I asked a Japanese friend who resides in Manila, “Where’s the best place to get Japanese food locally?” She recommended a couple of restaurants, but she also said that if it was sushi I was after, I should go visit Kikufuji. A small restaurant that’s known mostly by word of mouth, Kikufuji is tucked along the side of Little Tokyo, along Pasong Tamo in Makati. A quaint little restaurant, it was quite full when we went there for lunch on a Saturday.
Like most Japanese restaurants in the area, Kikufuji offers specially priced lunch sets—it’s much cheaper than the dinner offerings—that include miso soup, tsukemono (picked vegetables), a side dish (a fried dish for sets with sashimi in them, and some sashimi for non-sashimi sets), a fresh green salad, tea and dessert or coffee. It’s quite a large spread, even for hearty eaters.
Ordering was extremely difficult. There were a lot of dishes I wanted to try, but in the end, I had to go for the Nigiri Sushi set (PhP320) because that was what I originally intended anyway. Unlike the sparse looking sushi platters of some other restaurants, I was served a colorful assortment of sushi. It had a variety of the freshest fish and seafood, resting on a small ball of soft, fragrant rice. There was tuna, salmon, ika (squid), shrimp, and the most delicious uni (sea urchin) I’ve had in a long while. The rich, velvety and slippery mound tasted like a refreshing early morning sea breeze sliding along your tongue.
Their maki was also prepared differently. I learned that unlike other restaurants, Kikufuji uses minced tuna meat, taken from near the fishbones. So what you get is a rich, flavorful maki with a pleasantly soft, velvety texture that breaks apart as you bite into it.
While we ordered a lot, I wasn’t able to taste anyone else’s food because I was so happily enjoying each and every bite of mine. The most I was able to do was photograph food. To give you an idea, they also had:
Everyone vouched that their food was good, so while I can’t describe the other dishes, I guess the general consensus that Kikufuji is a delicious place to visit can be trusted. Personally, I intend to come back and try the other dishes as well. The Sanma Hiraki intrigues me, but honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if I succumb and end up demolishing another Nigiri Sushi Set. So much for exploring other dishes!
2277 Pasong Tamo, Makati City
893-7319 â€¢ 893-6131
*Kikufuji is open for lunch and dinner, and closes shop in between.