Saturday, July 30, 2016

Redefining the Japanese Dining Experience at Koku

Just how do you measure a memorable dining experience? Let Bambi and Michelle Meer show you Koku. 

The name Koku is derived from a Japanese unit of measure, historically defined as enough rice to feed one person for a year, roughly about 150 kg of rice. At Koku, it's redefined as a measure of a memorable dining experience, with comforting Japanese classics, cozy interiors with a millenial edge, and excellent value for money. Welcome to Koku...

Bambi and Michelle Meer, the same couple behind Subic's Meat Plus, Kettle, and Fireside, share their own spin on comforting Japanese cuisine at Koku, the newest restaurant along Makati's Valero Street. Start with a refreshing House Iced tea (P 68 Glass/P 118 Carafe), and let Bambi and Michelle's team do the rest...

Inside Koku, the bright and playful interiors exude a youthful and vibrant vibe, just the perfect setting for a cozy Japanese meal in the heart of the busy Makati CBD. The Oyster Papaya (P 268), plump Japanese oysters with papaya and sweet sauce is the perfect way to start your dining experience at Koku and get acquainted with their comforting culinary style. I've tried what initially seems to be an unusual combination before, but it definitely works. Koku's take on oysters and papaya is well-executed and presented. The imported Japanese oysters are larger than the usual local variety, delivering richer flavors with that distinct briny sweetness pairing well with the sweet sauce and thin slices of papaya, contrasting notes blending seamlessly in one dish. 

One order goes by so quickly, and second order is always a good idea. Simply grab a spoon and pick up the plump oyster, but be sure to scoop up some of the sweet sauce, papaya, and fish roe to complete the flavors. And no judgement, just in case you go for a third order. Perfect with an ice-cold Japanese beer.

Koku's Spicy Tuna Maki (P 268), with chopped tuna in spicy sauce, offers a delightful play on both contrasting flavors and textures. The richness of the tuna is tempered by the mild heat from the spices for balanced flavors, and the crisp topping and fresh vegetables complete the dish. 

Sushi? Have a tasty bite of everything with Koku's Mixed Sushi Special (P 398), with Kani, Ebi, Unagi, Salmon, and Tuna, elegantly laid on a stone plate...

...of go for the creamy flavors of the Dynamite Roll (P 298) and its soothing heat, with salmon, tuna, cucumber, and chili threads. Koku offers a wide range signature maki, like the Samurai Maki with cream cheese, unagi, kani, and shrimp tempura; the Geisha Maki with mango, kani, cucumber and seared salmon; and Salmon and Cream Cheese Maki, each one with its own unique flavors. The inventive style of Koku is also evident with their innovative line of Sushi Pizza, with a crisp sushi rice patty topped with sushi-style toppings for another refreshing take on modern Japanese cuisine. 

Another must-try dish at Koku is the Salmon Belly Teppanyaki (P 328), cubed Atlantic salmon belly with vegetables. If you love salmon, you'll love this one. The premium salmon belly just melts like butter, releasing its rich flavors, with the thin and crisp garlic bits adding its nutty notes and finished with the fresh vegetables. 

And if you're craving for beef, Koku's Beef Tenderloin Teppanyaki (P 438) is a flavorful option, with cubed tenderloin steak and vegetables. The beef is fork-tender, pairing well with the vegetables and the crisp garlic. Pair it with a bowl of Chahan, perfect. Choose from Beef (P 108), Vegetable (P 88), and Seafood Chahan (P 128). You can also try Koku's Wagyu Teppanyaki (P 538) for even more options. 

End your comforting meal at Koku with their refreshing desserts, like the Coffee Jelly (P 138), with coffee jelly, cream sauce, and vanilla ice cream. At Koku, you'll find the comfortingly familiar classics as well as some playfully inventive spins on traditional Japanese dishes, matched with reasonable pricing. Japanese cuisine need doesn't have to be intimidating or pricey, just ask Bambi and Michelle Meer and let them show you a memorable dining Koku. 

Koku is located at the Ground Floor, Two Central Building, Valero Street, Salcedo Village, Makati City or call 625-5197 for inquiries and more information.

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