that Chef Rolly uses a base of heated olive oil that very slightly cooks the salmon so the taste isn’t typical of raw fish. The sauce is not too light nor too heavy, with a hint of soy sauce and mirin, probably even sake.
Ironwulf said: The Beef Tobanyaki was served on a small pan with beef slices on a shallow pool of sauce. It was beautifully garnished with different kinds of mushrooms and broccoli. The meat was really tender and chewy and I can tell from the sauce that seeped through the meat that it has sake in it due to the tinge of sourness. I love mushrooms so I was ecstatic with the generous amount included aside from the crisp broccoli. The mushrooms were really tasty and added greatly to the flavor of the meat which still retained its grilled flavor even after simmering.
Lagal[og] said: I’m big on beef so I liked the Tobanyaki. But what really surprised me among the lot was the Black Cod Gindara with Sweet Miso Sauce. I’m not really an avid fish eater and am normally wary of Gindara since there are preparations that don’t sit well with my tummy. But the one served to us was really wonderful. Using a fork, the fish came off flaky and tender from the skin. Each bite reveals a mélange of texture and flavors. Sans the Miso Sauce, it was still very, very good. I guess the elaborate preparation – marinated for two days, grilled, broiled, then grilled anew – was well worth it. If you’re going to just order one item among the main courses, I highly recommend it.
Ironwulf said: I also highly recommend their Black Cod Gindara, it was one of the tastiest fish dish I’ve tasted for a time. I was also able to try some of the familiar Japanese dishes like the Tuna Maki and Gyoza, which I only found average on the side so I would suggest getting the the Black Cod Gindara and the Beef Tobanyaki instead which are real worth it.
Lagal[og] said: The Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Dessert is a digression from the Japanese fare (would have appreciated a Japanese dessert or two in the menu in keeping up with the authentic fusion theme) but it sure was a delicious treat. The cookie dough was freshly-baked, moist and warm to the bite, providing a perfect foil for the vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, choco bits and cherry on top. I’m not surprised it’s a favorite order among kids (and the kids-at-heart).
Ironwulf said: It was a surprising dessert and very well presented on a small pan. I love chocolates and the warm and soft cookie dough was really delicious. Topped with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and bits of choco, it was a perfect dessert to cap a great dining experience at Nama Sakana.
Ground floor, Fox Square Bldg.
53 Connecticut St., Greenhills
San Juan City, Metro Manila
Tel. 726.7266 • Open from 11am-11.30pm on weekdays, 11.30am-11.30pm weekends