In collaboration with Nozumi Japanese Casual Dining Restaurant, Red Pastries had its sweet launch where it showcased sweet treats plus special surprises for everyone who attended the event last Saturday. That included me, my awesome blogger friends and other guests. 🙂
About Nozumi and Red Pastries
Having its unique spin on what Japanese casual dining can be, Nozumi Japanese Casual Dining owned by Eunice Desiree Choa has started its operations since June 1, 2012. This spot sits on the sixth floor of One Corporate Center at the heart of the Ortigas Business District and it mostly caters to employees working in the offices in the building. Recently, it also has begun welcoming other walk-in diners who fancy eating variations of sukiyaki, ramen, and many more.
Trivia: “Nozumi” or “Nozomi” is a Japanese word which translates to “great expectations” in English. So guests can expect to be satisfied with their dishes!
On the other hand, Red Pastries is a new food venture by Joyce Siy (in black dress) and her partner Erika Ongtauco (in white dress). They started selling baked goodies like cupcakes, muffins and cakes in September 2013. For now, ordered items are available for pick-up from Joyce’s house (address at the bottom of this post), while those reaching at least PHp 2500 may be delivered to the customer’s location. Thanks to Nozumi’s venue, Red Pastries had a successful official launch of its goodies. ♥
Review of Nozumi Japanese Casual Dining and Red Pastries (Ortigas, Pasig City)
Nozumi’s entrance leads to a dining room with plenty of space which can accommodate up to about 100 people. This casual dining restaurant is decently organized with comfy white couches paired with white tables and black tables and chairs featuring a modern vibe; counter at a corner; wide window that completely illuminates the area with natural light and gives a view of the streets extending to the sky; and a private room at the back.
Red Pastries assembled two tables to display the cupcakes and sponsors’ items alluringly. Everything was very visually impressive and picture-perfect! 🙂
Erika welcomed everyone and started the program by introducing Nozumi and Red Pastries individually. Then, she randomly drew out three names from a fish bowl and asked the selected people to go to the front table. They had to decorate cupcakes with frosting and toppings after watching Joyce demonstrate the basic procedure.
The first surprise came when Erika said that it would be a mini cupcake decorating contest, so everyone was thrilled to design the best cupcake given the same set of materials. Secondly, the first two to arrive at the event proper were awarded with a shirt and gift certificates. Aww, if I had known, I would have gone the earliest. 😆 Anyway, the third shocking announcement was that everyone of us would have to try designing one cupcake.
I was apprehensive as I haven’t tried it before. For the sake of fun and experience, I held the piping bag and slowly squeezed the icing out with my shaky hands. I worked my way from the edge of the cupcake inwards in a spiral pattern toward the center, unsure if what I was doing the swirls right. In the end, I did not manage to create a pointed tip so I hid the flaw by sprinkling assorted toppings (multicolored flowers, marshmallows and pink and silvery dots that looked like Swarovski crystals) over.
Because winning was far from my expectation, when the three winning cupcake designs were put out, I did not even bother to take a look. The other winners already got their prizes, and the host and guests were still wondering whose cupcake design was “the unclaimed.” Finally, I decided to capture the three cupcakes in photo for documentation’s sake. I moved to the front, stared at the pieces for a couple of seconds and was so shocked to recognize that one of them was mine! Happily, I received the prize as well and enjoyed the food served.
Customer service was immaculate and it was one of those rare occasions where I felt that the restaurant deserved to be tipped for service charge. The servers were quick on their feet and accommodating to our requests. This approach is crucial to new customers, especially.
Red Pastries had presented these wonderful cupcakes even before the Japanese food arrived. There were 13 different flavors of cupcakes in each plate, and I sampled the Salted Caramel, Red Velvet and Carrot Cupcake. Other exciting and equally sinfully delicious cupcakes were: Strawberry n Cream, Ultimate Chocolate, Mochalicious, Vanilla Creme, Choco-mint, Cookies n Cream, Calamansi Muffin, Banana Walnut Muffin and Double Chocolate Chip Muffin.
Topped with a generous amount of cream on top with soft sugary icing, Red Pastries’ cupcakes were not too sweet, not overly moist or dense and the texture of the cupcake was just fluffy enough for my liking. Each cupcake and muffin was a mouthful of happiness that kick-started our meal already. (Note that the actual size of these cupcakes when you order is bigger than the one we had.)
Next time, I wish to try the Calamansi Muffin which was reportedly their best-seller! I’m looking forward to tasting that slight citrus twist to it that gives a refreshing change to merely sweetness. 😛 Meanwhile, here’s the list of prices for your reference:
Moving on, we were served with the next four dishes c/o Nozumi:
The Beef Teriyaki (PHp 220) was so flavorful that even if I don’t favor eating beef because of diet and my braces, I liked it. The dish did not disappoint as it was both tender and moistly marinated in the sweet sauce.
The Green Maki (PHp 195) was stuffed with traditional black seaweed wrap, sliced raw tuna and salmon, and the Japanese sticky rice was covered with green-colored tobiko fish eggs. Best eaten as a whole, the Green Maki tasted salty, tad sweet and lightly acidic with a floral aroma of fish that hits the nose. Bite in and your teeth will sink effortlessly through the tenderized flesh of the meaty tuna and salmon.
For the Sweet Crazy Maki (PHp 225), I thought ingredients used were simple but those that make you reflect on the power of simplicity and balance. You’ll feel a bit more zen about life as you reflect back on the bites that preceded the spicy fish and cheesy toppings on Japanese sticky rice and fish roe.
The Tofu Steak (PHp 175) was revelatory. Quivering like a nearly-cooked custard, the silken tofu was so soft that it can almost melt over your tongue as soon as you put it in your mouth. The outer skin of the tofu was nicely done and although there’s ground meat and sauce all over, the taste of soy was still much evident.
Other palate-provoking dishes were: Ebi Tempura (PHp 190, 4 pieces; PHp 280, 6 pieces), Hiyashi Ramen (PHp 220), Gyoza and Ebi Mango Salad (PHp 215).
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
For both Nozumi and Red Pastries, food prices were passable and proportionate to the quality received (transcendentally good). We left with a memorable dining experience and I will certainly return to try the other signatures!
Japanese food for the main course and cupcakes for desserts, or in our case—appetizer, was quite an odd pairing initially as I had a taste of the sweetness then suddenly greeted by the salty and spicy bits of the sushi, tofu and beef strips. But after a few mouthfuls, I realized it was smart to have the contrast of flavors with different levels of sweet and savory combined.
Operating hours: Mondays to Fridays, 10AM-8PM