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)
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.
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.
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! 🙂