Lately, I’ve been craving a lot for Japanese food. There’s nothing wrong with sticking to the familiar, but trying out a new restaurant is always fun, too. Ooma at SM Megamall Fashion Hall offers bold, new, flavorful and creative interpretation of modern Japanese fare. Louie and I had dinner here for the first time last month. We positively enjoyed how the dishes were presented and more essentially, how they tasted. If you’re already a fan of Japanese food, expect to be smitten anew! 😉 Ooma is a homegrown concept by The Moment Group with menu conceived in collaboration with Chef-Partner Bruce Ricketts.

Review of Ooma Japanese Rice Bar (SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City)

Ambiance:

Ooma Japanese Rice Bar has a unique appeal. The interior design was inspired by the largest wholesale fish market and one of the top attractions in Tokyo, Japan: the Tsukiji fish market. This explains why there are boots, weighing scale, and crate seats at the side to mock the look and character of Tsukiji. The decors are truly a modern marvel and I like that they tell a story.

Service:

We were delighted with the food and will consider to happily return for it, but we can’t say the same for the customer service here. We ordered gyoza way earlier than four tables beside us who ordered it, but we were the last one to get served. Waiting time was crazy, and service was kind of absent. The staff would have already forgotten about us if only Louie did not remind him. Take note that we were seated right at the center of restaurant in front of the entrance.

The funny part was that one other waiter even thought that we were already done eating and asked if he could take away the plates. He has not seen any food landing on our table for the longest time. Sigh. To make up for the disappointing treatment, we were given a complimentary dessert.

Food:

Filled with gratinated mozzarella and cheddar cheese, scallion, togarashi, O-Gyoza (PhP 235) had a flavor combination you can call refreshing. Each bite was extraordinarily good—and it’s hard to decide if it’s the tug of dough, the burst of steam, the unagi sauce, or that hearty meat inside that stood out most. A good way to demolish the gyoza is to take it as a whole and savor a mouthful. Love it! 🙂


The Buta Kakuni Katsudon (PhP 289) definitely delivered juicy flavors without being too much. It was composed of breaded slow roasted pork belly, onion, egg, carrot, pickled onion, nori, and house tare. Marinated in sweet sauce, the pork belly was tender and tasty, and it was paired beautifully with the salad on the side.


Ooma Aburi Maki is a signature dish that includes a full range of the best ingredients. “Aburi” means “to burn something.” It’s a traditional Japanese method of blowtorch, a direct flame to burn which brings out amazing tastes and an enticing aroma that can fill the entire place. Instead of the usual soy sauce container for maki, Ooma gave us a brush so we can “brush paint” the maki with soy sauce as we like.

We opted for the best-seller: Scallop and Tuna Aburi Maki (PhP 289) with torched scallop, tuna, cucumber, sesame seeds, nori crumbs, scallion, teriyaki sauce, spicy mayo, and kimchi aioli. The combination of tastes and texture was God-sent with an umami-tinged essence. It was superb and it deserved a big round of applause. The different tones of the flavors explodes in your mouth.

The Green Tea Ice Cream (PhP 105), which was served to us as a complimentary dessert, demonstrated sweetness but not cloyingly so. It’s the perfect treat for summer quaffing. I absolutely adored the creaminess with sweet vanilla undertones and the slight nuttiness of the candied cashew nuts. I thought the green tea flavor was rich enough to satisfy the more hardcore of green tea urges.

Price for Value:

There’s no question about it. The quality of food was astounding. Items are a mix of the modern and classic that bring diners a breath of fresh air at each meal. It’s different in a good way—seemingly simple on the surface but more complex on taste, more creative, more challenging, more my style.

Maybe we got rather off-putting service by chance, but I’d consider being a repeat customer at Ooma Japanese Rice Bar and come back for more. I value food presentation and I can see clearly that there’s real effort put into the preparation. With that, prices are reasonable. Check this out! 🙂

3/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Mega Mall, Mandaluyong
For inquiries, call (02) 6564591 or +639175392083
Date Published: 06/07/2016

Review of Ooma Japanese Rice Bar (SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City)
Ambiance
Service
Food
Price for Value
4.2Overall Score

About 

An IT person by profession; Foodie by nature; Wushu athlete by training; Dancer by heart; Writer by passion; Hasn't met a piece of cake she didn't like 🙂

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54 Responses

  1. Amanda @ Adorkablii

    I don’t even know where to begin…. I love the look and feel but oh my gosh… the food looks so amazing and if i had the funds id be on a plane. I am a fan of Japanese food and now i need to go out and get some! The sushi looks downright yummy!!!

    Reply
  2. Joely Smith

    I LOVE Asian food of all types my favorite being Thai but this looks sooo yummy! Sadly here in the midwest our choices for authentic asian food is rare to none. We do have one favorite place we go semi often for good asian food and they do have a Japanese section on their menu but it would be nice to enjoy a place that specializes in JUST Japanese fair! Thanks for sharing your review, I love living vicariously through others lol

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha, living life for yourself is also fun you know. 😛 The quality of food here is top notch. You can’t miss Ooma if you’re into Japanese cuisine. Tastes are impressive.

