Genki Sushi opens new branch and adds new items on its menu

Popular for its sushi delivery system, Genki Sushi is quickly becoming a favorite among sushi-loving Filipinos. And I see why.

The Japanese restaurant chain recently opened its fourth branch at SM Aura Premier in Bonifacio Global City, proving that they are doing good business in the country. Managed locally by the Mother Spice Group, Genki Sushi is one of its brands that is growing significantly.

Mother Spice Group also operates Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro, and Cocina Peruvia.

SB Genki Sushi's Kousoku Express Train System delivers food straight to your table
Genki Sushi’s Kousoku Express Train System delivers food straight to your table. On board is one of the resto’s newest dishes, coconut shrimps.

Genki Sushi was founded in Japan in 1968 by Japanese sushi chef Fumio Saito, who created the concept of kaiten sushi, where sushi is served by conveyor belt. Today, the chain has grown exponentially, with branches across the globe.

The novelty of its service is what’s keeping people coming back to the restaurant. The eatery employs the Kousoku Express Train System or its toy-like train delivery system. Inspired by the Shinkansen (Japanese bullet train), the tracks run from the kitchen to the tables.

SB Crispy salmon skin strips
Crispy salmon skin strips

Customers order via tablet computers and the food is delivered by a small train. It’s very entertaining to watch, especially to kids…like me.

But probably the resto’s main selling point is its food. Genki Sushi serves quality food, from sushi to donburi to desserts.

According to Genki Sushi Philippines brand manager DJ Atienza, the local franchise gets a visit from the mother ship quarterly. They ensure the quality of the products and the service of the restaurant. Most of the ingredients the local shops get are from Japan, too.

SB Trio of gunkanmaki sushi
A trio of gunkanmaki sushi (kanikama salad, spicy tuna, and tuna salad)

“Even the sauces are from Japan to make it consistent like the shoyu (soy sauce) and also the pickled ginger and green tea. We are not allowed to use local ingredients unless they approve it,” he said.

Along with the opening of the new branch, the sushi resto also launched new items on its menu.

These new dishes include: coconut shrimps (like shrimp tempura but with panko bread crumbs and coconut flakes), kushi-age (small basket of fried seafood and vegetables), crispy salmon skin strips, caramel mochi, and vanilla and strawberry mille crepes.

They are also now offering sushi plates of three. Regular orders usually have two pieces in a plate but now, people can order three different sushi in one plate. They offer a trio of salmon nigiri sushi (regular salmon, seared with pollock roe, and seared with black pepper) and a trio of gunkanmaki sushi (spicy tuna, tuna salad, and kanikama salad).

SB Caramel mochi
Caramel mochi with creme brulee-like torched sugar

And if you haven’t tried its Japanese cheesecake, you should. It’s not the fluffy cotton cheesecake kind but a soft delicate, light, and not-so-sweet cheesecake which I think is the perfect ending to a sushi meal.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Facebook/GenkiSuhsiPhilippines and Instagram @genkisushiph


An affordable Watami spin-off

Watami is a famous Japanese restaurant chain that has hundreds of branches internationally. In the Philippines, the brand has two branches but it recently launched a spin-off restaurant. A more casual kind of joint that draws inspiration from the Japanese izakaya.

The Watami Grill and Sushi Bar is the izakaya version of the popular food chain. Izakaya is a kind of casual gastropub in Japan where workers frequent for an after office happy hour. These pubs usually serve Japanese street food and drinks. The new Watami spin-off offer the similar feel and menu, like authentic izakayas. It’s much more affordable, too.

assorted nigiri sushi_01 (SB)
Assorted nigiri sushi

I was lucky enough to attend the launch of its first branch at Uptown Mall, BGC. The first thing I noticed about the restaurant is its size, it’s pretty small compared to the regular Watami restaurants. They really committed to the izakaya concept. While the actual restaurant is small, it can still accommodate a number of diners because seating is available outside the restaurant, which is still inside the mall so, airconditioning. Yay!

One menu item that I was immediately drawn to—the yakitori or grilled skewers. I love grilled food because barbecue is life. There are several choices from pork belly to bacon asparagus to chicken thigh to chicken skin. The resto also grills fresh fish like sanma (pacific saury), sword fish, and mackerel. I’m already happy with a plateful of yakitori and a glass of Asahi.

beef rice bowl with Tokyo style hot spring egg_01 (SB)
Beef rice bowl with Tokyo style hot spring egg

But the restaurant’s menu goes beyond meat on sticks because it also serves sushi, rice bowls, and many more like the very popular Watami Salad. It’s a bowl of mixed greens, tomatoes, slices of grilled chicken teriyaki, shrimp, and crispy wonton chips, all dressed with the special tuna-mayo paste dressing. The nigiri sushi is also a must-try as well as the rice bowls for those looking for filling meals.

And in true izakaya fashion, you can pair your eats with your choice of alcoholic drinks.

grilled sanma (SB)
Grilled sanma (pacific saury)

“You can go small or big. The nigiri sushi and the rice bowls we see this a popular dishes. In Japan, they don’t really have a lot of rice bowls but since we are a rice-eating country, we cannot discount that fact, so we added more variety,” said Bistro Group AVP for Marketing Lisa Ronquillo. Bistro Group is responsible for bringing the Watami brand to the Philippines.

Read my Manila Bulletin Lifestyle article here.

Watami Grill and Sushi Bar, Fourth Floor, Up Town Mall, Bonifacio Global City; Facebook/WatamiJapaneseCasualRestaurantPhilippines