I have been a Korean food junkie.
Regrettably, no one in our family shares the same taste buds as mine toward this Asian cuisine. I thought I have already recruited my youngest son after having tasted odeng (fishcake) soup once, but I was wrong.
Come November, a new discovery was unfolded when my husband opened up that he had learned to like sushi the first time he tried it. My three sons seconded their father. It was great news for me since I also like Japanese cookery and we would now have a fresh option as regards the resto that we would go to. And so, when we had the chance to dine out, I was ready with my recommendation. It was Tori Ichi Yakitori and Bar at Festival Mall. Our wonderful experience there led to another visit and made me declare that our family is now officially a Japanese food-loving people. Hareruya! 😁😂
Today, my sons and I didn’t have to spend long minutes deciding on what we should have for our late lunch/early dinner after attending Sunday mass at San Isidro Labrador Parish beside Southmall. When I told them that I have been intrigued about this Japanese restaurant beside our fave shop along Aguirre Street, no one dared interject and suggest pizza, pancakes, Turks shawarma, or burger to me. I was in command! Hahahaha.
So, off we all went. Upon entering the front door, I felt good feng shui right away.
It was spotless inside. Everything was in the right places. I inhaled the clean smell. I did not feel claustrophobic.
We were met by charming female service crew and we were instantly seated at the twee black wooden chairs. Near the bar were two Japanese, whom I suspect are GJ as in Genuine Japanese😁, and by the look of it, they’re not in a hurry to finish whatever they have begun.
Given the menu, I was overwhelmed upon seeing a lot of dishes, most of which were new to me but in affordable prices! Comparing them to the few menu books that we have seen, I could have gotten myself lost among the pages if I had no food in mind already. It was the same with my sons.
Will it also take them 15-20 minutes or beyond before serving our choices? I readied my grumbling stomach to fuss.
Our order came one after the other at short intervals. Our tummies were not given a chance to grumble. This is customer service at its finest.
In unexpected moments, my sons’ animated smiles, which spelled full gratification, were captured.
And we have two affable ladies to be partly thankful to. They have graciously extended to us the remarkable Filipino hospitality in a Japanese territory.
Miss Dina, the assistant manager, was the positive pull for me to finally eat at Niku Maru. Even before we entered the place, she was already very polite and accommodating in replying to all my queries. Through her, I learned that this almost two-year-old Japanese restaurant is owned by a Filipina and her Japanese husband. Their chefs are Filipinos but they have two Japanese advisers to achieve the authentic taste of what they serve.
Good food. Good staff. Good ambiance. Niku Maru has its distinct way of teleporting you to Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun. This enticing diner gave us a snippet of what is in store for us in this kokeshi land, our family’s dream country to visit someday.
幸福 Kōfuku. Happiness…
… in its purest unadulterated form just like their matcha tea.