      Reply
  3. Cassie

    I’m glad the food was at least good. I know how bad a dining experience can be if the customer service is less than spectacular. It doesn’t matter how good the food is if it takes forever to get to your table.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Right. Good thing we were not too hungry, else we would have asked the order to be cancelled and just walk away. The bad experience would have been retold every time we’d remember Ooma.

      Reply
  4. Felicita Moncada

    I’ve never been to a rice bar! What amazing food. Looks like I need to find one near my city. The sushi looks so good. Definitely drooling over here.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      This is their first ever branch in the Philippines and I bet it’s successful. I see a lot of customers coming in at any time of the day. Good business (but they must watch out for the slow service).

      Reply
  5. Censie Sawyer

    Sorry to hear about the service. We have a few favorite spots here in Denver Colorado that we adore but the service makes it hard to visit. At least your food was yummy. The place itself looks like a fun place to visit. Great for a girls night or a date night.

    Reply
  6. Sage

    The food looks delicious, it’s a shame about the service. After living in Denmark for over six years, I’m immune to poor customer service! I never realized how spoiled I was in the US, but Denmark isn’t a tipping country, so waitstaff aren’t as eager to please.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I see. It’s interesting to relate the tip staffs receive with the service or treatment they provide to customers. Most restaurants charge 10% of the food bill for service anyway. It’s just a plus for the staff to get a bonus from customers who have appreciated and valued the experience.

      Reply
  7. Kristy @ Mommy Hates Cooking

    Your food adventures make me so jealous! I’m also a huge fan of food presentation, something about a nicely plated dish just makes it taste better. The Green Tea Ice Cream sound intriguing to say the least!

    Reply
  8. Bites for Foodies

    It’s only 10 o’clock but I am starving for lunch!! I love Asian cuisine, especially rice and sushi! Poor customer service really puts a damper on a great evening out, especially if the restaurant has really good food. I’ve not returned to some of my favourite restaurants, simple due to the service.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, definitely service counts a lot when deciding whether or not to return to the restaurant–or stay. It impacts how customers view the brand as well. I hope the management will look into it.

      Reply
  9. Gwendolyn Mulholland

    This place looks very unique and fun to eat at. The food looks incredible and I love the way it was plated. Unfortunately bad service can ruin an entire meal. I hope that the next time you go that the service is better and it was just a fluke.

    Reply
  10. Farrah Lee

    Their food looks tasty and nice presentation as well. I agree waiting time in a restaurant is a big deal. I hope it will not be the first and the last that you will visit the resto because of the bad service. I do hope they do something about it. I am not so much a fan of sushi but seeing your food pics I think I will try its so hard to resist.

    Reply
  11. Lana Slaybell

    I’ve always been a fan of Japan. I really like to try visiting their restaurants. Good thing there will be an expo this coming July. The place looks good though. I might try going there someday.

    Reply
  12. Fernando C Lachica

    It’s very great to explore different restaurants that offers amazing food. Tasting and differentiating food according to your preference means discovering the inner-self. I loved eating….sushi rolls, breaded prawns and pork.

    Reply
  13. Fred

    Shame about the bad service even if the food was good. How did you get a complimentary dessert? Did you get angry?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      No, Louie just pointed out that we have been waiting for the longest time. Maybe the staff realized that and a good way to compensate was to offer dessert right after we asked for the bill.

      Reply
  14. Bhushavali

    Looks cozy and home like without being too decorative or posh. Green tea icecream??!!! I’d love to try that out…

    Reply
  15. Elizabeth O.

    It’s good to know that the food is great because it shows through the pictures. I love how the place looks as well. I’m disappointed with the service, that’s not a very nice thing to hear from a restaurant. I hope they try to improve the way their staff handles customers.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I think we were not the only ones who experienced poor service as I’ve also read some disappointed customers’ reviews posted on TripAdvisor.com. It’s a sad story.

      Reply
  16. Tiffany Yong

    You got me swallowing my saliva at O-Gyoza…The gyoza looks really good. The Ooma Aburi Maki might not be my first choice, but I will still want to try!

    Reply
  17. May Palacpac

    Awww, the waiter must’ve been tired already…or confused with the number of customers. It’s good that they made up for it by giving you dessert, other establishments will just apologize and that’s about it.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup, it was good that the dessert was served in the least we expected. It was a moment of surprise and I think that was the thing that made us feel really compensated and cared for.

      Reply
  18. jared's mum

    It is good that they offered complimentary desserts to make up for the poor service. Everything looks yum. I would love to visit this place with my boys one of these days!

    Reply
  19. Shub

    Somehow I don’t like Green Tea Ice cream. Though I love to drink green tea and its variants.

    Reply
  20. Pal Raine

    What a cool place to enjoy eating Japanese food. It’s a great place to eat while out exploring the Japanese dishes.

    Reply

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