Did you know that Japanese culture has a profound influence in South America? Currently, Brazil has the largest population of Japanese immigrants while Peru has the second largest. This mixing of people and backgrounds surely produce wondrous variety in culture and society, especially in the food.
That came into play when my foodie friends and I recently visited Nanka Japanese Steakhouse. Located at the nook of Mother Ignacia and Chino Roces Avenues in Quezon City, the place has an elegant yet homey vibe, a welcome respite from my workday’s stresses. It is a perfect place for intimate date nights, chill barkada get-togethers or quiet family dinners.
Nanka’s executive chef Michael Santos takes pride in the work his team (which includes executive sous chef Rogel Rogel Pagtalunan, executive pastry chef Joel Gonzales and chef de cuisine Kenneth Afable) does in accentuating the natural flavors of food, made with the finest locally and internationally sourced ingredients. These include Black Onyx Angus and WagyuX steaks and tuna flown in from GenSan twice a week.
“I like clean flavors,” shares Chef Mike. “I like to emphasize the protein. I was taught to give respect to the animal being served and I feel the best way to do that is to not lose its soul – its flavor.”
My foodie friends and I were able to sample an excellent selection of Chef Mike’s recommendations from Nanka’s recently re-launched menu, which included:
Oysters Hollandaise (Php365 for 6 pieces). Large oysters from Aklan covered in a rich sauce made with egg, butter and lemon, then broiled until the top is starting to brown.
Deep-fried Oysters (Php375 for 8 pieces). Oyster meat lightly dredged and battered, then deep-fried to a golden brown.
Grilled Ahi Tuna (Php355). Yellowfin tuna, also known by its Hawaiian moniker ahi, is well-suited for raw sashimi dishes and for grilling. In this dish, it is served seared rare to bring out its natural flavor while adding some smokiness from the grilling and further enhanced by a dash of togarashi powder.
Grilled Togarashi Shrimp (Php495 for 9 pieces). Fresh shrimp perfectly grilled and spiced with sichimi togarashi, a Japanese powder flavoring made with seven ingredients which include red chili pepper,
orange peel, sesame seeds, Japanese pepper, ginger and seaweed.
Garlic Crabs (market price). Two giant crabs cooked in butter and garlic. Digging into this was one of the highlights of the meal.
Prawn Garlic Noodles (Php375). Plump and fresh prawns sauteed in garlic and tossed together with al dente noodles.
Black Onyx T-bone (Php520 per 100grams) and Black Onyx Tomahawk (Php495 per 100grams). Black Onyx is a well-known Australian brand of Black Angus beef noted for its ruch flavor, juicy tenderness and fine marbling. True to his philosophy of letting the meat’s natural flavors shine through, Chef Mike and his team seared the steaks in a cast iton grill then finished cooking them to a medium doneness in the oven. These were served with togarashi salt, wasabi sea salt, housemade demiglasse, chipotle miso and chimichurri so that diners can season or add sauce to taste.
Japanese Green Tea Mousse (Php215). A delectable dessert made with layers of matcha sponge, matcha pudding and matcha whipped cream icing.
Chocolate Ganache Mountee (Php245). A play of different ways to enjoy chocolate and matcha; a matcha bowl on top of a chocolate bowl with ganache in between, all on a bed of red velvet crumbs.
With these dishes, it is plain to see the sheer mastery and craftsmanship of Chef Mike and his team. Each dish, made of the choicest ingredients, beautifully presented and carefully crafted to enhance its natural flavors, show that the fusion of flavors between Japanese and Latin cuisines are well worth exploring.
Many thanks to Chef Mike and the staff of Nanka for the warm welcome and the wonderful meal!
Nanka is located at 1810 Mother Ignacia corner Chino Roces Avenue, Paligsahan, Quezon City, open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 11pm. For inquiries and reservations, call +63 2 85179677, +63 977 6218472, or +63 917 6734917.
Disclosure: Together with other foodies, I attended a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant. The food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare to facilitate honest reviews and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself.
Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants:
- Hanako, Regis Katipunan
- KYUKYU Ramen 99, Tomas Morato
- Fukuruo Nihonryori, Cainta
- ICHO Japanese Restaurant, Greenhills
- Shizuka Cafe, Little Baguio
- Hodai, West Triangle
- Tori Chizu, UP Town Center
- Yabu, Robinsons Place Magnolia
- Sandaya Yakiniku, Fisher Mall
- Dads-Saisaki-Kamayan, SM Megamall
- Katsu Sora, Greenhills
- Cafe Shibuya, Glorietta
- Ariake, Tomas Morato
- Rai Rai Ken, SM Taytay
- Tokyo Bubble Tea, Tomas Morato
- Ramen Nagi, SM North
- Yoshinoya, SM City North EDSA
- Hiro, SM East Ortigas
- Ramen Nagi, Robinsons Galleria
- Katsu Sora, Trinoma
- Isaribi, Tomas Morato
- Zipang, Tomas Morato
- Omotenashi, Tomas Morato
- Saboten, BGC
- Osaka Takoyaki, SM East Ortigas
- Tenya Tempura Tendon, BGC
- Hanamaruken, Trinoma
- Teriyaki Boy, SM East Ortigas
- Ramen Kuroda, SM Marikina
- Don Bao, Kapitolyo
- Ramen Nagi, Greenbelt
- Menya Noodle & Bento Bar, Greenhills
- Kazoku, Tomas Morato
- Izakaya Flame, BGC
- Dohtonbori, SM Megamall
- Dohtonbori, Greenhills
- Sumo Sam, Gateway Mall
- Soru Izakaya, Ugong