No exaggeration: you’ll end up dreaming of KOKOROLLS after trying them at Kokoro: Japanese Grindz, a new restaurant in Quezon City that serves sushi rolls with a fusion of Japanese and Hawaiian flavors. Each serving is made from mostly Japan-imported ingredients that are fresh and carefully hand-prepared. This might sound fancy and expensive, but you’ll be surprised by how affordable they actually are.
Look at that Insta-worthy wall!
There are a lot of Japanese restaurants in the Metro right now, but owner Xander Angeles, who is more known as a professional photographer, tells us what makes them stand out. “What makes us different is the ‘Japanese Grinds’”, referring to an inspiration by Ono Grindz, a Hawaiian word that means delicious.” Apparently, the Japanese-Hawaiian fusion is meant to give customers a vibe of surf culture as seen from the place’s interiors.
If the craving is real but you’re on a tight budget, Kokoro’s the perfect place for you because they have all sorts of dishes to satisfy those Japanese food cravings. Here are some of our favorites:
Salmon Bites, Php250
Baked salmon with tempura shrimp, cream cheese, avocado, togarashi, gochujang mayo, and sweet sauce. Served by fours, my first thought at first taste was to get another set! They are sooooo good – and that’s an understatement!
Prawn Star, Php320
Another star on their appetizers menu, these prawn stars are battered and deep-fried shrimp tempura with tentsuyu sauce. They come in servings of five.
Takoyaki fans, you’ll definitely love this version. These battered octopus balls are made with negi, cabbage, aonori, benishoga, katsu sauce, wasabi mayo, and katsuobushi on mashed-egg. We couldn’t get enough of these!
If you like Japanese style chicken, go for the Tebasaki. There are six pieces of fried chicken wings in Mamafukui sauce topped with sesame seeds and aonori.
Krusty Krab, Php150
The name speaks for itself! You won’t be able to take your hands off of these crispy shredded crabs served with aligue mayo.
Now on to the Kokorolls! There are six variants of Kokorolls to choose from, but here are four of our favorites.
Hawaiian Sunset, Php210
The Hawaiian Sunset is made of crab meat, mango, salmon, lato, ponzu sauce, lemon, wasabi mayo, sesame seeds, and negi. They taste refreshing, sweet and tangy!
The Playboy is tuna tartare, tempura shrimp, black tobiko, wansoy, lime, mild pepper, avocado, and sweet sriracha sauce; providing a good blend of flavors in your mouth.
If you’d prefer something crunchy and fried, go for the Vegas which has crab meat, salmon tartare, cream cheese, aligue mayo, avocado, black tobiko, sweet sauce, negi, and fried shallots.
Loco Moco, Php320
They also have rice bowls, like the Loco Moco. This is their version on Hawaii’s favorite comfort food and consists of pork belly chashu, buttered steamed rice, brown gravy, onsen tamago, togarashi, negi, kizami nori, and furikake. It’s is moderately spiciness and will fill up your stomach well.
Taboo, on the other hand, has a Tonkotsu broth with triple garlic, Mayu or blackened garlic, garlic oil, fried garlic, kizami nori, pork belly chashu, negi, moyashi, and ajitama. This one’s for you if you’re looking for a bowl of comfort that isn’t spicy.
I never really liked Japanese food but Kokoro gave us a different take that I really love. The eating experience is something that you should definitely try. Whether you’re a sushi fan or not, tasting all these fun flavors you’ll see in your dreams.
Kokoro Japanese Grindz
Ground Floor, Creekside Square, 74 Tomas Morato, Quezon City
Sundays-Thursdays: 11AM-10PM / Fridays-Saturdays: 11AM-11PM