Ooma Sushi Bar
136 Paseo Heights, Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City
Contact: 0916-826-3603, 814-3795
Open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Monday to Friday), 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. (Saturday), and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday)
(SPOT.ph) Japanese food has integrated itself so well into the local food scene that you probably can’t imagine life now without the Japanese restos that dot Metro Manila. The versatility of the cuisine is one reason behind this—new Japanese restaurants can always offer something new to the palate—and there’s no better showcase for this than sushi.
The maki and aburi here in Manila come in all colors and sizes, and are filled with all kinds of tasty things. It’s one way to practice some flair and playfulness when it comes to Japanese food, and Ooma fully embraces this with Ooma Sushi Bar in Salcedo Village, Makati.
Ooma Sushi Bar may be the smallest Ooma branch, but it exudes a brighter vibe compared to the rest. As has been the tradition for all the restaurant's branches, the baby of the group also channels Tsukiji Fish Market, specifically the busy marketplace area where fish sellers flaunt their catch of the day. From bold graphic art to a plastic fish hanging from the ceiling, there’s lots for your eyes (and camera) to take in.
Spicy Tuna Taco-Maki
And there’s lots for your belly, too. Ooma Sushi Bar has a more concise menu, which you can access online, with a focus on aburi and maki. Ooma classic Soft Shell Crab Taco-Maki (P230/two pieces) is still on the menu, but they're also adding the Salcedo branch-exclusive Spicy Tuna Taco-Maki (P199/two pieces), with fresh and tender tuna tartare, a togarashi-scallion dressing, and wasabi aioli for maximum heat.
Ooma has also expanded their aburi, or torched-topped nigiri, and maki options, and while the choices may seem overwhelming at first, you can be sure anything you order on the menu is packed with bold flavors.
You can start your palate on something relatively mild like the Salmon Miso Maki (P275/six pieces). Also exclusive to this branch, this maki bursts with creamy richness from the cream cheese, and the miso dressing gives each roll a sweet-sour punch.
Crab and Kani Maki
Another safe bet is the Crab and Kani Maki (P265/six pieces), though because this is Ooma, don’t expect your usual run-of-the-mill kani sushi. What you get instead are rolls loaded with fresh crab and aligue mayo, with mango pico and pickled cucumber adding a refreshing contrast to the sweet-salty brine of the crab.
Unagi Mentaiko Aburi Maki
But why drop by Ooma if you don’t treat your taste buds to something more eccentric? The Unagi Mentaiko Aburi Maki (P345/six pieces) is great for those who love unagi, but also want something a little different. Crispy potato strands are the perfect contrast to the velvety freshwater eel, and, though it doesn’t look like it, this roll packs lots of heat from the mentaiko (pollock roe) aioli.
Kimchi Prawn and Enoki Aburi Maki
The real showstopper at Ooma Sushi Bar is the Kimchi Prawn and Enoki Aburi Maki (P275). The sushi is piled so high that you almost wonder how you’ll manage to eat this without making a mess—but you’ll find a way. After all, it's loaded with crispy-fried prawns, cream cheese, and kimchi aioli, among lots of other sweet-salty-spicy stuff to be had.
Drop by regularly and you may catch one of their specials, the Cold Sesame and Duck Ramen Salad (P345)
Because sushi cravings can hit any time of the day, Ooma Sushi Bar is open until 11 p.m. on most days, so you can sate any late-night hankerings. Hang out on their al-fresco stools with sushi and an ice-cold bottle of beer—sometimes, there’s no better way to end the day.
Photos by Patrick Martires