Ooma Restaurant provides an outstanding take on classic Japanese fare. Food at Ooma is excellent, with much attention given to presentation and, more importantly, to flavor. Admittedly, Ooma is one of those restaurants that I find intimidating because it exudes an air of exclusivity and class. However, a dinner invitation courtesy of our friend Vins changed that entire notion.
We celebrated our friend Vins’ birthday at Ooma in Rockwell. Despite the heavy traffic from our house in Quezon City to Makati City, it was a good decision to join the dinner get-together because it acquainted me with what I reckon as one of the best Japanese restaurants in town. Before we got our seats though, we had to wait for one hour probably because of the small interiors of Ooma’s Rockwell branch.
Ooma’s ambiance is actually cool and laid-back. Overall, the atmosphere is trendy and very welcoming. It’s not just for the upscale crowd but for everyone who wants to enjoy first-rate Japanese cuisine. The long wait was well worth it, as I found out later into our meal.
After we had settled down, we quickly placed our orders, having scanned the menu beforehand. We ordered Agedashi Tofu (Php255), Soft Shell Crab Tempura (Php398), Ebi and Kani Aburi Maki (Php265), Ebi Tempura, and Buta Kakuni Katsudon (Php299).
Agedashi Tofu is a merry mix of crispy tofu, marinated eggplant, cherry tomato tempura, and field greens. It has savory notes accentuated by fresh flavors from the field greens, most notably the arugula which was pleasantly pungent. I like the taste of arugula, whether in salads or in other starters such as this Agedashi Tofu because it provides a kick of flavor.
One of the dishes that I was excited to try for the first time was the Soft Shell Crab Tempura. This is lightly battered soft shell crab, served with seaweed shreds, ebiko or shrimp roe, avocado mousse, and tempura sauce. The thought of eating crab without having to exert much effort in peeling the hard shell all the more tantalized my taste buds. The mild flavors of the crab went well with the slightly crunchy coating. As with any seafood, flavors can be furthered enhanced by seasonings and dipping sauces.
We also had Ebi and Kani Aburi Maki. Aburi means to burn something. It’s a traditional Japanese technique of using a blowtorch to enhance the flavor of food. Ebi Kani is, of course, shrimp and crab stick. It’s a classic combo in most Japanese cooking but the flavors are brought to a higher level via a combination of cream cheese, aligue mayo, and ginger house tare. For texture, tempura crumbs are sprinkled onto the maki rools. After my curiosity for maki waned when I was younger, I have never really regained it back because almost all versions taste the same. However, with the unforgettable flavors of Ooma’s Ebi and Kani Aburi Maki, I have rekindled my initial fondness for maki.
Another dish that was given an excellent twist was the Ebi Tempura. Again, I have lost interest in tempura over the years because I found them bland and boring. Ooma’s Ebi Tempura may not look any different than other shrimp tempuras at first but you would notice that they were gigantic. The shrimps were big, not just the coating. But what I liked about it was the crunchy heads. They were fried to a crisp! Not many people may agree with me but I find shrimp heads to be extremely flavorful. It was a delight that you could eat these shrimps whole.
For those who love katsudon, do try the Buta Kakuni Katsudon. This is breaded slow roasted pork belly served with onions, egg, carrots, pickled onions, nori, house tare, rice, and side salad. The huge slab of pork belly is really good; all flavors are on point. It is mandatory to eat this with a lot of rice.
We also had Mixed Chahan. It seemed like a new dish on offer and it looked like paella. I think this is flavored rice which is best eaten with mildly-seasoned seafood so that the taste is complementing.
The prices of the dishes are also surprisingly affordable considering the excellent flavors and well thought out preparations. I think Ooma is one of our best foodie finds this year and I was glad to have tried its memorable food offerings. By the way, rice is unlimited at Ooma so be sure to pack an appetite when you visit this restaurant.
Ooma at Rockwell is located at Ground Floor, Edades Tower and Garden Villas, Amorsolo Corner Waterfront Drive, Rockwell, Makati City.
Other outlets can be found at the following addresses:
• SM Megamall
Third Floor, Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
• Bonifacio Global City
Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
• Greenbelt 3
Level 2, Greenbelt 3, Ayala Center, Greenbelt, Makati City
• Muntinlupa City
Molito Commercial Complex, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
• Salcedo Village (Sushi Bar)
136 Paseo Heights, L. P. Leviste Street, Salcedo Village, Makati Ciy
• Greenhills (Sushi Bar)
Ground Floor, O Square Building 2, Greenhills Shopping Center, Greenhills, San Juan City
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