I closed my eyes as I savored the uni sushi that I shoved in my mouth. For a few seconds, the taste of the ocean exploded with that small bite – unctious, velvety and almost surreal.
If I had my way, I would have the remaining sushi for myself. But since I dragged my friend to try out Nonki Japanese Restaurant, then I must allow him that same experience as well.
It was also both our first time at this Japanese restaurant along AS Fortuna in Metro Cebu. Its reputation among hardcore foodies, I learned, has been overwhelmingly positive. It is said that they only use the freshest ingredients and their dishes are all reasonably priced.
The place was almost full that Saturday evening. Most of the tables have been reserved already, but luckily, we still found a spot.
The sushi counter was vacant, but I convinced my friend that we’ll stick with the table this time. That way, we can take all the food porn photos that we want, without having to explain to the sushi chefs or the strangers beside us why it took us very long before we could finally eat.
From Nonki’s extensive 15-page menu, we also ordered the Sashimi Special and two kinds of bento – Tonkatsu Teisyoku and Csusume Teisyoku. I figured out that we may have ordered beyond our imaginary budget, so I said to our kind waitstaff that we’ll have the cheapest sake that they have.
The Sashimi Special was just impeccably glorious. It had fresh slices of quality maguro(tuna), sake (salmon), tai (sea bream) and a gratuitous dollop of uni (sea urchin). I said to myself that next to my dad’s halang-halang, I’ll choose this to be my deathrow meal.
For the bentos, I wished I had what my friend ordered. Don’t get me wrong as my tonkatsu was good, but the deep-fried porkchop was simply no match to what was on his plate. Aside from the soba, he had a smorgasbord of exquisitie sushis, sashimi, tempura and some grilled items such as the sake shioyaki (grilled salted salmon) and aspara bacon (asparagus rolled w/ bacon). The latter two in particular were both revelations. These were properly seasoned and perfectly grilled.
I quickly proposed that we’ll split the bill as long as he’s kind enough to let me sample what’s on his bento. He readily agreed or maybe he was too full to reconsider. Either way, I am glad that I was able to taste a few more dishes in the Nonki’s menu. Maybe next time I’ll try their ramen and their kushiyaki options.
This may come as a surprise, but I would not describe Nonki as an ‘authentic’ Japanese restaurant. It’s a rather contentious description because when you come to think of it, what’s ‘authentic’ anyway? I leave that for the purists to decide and for food critics to ponder on.
But this I can say with much conviction, that all my Japanese meals from this point forward will be compared to Nonki. It’s certainly the best I’ve had so far.
Nonki Japanese Restaurant
219 A.S. Fortuna St. Bakilid
6014 Mandaue City
+63 32 422 3159