We went to Nikkei Podium when it opened late last year, but I just hadn’t been able to write about our experience because of one reason or other. Now that things seem stable on the home front, I took the opportunity to finally put pen to paper. It was a memorable dinner, so it wasn’t difficult to recall the food, and also, thank goodness that I made notes!
Now, I have loved Nikkei’s food since I first tried their Japanese-Peruvian fusion at their Makati branch. So it was nice to see that they opened a branch that is easier for us to get to. The Podium Mall has undergone some major renovations, and part of that is opening a new wing facing J. Vargas Ave.
Nikkei Podium Branch
Nikkei Podium is located on the ground floor of this new wing, quite close to the mall doors facing J. Vargas.
Ambience is similar to their Makati branch, but I much like this one better because it feels less crowded. It must be because it’s in a mall so it feels like it’s connected to some place bigger. Parking is also less of an issue because mall parking is available.
Here’s the bar area where you can also see your food being prepared, if you wish to:
We started with some Salmon Causa (P180). Causas are little bites of mashed potato capped with your choice of topping, kind of like the South American version of sushi. Here we have some finely minced salmon tartare topped with sesame oil and pickled onions.
Green Ceviche (P375) – a wonderful seafood salad with fish, octopus, prawns in a wasabi cream sauce, and some tang and freshness added by red onions and herbs. Those are grilled corn kernels on the side.
Kocha Tiradito (P195) – this is a Peruvian-style sashimi. We chose octopus.
Foie Gras Nigiri Sushi (P300) – nicely seared creamy foie gras pieces and salmon caviar that pop in your mouth, highlighted by citrusy ponzu sauce – one piece is not enough!
Ceviche Roll (P250) – this is a fresh-tasting roll that feels more Peruvian than Japanese – white fish, cucumbers, cilantro, chilis, lime
Fresh Oysters (P420) – Very fresh oysters, with butter, parmesan and leeks, garnished with salmon caviar. Truly an indulgence.
For our mains, we had:
Kobe (P1,295). It’s wagyu beef slices on a bed of mashed potatoes and, get this, sauced with blueberry teriyaki! The beef was tender and buttery, the mashed potatoes were awesome, and the blueberry sauce was a delight – it’s something I have not seen paired like this before.
Seared Tuna with Sea Urchin Risotto (P680) – sliced seared tuna, on a bed of creamy sea urchin and mushroom risotto. I remember really liking the risotto 🙂
Everything was delicious! I’m not exaggerating. If you’re the type who likes rich flavors perfectly balanced by a hint of sour or spice, you’ll love Nikkei!
Dining at Nikkei is more of an experience – you’re there to taste the food rather than to get your belly full. Servings are small and each bite just made us want more! The flavors are really outstanding.
Price – some dishes I think are good value, while some seem priced at a premium considering the small serving sizes. However, taking into account the quality of the ingredients used and the uniqueness of the dishes, overall, the pricing is acceptable.
Despite not eating the volume of food we usually do per meal, we left Nikkei very satisfied and full but not stuffed. The flavor combinations are just really good. All the ingredients are fresh and of good quality. It’s like enjoying the tasting experience of an haute cuisine restaurant, but at more reasonable prices. Seriously, every dish was superbly done. Japanese-Peruvian cuisine is fast becoming one of my favorites, all thanks to Nikkei.
Nikkei – The Podium
Ground Floor, The Podium, ADB Avenue, Mandaluyong Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nikkeiph/
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