Monday, September 21, 2020

Dining in the Next Normal: You've Had Your Sushi Bake, But Have You Tried the 1621 Sushi Pizza?

The impact of the quarantine experience will be felt for years as we all slowly adapt and transform to the new normal. The rise of the food delivery culture and dining at home are just some of the evolving consumer habits that define the new normal, but we've also seen some creative and innovative spins for unique home dining options...  

One of the enduring trends from the quarantine experience is the popular sushi bake that's still causing quite a stir on social media. But it's now time to move on and experience yet another culinary innovation with the inventive 1621 Sushi Pizza...

And who doesn't love pizza and sushi? The business partners behind 1621 Sushi Pizza, Chef AJ Reyes and Joan Teotico, thought of combining their favorites into one special dish for a cool mash-up of flavors that works. The colorful logo pretty much says it all, inspired by the yin and yang reflecting the balance of sushi and pizza with every slice. I first met Chef AJ Reyes and Joan Teotico three years ago at the opening of their private dining establishment, Privatus Dining (more on my previous blog post here at Elevating the Bespoke Private Dining Experience at Privatus Dining) and I was already impressed even then.

The name of the venture is a combination of the birthdates, 16 and 21, of the partners. The quarantine experience allowed many of us to take stock and use the time to build on new ideas and try something different. Conceptualized back in March, the viral pandemic put a hold on their launch plans. The partners decided to push through with the launch set for October, but have been receiving positive reviews and orders since August. It's a good sign, and here's a closer look at the 1621 Sushi Pizza...

Unboxing a new flavor experience is a recurring theme in the new normal, and you can add the 1621 Sushi Pizza to your list of exciting and creative discoveries. Following all health and safety protocols, the 1621 Sushi Pizza is securely packed and sealed in a box still warm and ready-to-eat. 1621 Sushi Pizza adheres to health and food safety protocols like regular hand washing (with soap and water) and regular hand sanitizing (with 70% alcohol) based on World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines; physical distancing (for curbside and third-party service pickup); and wearing of face shield and face mask at all times for your peace of mind.

Moreover, customers can place their order through their online form found on the @1621sushipizza Instagram bio (you can also fill up the form here at and pay through online and digital platforms like GCash and banking apps, mobile banking and online banking. The experience is both seamless and contactless, consistent with the accepted and now standard practices in the new normal. The box also contains heating instructions for reference to ensure you enjoy all the unique flavors at its flavorful peak. There are three ways to heat your 1621 Sushi Pizza, simply place on a pan over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, warm it in an oven at 180°C/360°F for 2-3 minutes or microwave but Chef AJ recommends using the pan or oven for optimal results. 

At first glance, the 1621 Sushi Pizza appears to be like any other pizza, but a closer look tells you this isn't your usual pizza. Or sushi. And to date, it remains the first of its kind in the metro. The edges of the charred yet soft crust are delicately folded over the soft layer of sticky sushi rice topped with fresh seafood and vegetables gently tossed and draped in a creamy silky smooth wasabi mayo dressing drizzled with soy glaze capped by a rich cheese sauce. The Seafood Aburi (P 450-9 inches/8 slices good for 2-3) includes buttery fresh salmon, tuna and kani mixed with gari, tobiko, garden-fresh and crisp cucumbers, spring onions and nori slathered in wasabi mayo, soy glaze and cheese sauce. That's a whole lot of toppings. 

It's the blend of premium ingredients that adds both textural flavors and contrasts with each slice and bite. Yet everything comes together in perfect balance. My previous experience with Chef AJ Reyes and Joan Teotico at Privatus Dining was an indication of their creative culinary style, and the 1621 Sushi Pizza does not disappoint. The soft crust base layered with sticky sushi rice is familiar, like a burrito, yet refreshingly different. It's the generous toppings of fresh seafood that binds the flavors together with a creamy finish from the wasabi mayo, soy and cheese sauce. 

And it's quite filling too. The soft textures of the rice and crust are complemented by the succulent seafood with the crisp cucumbers and tobiko or flying fish roe adding both a snap and crunch with each bite. The salmon, tuna, wasabi mayo and cheese sauce drapes the palate with an indulgent richness followed by bright zesty burst from the gari or thinly sliced pickled ginger, subtle yet vibrant flavors of the spring onions and nutty, briny nori perfectly finished by the sharp notes from the soy glaze. The torched surface of the cheese sauce adds even more layers of flavor to the mix with a whisper of smoky hints. When you're done with your sushi bake phase, move on to the 1621 Sushi Pizza. 

Other equally flavorful offerings include the Classic Tuna (PHP380-9 inches/ 8 slices good for 2 to 3), another elegant culinary creation featuring premium ingredients like tuna belly, kani, gari, soy glaze, sriracha mayo, handcrafted cheese sauce, tobiko, and tempura flakes. It's the first variant launched by 1621 Sushi Pizza inspired by the classic tuna roll. The Spicy Salmon (PHP450-9 inches/8 slices good for 2 to 3) packs a soothing heat with fresh torched salmon tossed in sriracha mayo, gari, and tobiko topped with soy glaze, handcrafted cheese sauce, bonito flakes, nori, tempura flakes and fried salmon skin.

Could this be the next big thing in quarantine eats? The quarantine experience emphasized our yearning for comfortingly familiar flavors that fills and satisfies our cravings. The 1621 Sushi Pizza does that with a playfully inventive twist packing each hand-held slice with fresh flavors made from the finest ingredients. It adds variation to your home dining options in the creative culinary style of Chef AJ Reyes. How to order? That's easy. Simply fill out the order form here at, and your 1621 Sushi Pizza will be fired up and ready for pick-up or delivery. You can also visit their FB and IG accounts (see FB and IG links below) or shoot out an email at to place your orders. WhatsApp and Viber? Absolutely. Just tap 0917 812 1621 on your mobile devices. 

Dining at home and the food delivery culture will be here to stay until early next year in the new normal, and 2020 will be remembered for the lasting impact of the viral pandemic. But it will also be remembered for culinary out-of-the-box innovations like the 1621 Sushi Pizza that's all fired up to brighten your home dining table...

1621 Sushi Pizza is located at 261 Ibuna Street, Barangay Little Baguio, San Juan or call 0917 812 1621 for orders. You can also fill up their order form online here at Connect with them on FB at and IG at for more updates, information and orders via PM and DM.

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