New Restaurant Alert: Nori at Kapitolyo, Pasig
Japanese and Mexican food make an unlikely but successful pair.
1 Unit A, 1st Street, Barangay Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
(SPOT.ph) One of the latest additions to the Kapitolyo restaurant scene keeps a low profile. Nori, the tiny eatery developed by the same folks behind Hiyas and Smokes Sizzling Grill, is tucked away unassumingly at the corner of 1st Street. It's a month-old joint slowly but surely being uncovered by hungry foodies ready to sniff out and dig up the newest shiny gem. That gem is Nori's range of sushi burritos.
We like how the permit is placed.
Nori’s interiors take you to a crisp bar setting where wood-and-metal furniture play around the black, gray, and brown color palette. Newspapers plastered on the wall add to the nonchalant vibe of the place, almost as if the owners want you to think the design is an afterthought to the stars of the show—their food, of course.
The sushi burritos are patterned after Sushirrito, a San Francisco-based restaurant that launched a series of similar concepts in the U.S. like Uma Temakeria and Jogasaki Sushi Burrito. Nori then sought to adapt the fusion wraps in Metro Manila, where Mexican and Japanese cuisines are well-loved.
“The initial idea was to wrap everything (the ingredients) in nori wrapper,” explains business development manager CK Buenviaje, “Since it was a bit difficult to hold everything together (using nori), we used soft soy for our wraps instead.” There's no reason to complain though. The accidental ingredient successfully acts as the sweet agent in the predominantly savory mix. Nori’s burritos all feature soy wraps, roasted sesame rice, and a handful of homemade chips seasoned with salt and paprika.
Their signature dish (which also happens to co-owner Francis Maneja’s favorite) is the Umami Chicken Burrito (P159), a jumble of roasted sesame rice, marinated chicken, corn, cream cheese, cabbage, and Japanese mayo held together by the chewy soy wrapper.
Other varieties that feature distinct contrasts in flavor include the Beef Bulgogi and Beef Mexicano (P169 each). The former is an interplay of marinated Korean beef, roasted sesame rice, bean sprouts, carrots, cabbage, and a surprising addition—apple slices! The latter, meanwhile, is a tangy mix of spicy marinated beef, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a hint of mildly sweet cream cheese. Another Tex-Mex offering on the menu is their latest creation, Chicano Salmon (P189), an option for those who enjoy a kick in their seafood.
Those who are into Japanese food fare, meanwhile, can opt for Nori’s Wasabi Tuna (P169) or Miso-Glazed Salmon (P189) burrito varieties. The Wasabi Tuna burrito features seasoned tuna slices, asparagus, wasabi mayo, pickled ginger, turnip, carrots, and cabbage, while the Miso-Glazed Salmon burrito contains salmon, miso, cucumber, carrots, and cabbage. Other burrito favorites that borrow elements from the Japanese include the Chicken Teriyaki (P149), Spicy Fish Tempura (P139), and Chashu Pork (P149).
Shrimp Crab Aligue
The Shrimp Crab Aligue (P189) burrito is recommended for fans of Filipino food, specifically those who appreciate a good mishmash of rice and crab fat. While this combo is usually just about enough, Nori goes the extra mile to pair it with slices of fresh shrimp and vegetables.
Beyond Nori’s sushi burritos are more delights for the hungry. If you are into rice bowls, do give their "Lazy Sushi" a go. It's a deconstructed sushi, tossing sushi components haphazardly into a bowl. Their bestsellers include Chicken Karaage (P129), Bonito Beef Salpicao (P119), and Angus Beef Teriyaki (P119).
Bonito Beef Salpicao Lazy Sushi
Chicken Karaage Lazy Sushi
Teriyaki Lazy Sushi
All these can be paired with a either side salad—Kani (P79), Sesame (P79), or Miso Potato (P69)—or Yakitori (P39/stick) in options like Bacon Crab Sticks, Tengayaki, Pork Isaw, Pork Yakitori, Chicken Yakitori, and Fish Yakitori. CK says their yakitori sticks are especially a hit with those coming in for a beer or two. If you aren’t too keen on alcohol, their House Blend Iced Tea (P55), a citrusy blend of seasonal fruits, is a fitting alternative to wash everything down.
While Nori is still gaining momentum as one of Manila’s go-to stops for Japanese grub, we’re more than excited to see what other fusion dishes it has in store. How does a chicken curry burrito sound?
Photos by Pia Guballa