When In Manila and in search for a place filled by a row of food establishments; then the Katipunan strip is the place to go to. The Katipunan strip is the home, hang-out place and eating place for most students that’s why more and more establishments add up every year. One notable food establishment that I recently visited was ROKU. It automatically caught my attention because it stated “Sushi + Ramen” in its logo. For me, these two combined spells out c-o-m-f-o-r-t in an instant. Well to make it more amazing, Japanese comfort food.
Do you see those paintings on the wall? It’s about the Dojos (the face of ROKU) and their daily activities, aren’t they cute?
Do you agree with me if I say that Japanese food is the kind that you’ll never get tired of eating? I guess it’s because of the balanced flavors, appetizing presentation and satisfaction you feel after eating it. Much like the place of ROKU— cozy environment, commendable interior and a balanced menu. It caters to all kinds of foodies: young adventurous students, executives with traditional Japanese food preferences, individuals with Japanese food cravings and family groups with heavy appetites; you name it and ROKU has it!
Everything’s strategically positioned to cater to different consumers: those who prefer to sit alone, eat in groups our eat outside overlooking Katipunan. It’s one of the few restaurants located in the 5th flr. ,whereas most food establishments prefer the ground flr., yet ROKU‘s loyal customers still climb their way up for their Japanese food. (I don’t blame them.) Another notable fact about ROKU is that they extend perks to their customers. ROKU is located in the Katipunan strip, a place where parking space is really hard to find. If you’re a ROKU customer; you get a discount in Oracle’s (the building where it’s located) basement parking, have access to an extended parking space near Oracle’s building and valet service!
When we got to ROKU the first plates that greeted us were these delicious sushi plates:
(L-R) ROKU Roll Php 239, Jalapeno Poppers Php 229, SS Roll Php 199, Crunchy Kani Php 169
Okay, let’s make this easier and have a quick rundown of these mouthwatering ROKU Sushi plates.
- ROKU Roll– This for me is the spiciest of all. A sushi filled with spicy Kani mix topped with strips of fresh tuna and salmon. The kind of spicyness you get from it lingers the whole time it’s in your mouth. The texture is really smooth and the Wasabi mayo adds a sweet yet spicy flavor to it
- Jalapeno Poppers– Another spicy sushi, surprisingly not as spicy as I expected, yet still very delicious. Inside is a slice of jalapeno, salmon and creme cheese. The whole thing is covered in tempura batter and deep fried to perfection. To combat the kick of heat at the end is the sweet ROKU sauce served with it.
- SS Roll– Best for those who crave for a sweet and salty combination. This sushi contains fried salmon skin, salmon, creme cheese and cucumber. The smooth texture of the cheese battles with the crunchiness of the skin and is one wonderful experience inside one’s mouth.
- Crunchy Kani – A regular roll with a twist! It’s topped with deep fried crunchy Kani paired with wasabi mayo sauce. The perfect way to eat it is to get the roll without the fried kani, dip it in the sauce and then gather the kani using the sauce so that it sticks to the roll. YUM!
The chefs in action. WOOOOT! I see the first one creating our order!
Firecracker Roll Php 199
This was my favorite sushi out of all the sushis in ROKU. It was a sushi topped with spicy Salmon mix and Tanoki (tempura flakes). It had the right amount of heat in it and the smooth and crunchy textures of the toppings married happily in my mouth. You can eat it without the sauce because it’s amazing all by itself.
The roster of Sushi choices served in ROKU.
Next up were the ramens. Imagine eating those five plates and then these two! whew! Then again my friends and I were all enjoying the food ROKU served that’s why we pushed ourselves for these two. Ramen is something I constantly crave. It’s definitely comfort food for me.
Roku Ramen Php 219
The famous ROKU ramen is a shoyu based noodle soup with ramen noodles, vegetables, pork and egg. What was so delightful about this bowl were the soft textured pork and the “malasado” hard boiled egg. It’s the perfect food for those rainy days when you just want to sit and relax.
Seafood Ramen Php 249
The seafood ramen is also a commendable bowl of soup. It’s a sho based ramen with vegetables mussels, shrimps and squid . Personally I think it’s best eaten with a rice meal. It’s one of those soups that served as a great add on to your usual “ulam and kanin” meal. It was really good and everything was fresh.
Aside from the obvious generous serving size, and delicious taste of ROKU‘s ramen, what was truly praiseworthy were its noodles. They were homemade noodles, thick and really tasty on their own. It was also served in the perfect hot temperature. It didn’t burn my tounge when I ate it so I was able to savor every bit of flavor in it. That’s really commendable, don’t you think? This way ROKU gives you back the quality of your money because they only use quality ingredients.
Pork Gyoza Php 129
There are three kinds of gyozas according to how they’re cooked: steamed, fried and then the one that delves in the middle of steam then fried. ROKU’s pork gyoza was first steamed then fried to perfection. What was noteworthy about this one was that it wasn’t served oily and the wrapper didn’t easily break. Again, this is because the wrapper is homemade. They are durable enough to contain its filling yet vulnerable enough to be eaten easily. This a perfect appetizer and add on to one’s meal.
Yakitori Php 169
The Chicken Yakitori was also something we wished we had more of. (we were saving space for the other plates) ROKU‘s actually planning to add more of these in their future menu and we were all excited about that. The chicken was soft and perfectly cooked, the sauce had the right amount of tang to it and the onion leeks complemented the chicken wonderfully. This ROKU dish is best eaten with friends, accompanied with a bottle of beer or a glass of Sake.
The beef teppan was something that we finished off in a span of five minutes or less! In ROKU your beef teppan can either be premium or local beef. It was so tasty and ROKU‘s special sauce was a great addition to the salad and beef. It tasted great whether eaten ala carte or topped in rice.
I know that you probably have a favorite Tonkatsu place already. I’m loyal to a few of these restaurants myself, but i tell you, ROKU‘s Tonkatsu is not bad at all. It sweet and juicy inside and crunchy and golden brown outside. Your teeth can cut easily into it and ROKU‘s sauce is just phenomenal. You can eat this as a rice topping or ala carte.
(L-R) Milka’s Apple Pie Php 189, Green Tea Cake Php 159
Finally, dessert! There’s always room for dessert, especially if it’s these two. Milka’s apple pie is an original recipe by the owner, Milka Romero. It’s made with gyoza wrapper with apple pie filling. Another addition to my list of Japanese comfort food. The second dessert was a Green Tea cake. You might be thinking that the green tea part tastes bitter, but it didn’t taste bad at all. It was a sweet Green tea custard and even my friend who didn’t prefer green teas at all ate it enthusiastically. The icing was creamy and the base cake resembled something like a cheesecake.
JP and I with the owners Milka and Sheila Romero.
What I love about the story behind ROKU is that it’s really a family oriented restaurant. Milka, who’s only 19 by the way, was a Japanese food enthusiast and decided to bring her mom along the business. They went to Japan to create new food ideas for their menu to create original food options. The place was designed by their relatives including the paintings on the wall. It’s really a reflection of their family’s enthusiasm towards Japanese food.
Overall, my visit to ROKU was beyond satisfactory and I highly recommend that you try out their food! As a relatively new restaurant they’ve already managed to gain loyal customers. They have a cozy place to serve their food in and an innovative Japanese food menu. I can’t wait to try out their new menu! (which will be coming soon) I’ll definitely eat in ROKU again!
ROKU Sushi +Ramen is located in the 5th flr. of the Oracle building in Katipunan.
like their facebook page for more info!
Thank you to: Sam Chan and JP Mogatas
ROKU Sushi + Ramen : Japanese Comfort Food