Hello, Izakaya Sensu!
We were greeted by a well-lit Japanese restaurant with high ceiling adorned with wooden lighting fixtures.
We sat at the brightest spot best for food shots and ordered the following: SENSU Kawari Kusi 5 (PHP195), Butabara Aspara (PHP60), Butabara Enoki (PHP70), Uni Isobe Age (PHP495), Dragon Roll, Soft Shell Crab Roll and Ebi Tempura Roll (I was so giddy to be finally here that I forgot to take note of the prices but these are within the PHP250-300 price range).
While waiting, we had a wait snack made of salmon with tuna and veggies. It had a light flavor and was great to whet one's appetite.
I also managed to have a quick chat with one of the owners, Andrej. He said that originally, the Japanese chef wanted to get all the ingredients abroad and most of the seafood from Tsukiji Market. But that would entail high costs and they would have to charge so much. Luckily, they found some local (and quality) suppliers for some ingredients like uni. But for others like salmon and hamachi, they have to get it elsewhere to ensure top quality dishes . He also told me that they are still testing the waters so Izakaya will be open just for dinner this week and will start to serve lunch meals next week. (Note: They close after lunch service and will resume operations for dinner service. So no Japanese afternoon breaks for now.)
First served was the huge plate with all the rolls.
I sure had a hard time taking photo of this one so I used magic instead!
The Dragon Roll was my favorite as it had a lovely play of different textures. The combination of soft avocado topping with roe, firm Japanese rice and crunchy cucumber was heaven! I enjoyed each bite of it.
(Tip: Izakaya Sensu offers two types of soy sauce, the standard Kikoman and a lighter version created by the restaurants wizard chefs.)
The Soft Shell Crab Roll was very filling. It was wider compared to Dragon Roll with soft shell crab in the middle.
It wasn't as crunchy or flavorful as I hoped but its light taste had a certain appeal that made us finish the whole thing in a jiffy.
The Ebi Tempura Roll had a generous portion of prawns. It was undeniable that they used fresh prawns as each bite had a nice crunch. And no, it was not because of the breading but the firmness of the prawn chunks.
The Butabara Aspara and Butabara Enoki were served next and both were delightful! These may be considered simple dishes as these were just grilled, brushed with yakitori sauce and lightly salted. But each bite made my taste buds dance for joy. The soft and flavorful thinly sliced pork complemented the crunchy enoki and asparagus so well that I wanted to order more. But I had to practice self control as I also ordered SENSU Kawari Kusi 5.
The platter of chicken breast yakitori was served next and it was bigger than I thought. One order comes with 5 chicken breast skewers featuring 5 different toppings--cheese, pink cod roe and mayonnaise, wasabi, Japanese plum and Shiso leaf, and Sichimi Chili Mayonnaise. For PHP195, this was a steal!!!
The chicken breasts were seasoned and grilled to perfection and each topping was great. But I loved the pink cod roe and mayonnaise topping best. (R liked the Japanese plum with Shiso leaf least as it had a tangy and stronger taste.)
The Uni Isobe Age was an interesting way to enjoy uni (sea urchin) as it was served in nori parcels or pockets. It was actually quite adorable.
We were given three types of salt--nori, bonito and curry along with the tempura sauce to dip each pocket in.
I enjoyed it best with the nori salt as it didn't drown the natural sweetness of the uni.
Overall, it was an awesome dinner. Service was quick and the staff members are familiar with the dishes. They are also very polite and tend to bow after serving our orders. I'll definitely be back for more and for the bestseller karaage!
Izakaya Sensu is located at Net Park, 5th Avenue, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.