Sunday brunch at Nobu has become a favorite activity of mine for its many creative dishes.
It is, however, the delicate, fruity-sweet, glistening Kumamoto oysters that I can’t get enough of. It is so worth the trip!
Depending on the menu cycle, the oysters are served two ways: fresh on a half shell with four sauces (Nobu Hot Sauce, Maui Onion, Ponzu and Nobu Salsa), or New Style (freshly-shucked, lightly seared in hot sesame and olive oil) with garlic, chives and sesame seeds.
Other offerings I can’t resist are the seabass jalapeño and the playfully prepared sushi and sashimi creations of the day, by Japanese Sushi chef Kirika Oi.
My son Diego feasts on the beef and chicken kushi (skewers) from the Teppan Station. I am, on the other hand, a big fan of the sinful chicken skin kushi. But not to worry, there are healthier options: Salmon Belly, Baby Octopus, Squid, Eggplant, Shiitake Mushroom and Leek, along with various sauces to excite the palate: Teriyaki, Wasabi Pepper and Anticucho.
Another must-savor (available a la carte) is the Nobu signature Halo-Halo, a refined and sophisticated take on the Filipino classic.
I was told that chef Nobu Matsuhisa fell in love with Hawaiian shaved ice, so much so that he has a shaved ice dessert in every Nobu restaurant around the world, each one interpreted to suit the local palate.
In Manila, his rendition consists of Fiji Water Snow, Yuzu Gelée, Green Tea Crisps, Sweet Bean, Leche Flan, Freshly Made Mochi Rolled in Toasted Coconut and Sesame Seeds, Sweet Condensed Milk, Ube Ice Cream and a drizzling of Kuromitsu Syrup (dark Japanese molasses).
The complexity, the play of textures and the twist of flavors are due to the masterful combination, the ingenious mixing and matching of ingredients.
New to the carving station this month is the Roasted Aromatic Pork Belly (marinated in salt crushed pepper, onion, lemon grass and cinnamon bark) by Nobu Manila’s head chef, Filipino-American Mike de Jesus. It is paired with two dipping sauces—Asian-style dipping sauce (soy sugar, chili and calamansi) and Sinamak—and served with Beef Fried Rice.
Though I have not sampled the belly, it is something I look forward to tasting next time. Prepared the Nobu way, I am certain there is something out of the ordinary about it.
Call 8008080. Visit cityofdreamsmanila.com.
XO46 Heritage Bistro’s Pinaasim na Tilapia
Another summery dish to me is Pinaasim na Tilapia.
XO’s Sandee Masigan says the dish pays tribute to her mom’s (Deedee Siytangco) home in Tagaytay, where tilapia was a staple: “We’ve cooked it in so many ways and this is one of our favorites.”
The tilapia is fried crisp and topped with sweet chili sauce, coconut strips, toge, cilantro and some basil on top. A delightful dish in every bite—hot, cold, crisp, sweet, sour, fruity, and perfumed with basil and cilantro. And so easy to eat that one tilapia is not enough.
XO 46 Heritage Bistro has branches in S’Maison, Century City Mall and SM Aura.
Coffee, cocktail and beverage consultant Mike Canlas shares some refreshing drink recipes.
Banana-Nut Breakfast smoothie
50 g roasted almonds or cashews
¼ cup instant oats
4 oz milk
2 tbsp honey
½ c crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Pineapple Lychee smoothie
100 g chopped fresh or canned pineapples
50 g fresh or canned lychee
2 oz pineapple juice
3 oz coconut milk
2 tbsp white sugar or sugar syrup
½ c crushed ice
Combine all ingredients in a blender except the ice.
Blend for 15 seconds
Add crushed ice and blend further until smooth.
Cucumber and Mint Lassi
1 c or 250 g plain yogurt
8-10 mint leaves
Pinch of salt (optional)
1 tbsp honey (optional)
Put all ingredients in a blender, except the ice cubes.
Blend until smooth and pour in a glass.
Fill with ice cubes and enjoy.
Pineapple Virgin Mojito
2 lime wedge
8-10pcs mint leaves
1 tbsp white sugar
50 g chopped pineapples
4 oz pineapple juice
4 oz soda water
Put first four ingredients in a large glass or tumbler and muddle or mash them together until the juices and oils of the lime come out. (You may use a muddler or a small rolling pin to mash them all together.)
Add ice and pour the pineapple juice and soda water.