New skewers invade Watami's latest izakaya
Say kampai with these delicious new additions!
Uptown Place Mall, 36th Street corner 9th Street, Uptown Bonifacio
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday), 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Friday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Watami Grill and Sushi Bar at Uptown Place Mall is a smaller and more informal affair than its predecessors at SM Mall of Asia and Shangri-La Plaza. Tucked in a corner on the fourth floor, it is patterned after the izakayas of Japan—the perfect place to unwind after a hard day at work.
The new Watami
The octopus peeking
Izakayas date back to 17th-Century Japan when teahouses started serving sake alongside their snacks. They have now evolved into small drinking spots often located in subway stations and alleyways—a strategic stop between work and home. Locals head there at the end of the day to sit down for a good drink and an equally good meal. That’s the thing about the izakaya culture—good food accompanies good drink. For the hardworking Japanese, the humble peanut or crisps just won’t cut it.
This is an izakaya all right!
True to form, Watami’s menu is as multi-faceted as the ones in Japan. This branch scales down to focus on quick, convenient fare, trimming out items like katsu and ramen off the list. It's a refreshing change from the winding selections in the other outlets.
Spicy Salmon Tempura
The sushi rolls, like the crowd-favorite California Maki (P315), are best for those who crave flavor and a bit of rice, but Watami is also rolling out nigiri (two pieces/order) now, offering Japanese favorites like Ebi (P185), Tuna (P145), Salmon(P185), and Tamago (P80). Give the Spicy Salmon Tempura (P195/eight pieces) a chance, too. The peach-hued fish is cooked, which makes this more appealing to a wider set, then fried in tempura batter for a resounding crunch.
If you're gunning for intense flavors, the Saba (P245) or mackerel is a lovely demonstration of earthy, salty, and smoky notes.
When it comes to kushiyaki, the Chicken Balls (P75) and Chicken Thigh (P55) are ever-reliable snacks, but it's nice to appreciate Watami's dedication to create balanced flavors even in their skewers. The Bacon Quail Egg (P75), which is something of a classic, envelops the richness of the egg, while the Pork Belly (P65) comes with leeks to help lift the weight of the meat.
Beef Rice Bowl
For those who need a big hug at the end of the day, there’s the Beef Rice Bowl with Hot Spring Egg in Tokyo Style (P355). This entire bowl of beef and rice is certain to lift anyone’s mood as well as fill a hollow stomach. When you're looking for comfort, there's no such thing as too much carbs.
The prices reflect that of Japanese izakayas, too. They’re affordable, friendly, and comforting towards the hardworking individual. Skewers range from P40 to P145, while a platter of assorted ones costs less than P300.
Matcha Ice Cream
Izakayas, with its down-to-earth and roll-up-your-sleeves kind of chill, is an essential part of Japanese everyday life. And this Watami Branch at Uptown Mall is ready to be an essential part of your everyday life, too.
Photos by Hans Fausto
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