When In Manila, Japanese delicacy has always been so enticing and delectable. Truth be told, most of us always try to find the taste of what the land of the rising sun has to offer. Japanese food has always been my favourite. I am a lover of the culture and the nation that is Japan. Seeking unique, blissful and authentic types of Japanese restaurants has always been my goal here locally. Ma Maison has caught my attention with its special representation of Western infused Japanese dishes. Me, Ivy Say, Cheryl Golangco, Philippe Villareal, Roanne Aujero and Karen Nogaliza headed off to Ma Maison and tried out what they had in-store for the evening, and here’s how it goes.
Upon entering Ma Maison, I instantly noticed two things; how Western-like yet, Japanese culture infused the aura and the interior design is. Western-like by the fact that, the layout is very old-Texan. Resembles a lot of old cowboys and hillbilly spunk into the restaurant ornaments and accents. It is also very Japanese in the way that, Japanese restaurants trying to incorporate Western auras, usually try to portray the old-Texan or old western types of bars in a classy way. Wall ornaments would be very elegant and would usually be placed in a fashionable manner. So to say, the overall old-Texan and old western portrayal by the Japanese would seem to be obsessive compulsively be styled, that it bars away from the beat-up bars and inns of the olden days. Ma Maison overflows with this ambience which matches the overall goal of the restaurant, Western-Japanese fusion. To some, this may be off and might verge away from the Japanese culture that they have stereotyped, but with the long time I have spent living in Tokyo, trust me, this type of ambiance is how Western-Japanese restaurants in Tokyo somehow resembles.
Now we finally head on to the drinks and FOOD! We were initially served drinks which some were pretty peculiar with the names and mixes of flavors. I got the usual Pineapple shake. The others got the Aloe Vera Apple and Orange Black Tea. I was doubtful about how the Aloe Vera Apple and Orange Black Tea would taste because they’re the types that you usually don’t see on other menus. Impressive enough, I really loved the Aloe Vera Apple and actually wished that I took it as my order. Their drinks were very different from usual Japanese-Western restaurants that cater mostly to straight-forward fruit shakes and juices, as well as the different lines of tea. It’s great to see another restaurant that tries to incorporate a unique flavor to their drinks as well, not only focusing on their dishes.
Aloe Vera Apple
Moving on to our appetizers, what actually caught my taste buds were the Pork Dumplings. Gyozas or the Japanese style dumplings has always been a love hate relationship with my taste. On a side note before I continue, these are Gyozas, don’t know why they were named just plain Pork Dumplings. Anyways, moving on, yeah it is a love and hate relationship when it comes to Gyozas for me. I was really surprised with the Pork Dumplings of Ma Maison since I actually loved it for once. The Pork Dumplings of Ma Maison has tamed my usual gripe against Gyozas having such a bitter pork sensation on the tongue, as well as the overly salty taste when it is combined with soy sauce.
We also got the Camembert Cheese Fritters, I liked it, but I think they used too much oil in cooking that the character of the cheese and the oh so yummy and great combination honey sauce, became slightly overshadowed by the outer layer. Nonetheless, the matching of the sweetness of the sauce and the bite of the cheese was superb.
The Chasoba Salad was an interesting mix of Chasoba noodles and incorporating it into salad form. It was good, but nothing spectacular or different.
To the main course, the Entrée! Let me start off with the Katsu family. We had the Chicken Katsu, the Mixed Seafood Katsu, and the Ma Maison’s House Specialty Tonkatsu (served with miso soup, side salad and Japanese rice). What’s nice with the Ma Maison katsu family is that, oil isn’t an issue. I mean, the breading and even the meat doesn’t get too oily. Also the fact that the meat doesn’t get hard even after one of the sets have gone cold.
My favorite of the Katsu dishes would have to go to the Seafood Katsu. Usually, when getting Katsu prawns or even just plain Tempura dishes from local Japanese restaurants, you’d notice the usual size of the shrimp which is pretty small and ordinary. With the Seafood Katsu of Ma Maison, I’m not entirely sure but it seems that they use tiger prawns or nicely picked large shrimps. Size does matter sometimes.
The Sizzling Beef that we had is also to be slightly noted for. I liked how tender the beef was and how down right it gave a western style approach to a sizzling Japanese dish. The combination of peppers and slightly strong barbecue sauce gave the the Sizzling Beef a western spice. Ivy Say really liked this dish.
We also had the Chicken Teriyaki which was cooked just about right to give it that tender body.
The Japanese Style Spaghetti on the other hand gave out a mild Donburi taste. I think this is something someone who wants to stray away from the usual Donburi, yet have the usual Japanese entree taste that is milder on the tongue and a little lighter on the stomach should get. We do have our mixed feelings about food sometimes.
Now that we’re done having the Entrée, we just really had to go for the dessert. Of course! Now with Japanese desserts, Green Tea is always on anybody’s list. It’s always a choice between Green Tea, Wasabi or Sakura. They had the Frozen Green Tea cake, so we just had to put that on the table. It was interesting to have this dessert since it was an opposite polarity of a combination only a few would think and even dare pull-off. A frozen Green Tea ice cream topped off with Brazo De Mercedez. Now tell me, would you have thought or even tried pulling that off yourself? Most of us would have not, but it actually fares well. Nothing astounding about the taste combination, but it does work well. One thing that made me think though, Brazo De Mercedez originated as a Spanish dish right? Not Japanese or Western? Just a random thought.
Our second dessert was the White Chocolate Mixed Fruit Tart. What’s nice about this confection is with how it doesn’t go too sweet even though it is white chocolate. The choice of using kiwis, grapes and oranges covers some of the excess sweetness of the white chocolate, while the crust itself neutralizes everything creating a boundary for the sweet and the sour-citric tastes.
Overall, I really admire how Ma Maison tries to create its own special and unique plates that most restaurants are afraid and cautious to even attempt. The dishes are good and really do try to ambient the Japanese-Western goal. From the drinks, to the Entrée and even off to the dessert, Ma Maison really tries to give its best in creating its own unique and blissful dishes, as well as giving new life to the staples. I suggest you come to Ma Maison, get your curious taste buds on and chomp it all down!
Location: Ground Level, Greenbelt 2, Paseo de Roxas corner Legaspi Street, 1228 Makati
Contact Numbers: (+632) 7299121 and (+632) 7299122
And here we all are!
A video of our fun and tasteful experience
Photos by: Cholo Isungga & Ivy Say of www.RunNurse.com
Ma Maison: Japanese-Western Fusion in its own unique taste and style