(SPOT.ph) The chef walks in and presents his personal selection of the day's freshest sashimi. The omakase is stunning: a hypnotic spectacle of golden uni, reliable tuna, creamy salmon, two kinds of shrimp, juicy scallops, snapper, tender octopus. Even more unconventional choices—for the Philippines, anyway—like surf clams, flounder, and horse mackerel play their parts well.
The Raintree Group's Andrej Wisniewski points at the pieces of silvery horse mackerel. "You don't see it as sashimi too often, but we knew that if we could get quality fish, it would work," he explains. The company, which has been behind successes like Chelsea Kitchen, Chelsea Grand Cafe, Saboten, Museum Cafe, Simple Lang, and others, is set to open their latest restaurant at Net Park, Bonifacio Global City. It's the dual concept Izakaya Sensu and Chotto Matte, where the premise is to have a great time in between work (their bento boxes are ace!) and after.
Working on Saboten gave brothers Andrej and Martin (the other brain behind the Raintree brand) a deeper understanding for Japanese cuisine and it was also this connection that introduced them to Andoh Nobuhide. Andoh helped them conceptualize a menu and style that are both true to the Japanese spirit yet innovative enough to stand out. Even the izakaya is designed to be served the way it is in Japan—tapas-like plates with the carb last. Andrej, however, admits that the dishes are still available a la carte.
SPOT.ph has already announced its opening (on July 10), but here's a more comprehensive look at the comforting cuisine of Izakaya Sensu and the soothing drinks of Chotto Matte (the bar that they developed with Tokyo's Piglet). From the omakase to the karaage to the rolls, everything is shareable, so don't forget to bring the gang.
Chotto Matte fronts the restaurant; Izakaya Sensu is at the far end.
Otoshi: a Japanese amuse-bouche that changes every day. This one has octopus, daikon, and carrots in a stew.
The Sensu Roll (P575) is a long plate featuring two rolls in one: Tempura Asparagus and Spicy Mayonnaise topped with spicy tuna, green chili, and unagi sauce; and Crabmeat Mayonnaise, yuzu skin and cucumber topped with mango, flying fish roe, and unagi sauce.
Yasai Sushi Omakase (P195), an assortment of edamame, mango, avocado, wasabi, ume, okra, and zuke paprika
Vegetable Roll (P150), with mixed veggies
The Sensu Omakase Special (P2,995) features 11 kinds of sashimi.
The Sensu Kawari Kusi (P195) comes with sticks of chicken breast with Japanese flavored sauce. The one dressed in yuzu is a must-try! It really brightens the muted toast of chicken breast.
Hirame 'Sugata-Age' (P695) or deep-fried flatfish nuggets on a noodle basket with ponzu dip. Once you've finished the nuggets, enjoy the crispy fish! it's like chicharon.
Sensu Kara-Age (P175) boasts sesame-coated fried chicken, fresh lemon, and Japanese mayonnaise. The chicken itself is flavorful enough. The sesame really adds a cool twist to the flavor.
Izakaya Sensu's version of comfort food is the Goma Chazuke (P395), sesame-marinated white fish rice porridge in hot tea with Japanese rice crackers and wasabi. This is Andoh's favorite and the sauce is based on his grandmother's recipe.
Zaru Soba (P250) is a classic soba with shredded nori and wasabi. The tomato is a pretty unique but successful addition. It makes the cold noodles feel even more refreshing.
Four in Season (P120)
Sensu Ice Tea (P175)—it's made with green tea!
Grapefruit and Ginger Soda (P150)
Chotto Matte brings over a large collection of authentic Japanese alcoholic drinks, including cocktails, artisanal sakes, and what they call "the best Kakubin Highball in town."
Perfect for the drinks!
Izakaya Sensu X Chotto Matte is at Net Park, 28th Street corner 5th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City. Opening day is on July 9.
Photos by Criselda Carreon
This article has been edited to reflect a new opening date as requested by the owners.