Geisha is a Japanese restaurant located in the new Bonifacio High Street Central. Operated by the Red Kimono group, Geisha characterizes its cuisine as ‘modern Japanese.’ This does not mean fusion, however. The restaurant prides itself on sticking to authentic Japanese dishes and adapting new ones based on traditional cooking techniques.
Things to try out include the Rock Shrimp Tempura Salad (Php275), beautifully fried shrimp resting on a bed of mesclun, carrots and cucumber, served with creamy sesame dressing. The shrimp’s batter is in between crunchy and chewy, so that its texture doesn’t vary too much from the rest of the dish. It makes quite a filling starter, and is good enough for a light meal.
The Kurobuta Gyoza (Php 285) isn’t your normal Japanese pork dumpling dish. Made with premium grade pork from a special breed of pig, Kurobuta is the most highly prized pork in Japan. In this dish, it imparts a rich, concentrated flavor. Though it is served with a miso-infused tomato sauce, the gyozas are actually juicy and flavorful enough to be eaten on their own.
If you really must have something “fusion,” you can order the Spicy Tuna Crisps (Php180), spicy bits of raw yellowfin tuna served on thin crisps. Think of it as a nacho toped with liberally spiced ceviche. A novelty that’s light enough to be a snack.
If you’re a Red Kimono fan who likes Geisha’s more modern cosmopolitan menu and ambiance but misses the former’s more homey feel, the Salmon and King Prawn Roll (Php480) will make you feel at home. The overstuffed maki is best shared, as it is terribly filling, the raw salmon and cooked king prawn complementing each other in terms of taste and texture, the salmon’s strong flavor going well with the prawn’s slight chewiness. The honeymaki sauce it is served with adds a splash of sweetness to the dish, which is best enjoyed with the accompanying mayonnaise dip.
A personal favorite is the Spider Roll (Php330), which incudes crunchy soft-shell crab, kani salad, and oboro, or Japanese-style scrambled eggs. After you get over he novelty of what looks like spider parts sticking out of your maki, there is the realization that there’s a chance that you might not be able to finish this dish after all, no matter how much you want to because it tastes so good and is so fun to eat. The soft shel crab imparts meat and texture, with the rest of the ingredients acting as filler (the kind that tastes good) in order to further boost the main star. This is also potentially the dish that’ll get your child interested in sushi. Or maybe not.
The restaurant also has the usual choices of fresh sushi and sashimi. As you can see, the Hamachi Sashimi (Php240) is prettily presented.
One of my favorite main dishes was the Miso Glazed Gindara with Edamame Risotto (Php750), soft, sweet fish that falls apart at the touch of a fork paired with creamy rice flavored with green soy beans. The rice’s subtle flavors lets the diner concentrate on the fish, its creaminess adding to the umami experience. The thing on top of the gindara is a lotus crisp.
A must try is the Skewered Pork (Php370). Don’t let its simple name fool you. These luscious sticks of fried meat that rest on sesamed rice is heavenly. But it isn’t just a more sosyal lechon kawali. The pork is a beautiful mix of meat and fat, the rice an almost blank palette from which to showcase its juicy porcine goodness.
Folks like me who are partial to beef will appreciate the simplicity of the U.S. Angus Beef Teppanyaki (Php895). Served barely seared, and in pieces bigger than the normal teppanyaki serving, this is a no frills dish that allows diners to savor the high quality beef’s flavors. I couldn’t get enough of this, and it was only by sheer willpower that I managed to leave some for my fellow diners.
Geisha has a list of sweet ways to end the evening. A twist on a favorite is the Matcha Cheesecake (Php165), a light cheesecake dusted with green tea powder and served with seasonal berries.
Those who want something richer can try the extremely dense Chocolate Truffle Torte (Php190), served with a sake-sesame sauce to cut the chocolate’s flavor. Dn’t be fooled by the cake’s tininess. In this case, a little goes a long way.
The desserts pair well with Geisha’s signature teas, which are all organic, fair trade, and made for the restaurant. Actually, all the dishes pair well with at least two of the restaurant’s special teas (A pun, I makes it!). Just ask the server for suggestions. The teas are served in beautiful teapots with clear brewers to ensure a perfect brew.
Geisha is a great place for reunions, Sunday meals, and intimate dinners. It’s menu is a sumptuous mix of the traditional and the new, with an emphasis on flavor, quality, and modern, minimalist presentation.
Geisha Modern Japanese Cuisine
UG/F, West Superblock, Bonifacio High Street Central, 7th Ave cor 29th St, Taguig City