Dessert Comes First

An obsession with dessert and other unabashed opinions of a food writer

Magnum White King
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“Good Food Must Wait”

posted by in Others, Restaurants

As I write this, I feel the combined weight of too many holiday meals resting in my stomach, settling on my thighs, my upper arms, and all the problem spots women have when it comes to their bodies. This is the heavy –literally (!) and I daresay, unavoidable result of gorging that is incessant at this time of the year. I feel that the only thing I lack now is a pig’s nose and utter a guttural “oink!”

So when the owners of a new Japanese restaurant invited me over, I was a bit wary about inflicting even more damage to my already beleaguered stomach. It’s easy however, to work around Japanese food since it can be relatively light. I just needed to stay away from my favorite katsudon (fried pork cutlets over rice).

Sakae (sa-KAH-eh) Sushi is a franchise from Singapore. It has a delightful almost amusing tagline on its signage: “Good food, great sushi.” Jaded diners may groan about yet another Japanese restaurant, but a look into Sakae will quiet all quibbles.

sushi plus 2

salmon sashimi

tobiko sushi

For one, the sushi parades on a conveyor belt. This demands alertness on your part since you’ve got to be quick on the draw: keeping an eye out on what’s available and once you see it, you’ve got to snap it up, lest you wait for it to come by again. The sushi is a visual carnival zipping by on various colored plates (P89 –pink plates / P189 -multi colored plates). The selection is not commonplace; try the fish roe sushi wrapped in a tofu skin “band,” and the softshell crab sushi, garnished with sesame seeds. If you don’t see what you want, peruse the menu or ask the servers who seem to pop out of nowhere. Break out of the comfort zone that entraps you into ordering the same things.

Owner Hubert Young is very proud that his restaurant stands on innovation. Sakae has three machines which facilitate the sushi-making: a rice washer, a rice cooker, and a machine that mixes the sushi rice. This technology ensures cleanliness to the highest degree with the only human contact coming from the chefs who arrange the specific sushi toppings.

Another cutting edge feature at Sakae is the ordering done by computer. Every booth is equipped with a monitor and mouse that navigates the user through the different menu items. Though confusing at first, it’s actually no different than working at your office PC. Once you’ve confirmed your order, a server will immediately materialize at your side with a computer print-out of your order which he/she will read out to you for changes.

Every booth also has a hot water dispenser so diners can refill their own tea cups. It’s a boon for those of us who believe that hot water with every meal will “melt” away the ingested fat and oils. Care needs to be exercised by those seated beside the hot water dispenser, and the accompanying Caution: HOT! sticker tells you all you need to know.

hotpot

paper hotpot

Because my dining companion Karen (Hubert’s wife) and I were intent on eating light, we ordered the paper hot pot (P399-P499) , a dish which I think is available only at Sakae Sushi. Hot pot is not uncommon – a “casserole” of various meats and vegetables in broth placed over an open flame and served at table. At Sakae however, the food is placed in burn-proof paper which is then set into a stainless sieve and then set atop a burner. This particular paper is imported from Japan, possessing a curious texture: slightly furry on the bottom and smooth paper on the top where the food is. And no, the broth doesn’t seep through the paper either.

I enjoyed the paper hot pot, even if I thought that the broth was bland. It’s meant to be that way, I was told, because at Sakae, the food speaks for itself with its freshness and vitality. Sauces and such will only serve to destroy it. This goes for the sushi as well. Dip, don’t drown your sushi into the soy sauce and wasabi. It’s an epiphany to taste food without the cacophony of seasonings.

hamachi

Something which isn’t on the menu is hamachi, young yellowtail tuna. Karen ordered this at the start of our meal, and 20 minutes later, it still hadn’t arrived. One of the Singaporean supervisors noticed our impatience and with a smile said to us, “Good food must wait.” Karen and I were stunned into quiet contemplation. How very true. So when the hamachi did come to us, we partook of its tender, juicy flesh with reverence; the only seasoning we dared to add was a zing of lemon juice.

Sakae Sushi
26th St.
Crescent West Park,
Fort Bonifacio Global City,
Taguig
(near McDonald’s and UCC)
843-4891 / 843-5452

12 Responses to ““Good Food Must Wait””

  • There used to be a conveyor belt restaurant in the Greenhills Parking Lot — but it died a natural death.

    In any case this restaurant looks to be more interesting and could do well with a better location in The Fort. And the Youngs have done well with their other restaurant chain: UCC.

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  • Conveyor belt sushi hasn’t caught on in NYC and i haven’t been that interested in trying it, but that restaurant….looks so good! Your posts put NYC to shaaame. And I totally hear you about the holiday weight. My pants realllly hate me right now. :(

    But ye know, Japanese food doesn’t get absorbed by the boy. Yuup.

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  • Hi, Wysgal. Parang I know that resto you’re talking about — Is it Genji? The one in the strip where Italianni’s and Max’s are?
    Gosh – that’s one of my favorite restos pa naman.

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  • had dinner at sakae last monday, i actually didnt like the food.

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  • Just reading about and gazing at your pics is enough to make me put on weight! Hee-hee!

    Love your blog– I’m totally hooked!

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  • Great! It’s here! :)I do hope it did not change anything from the mother resto.(pls pls pls – bec Im a huge fan of conveyor belts and its hard to find one in Manila =P )
    The one in Ghills Parking Lots veered away -big time!-from its original mother store thus Im not surprised if it just died away…

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  • There’s a restaurant in South San Francisco that does conveyor belt sushi, and it was ABSOLUTELY delicious. The key is high customer turnover, so that the sushi is always guaranteed fresh. Otherwise, it just becomes scary, right? Plus, it’s just so perfect for impatient customers like me who don’t like to wait too long for their food!

    Lori, see you in a couple of weeks!

    XOXO

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  • How were the prices there? My brother and his wife ate there a few weeks ago, and they said that while the food was ok, the prices really threw them off…

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  • Sakae Sushi SUCKS ! I went straight to the bathroom when I got home ! I will never set foot on that place again even if my meal was free !!!!! The food sucks! The salmon and tuna were not fresh at all !

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  • The Conveyor belt sushi is Greenhills is still very much alive – perhaps you went there when they were having renovation. I personnally prefer Genji over Sakae Sushi. The place is a lot friendlier and the food much tastier. Sakae is such a snobbish place plus their food actually sucks!

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  • Genji sushi is very much Filipinized. So much so that it caters to the sweet taste filipinos want. The sushi there is just too sweet. Even the mayo is sweet!

    Sakae sushi is very good on the other hand. Well, the one I tried at Mall of Asia. Granted that it is expensive, the food is fresh. The sushi was just right. Japanese food is not all about sweetness or the strongness of flavor. The flavor and smell are always light and subtle (NOT LOADED WITH SWEET MAYO) This is how a good sushi is for me.

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  • YUM. I’m a jap food addict. :)

    Thinking of dragging a date to the place and get some sushi sampling going. :) How much per head? Php1000?

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