grub + travels + perspectives

Ooma Japanese Rice Bar
SM Megamall

There have been much clamor about Ooma when it first opened its doors last July 2015. There were the news of long waiting times and 'pandemonium' as some blogs liked to describe it back then. It still consistently pops up on my social media feed and friends are still raving about it. In fact, since their first branch was established in SM Megamall, there were 2 other branches opened to cater to more diners: one in Rockwell and one in BGC. And why wouldn't it create such a buzz? Ooma is another joint venture between Chef Bruce Ricketts (Sensei Sushi) and The Moment Group (8Cuts, Manam, Din Tai Fung), and from the feedback that their first baby, Mecha Uma, has received, it's no wonder people lined up to be seated in this restaurant.

Charm actually dined here a few days back and she's been really satisfied with their food. After much hyping and because we're constantly craving for sushi and/or maki, Jom, Terr and I paid a visit to their SM Megamall branch after work. 

The restaurant's interior's theme? Tokyo, Japan's Tsukiji fish, fruits and vegetable market. I liked that they wanted to recreate that feel but still able to make the place very modern and tasteful.

Just a little fun fact. Did you know the Tsukiji market is the most famous of 10 warehouse markets in Tokyo and one of the largest in the world?

It's where the tuna auctions are taking place and has become a major tourist attraction in recent years! (x)

Definitely putting this on my list when I visit Japan in the future!

What's on the table:

Although the interiors adhere to a sort of traditional Japanese setting, the food at Ooma is a whole new different deal. It's Japanese food meets comfort food, offering different flavors and textures that tastes spectacular as it looks. So yes, you should not expect 'authentic' sushi or rolls but more of dishes with unconventional and bold twists.

Salmon Skin Aburi Maki (PhP 275)
Spicy Tuna Maki (PhP 255)
I am a salmon kind of girl. I'll eat it any way it's cooked or prepared. I'll have it as sashimi, sushi, stuffed inside a maki, salmon sinigang, fried, baked, smoked, or broiled. The Salmon Skin Aburi Maki, composed of torched salmon, crispy salmon skin, asparagus, cream cheese, wasabi aioli, and teriyaki sauce, looks like the roll of my dreams. But between these two that we had, I surprisingly liked the Spicy Tuna Maki (fresh cut tuna, tobiko, tempura crumbs and gochujang aioli) better. I really don't know how that's possible but it just tasted better to me. All I could savor was the overall saltiness and the fresh clean taste of salmon was lost somewhere there. On the other hand, I loved the textures on the tuna maki and it's spot-on smokey heat courtesy of the gochujang aioli.

Jom's pick: Oyako Don (PhP 289)
Smoked sous-vide chicken, fresh mushroom, onion, fresh egg, crispy chicken skin, house tare
Terr's pick: Beef Udon (PhP 395)
Sous-vide beef, seasonal vegetables, chimichurri-yakiniku sauce
My pick: Buta Kakuni Katsudon (PhP 299)
Breaded slow roasted pork belly, onion, egg, carrot, pickled onion, nori. house tare
Let us first take a moment to appreciate and give props for the truly stunning presentation of each of the dishes. That's a million bonus points for me. There's just something about it that shows finesse and them actually taking their time to prepare each and every platter (or well, bowl). While I was going thru their menu (which was equally appealing), I wondered if the dishes will really come out the same way as in the photos. Kudos to the awesome presentation of each plate!

I didn't get to have a taste of Terr and Jom's food because my hearty bowl of Buta Kakuni Katsudon was so big, it was quite a struggle to finish it. But it definitely stole my heart. The pork was wonderfully seasoned and slow-roasted to perfection, it melts in your mouth. The fat trimming per piece of meat was also just right and it gave that extra push of deliciousness with every bite. The bed of tender-crunchy vegetables was also a nice touch, with the pickled onion giving this dish a fresh piquant flavor and of course, a nice pop of pink color.

I'd definitely come back to Ooma just to try more from their sushi and maki selections (okay, and maybe for the Buta Kakuni Katsudon again but I'll split the bowl next time because it's just ginormous!) and that much talked about Hanger Steak. Some dishes have the most unusual combinations but I would gladly try those out. I'm not sure of they still have queues until now but if you're in the area and want something unique and of quality, check this place out!

Ooma Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ooma Japanese Rice Bar is located at 3F  Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Ortigas, Mandaluyong City
Operating Hours: 10:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Contact Nos.: (02) 656 4591 / +63 917 539-2083
Official Facebook Page