By Sol Vanzi
Mention Japanese food and the mind’s immediate response would undoubtedly be visions of tempura, sashimi, and sushi in all shapes and colors. Filipinos have so embraced Japanese cuisine that those dishes are no longer confined to specialty restaurants in major cities. They are now available almost everywhere.
Last week, we went on a food trip to rediscover why Filipinos love Japanese food. Veejay Villavicencio guided us through the delights and intricacies of Ogetsu Hime, an all-Japanese restaurant that’s as close to fine dining as a Japanese eatery could get, making it worthy of being named after a food goddess.
Fruit of Isolation
The simplicity of Japanese cuisine borders on the austere, resulting from the country’s foreign policy of closing borders from any influence of its neighbors and the outside world.
Thus the culinary skills of Japanese chefs developed, exuding elegance in every aspect—the use of garnish, the arrangement of the food, the selection of tableware, the choice of ingredients. All are expressions of the joys of life and the beauty of nature.
For the Ogetsu Hime Japanese master chef it is the pure, natural taste of food that is paramount. Ingredients are flown in regularly from suppliers around the world, enabling the chef to emphasize the true, natural flavors of food, honoring the time and place of its harvest.
First of its kind
Veejay pointed out that Ogetsu Hime is the first of its kind, offering the refinements of sushi, the mastery of the teppan while veering away from fancy fusions or embellishments. The restaurant brings diners back to basics, offering only everything authentically Japanese with definitely no scrimping on quality, taste, and experience.
Ogetsu’s master chef is the consummate artist and a culinary genius whose skills honed through time and experience. His creations are masterpieces. Each dish exudes purity of flavors, of changing seasons, and the beauty of nature.
The Best and Freshest
These are some of Ogetsu’s best offerings.
Matsusaka beef. Reputed as the world’s rarest and most expensive meat, Matsusaka beef receives the highest rating from the Japanese meat grading association, notches higher than Kobe and Wagyu. It offers unsurpassed marbling excellence, the highest among the world’s beef.
Otoro blue fin tuna belly. A rare catch, it is the most sought-after feature of the sushi bar.
Amaebi-hokkaido sweet shrimp. These cold water spot prawns are popularly called “sweet shrimps,” because of their clear and sweet aftertaste.
Hotategai, hokkaido giant scallops. Incredibly sweet and tender, they are immensely nutritious because of their high protein content.
Engawa, Japanese halibut. Highly developed, rich in fat, and its dorsal fin make the fish a popular delicacy.
Hamachi-Japanese yellowtail. From the open seas of Japan, this Japanese amberjack has a smooth, buttery unique texture and flavor akin to toro but not as fatty.
Anago, Japanese saltwater eel. One of the first fish varieties used as sushi tane, it is valued for its high vitamin A content.
The restaurant initially opened at SM Aura in December 2013. Now, the Ortigas crowd can finally experience Ogetsu Hime on the 3rd floor of the Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall. With the opening of Ogetsu Hime’s new home comes the Ogetsu Hime Gold Card, which entitles the bearer to a consistent 50 percent discount on selected premium food items. Available for use at both branches (SM Aura and SM Megamall).