I remember the first time I tasted a maki roll; back then, I wasn't keen on trying Japanese food. Nevertheless, I went out with my brother that night to eat my first ever maki. I'm glad I did because ever since, the California maki has been a favorite.
For my maki fix, I head to Moshi Moshi, a restaurant that opened October last year in Katipunan. Inspired by beef bowl chain restaurants in Japan, owner Jessica Cocabo (a Japanese cuisine lover herself) put up Moshi Moshi-- a fast dining place mainly catered to students from the nearby schools.
Its cool interior is highlighted with fresh green accents on the lamp shades and chairs. It is a very welcoming place, especially since the first thing you'll notice is the large Moshi Moshi sign carpeted in a deep green hue. It's also quite spacious, perfect for large groups.
Look out for their display of limited edition KitKat flavors imported from Japan. Curious how Green Tea KitKat tastes like? Then you're in luck because Moshi Moshi sells these uniquely flavored treats. Better move fast though, because they quickly run out.
Be sure to also check their table of oh-so kawaii miniature food toys. The toys are extremely well-detailed and look real enough to gobble up. They're also available for purchasing: a box would cost you P300 and the bigger boxes, with display cases, are sold for P500.
To start our group's lunch at Moshi Moshi, we sat down for a glass of Apple Ice Tea (Regular - P28, Large - P43) that was very sweet and had a distinct apple aftertaste.
Apple Ice Tea
Our first dish was their bestselling Takoyaki (4 pieces for P40)-- drizzled with takoyaki and mayo sauce and topped with paper thin dried bonito flakes. The first slice was easy and didn't destroy the form of the ball; a nice feature, too, since I'm not the best chopsticks user in the world. I really loved how the first bite gives you a shot of the hot and super creamy octopus filling. Evidently, they used real premium octopus, not some artificial flavoring or substitute. This humble dish was my favorite, and I will come back for it once school begins.
The Sesame Roll (8 pieces for P135) is a new addition to the menu. The long crescent of sesame rolls had a fresh aroma to it. The lettuce inside was interesting when combined with the nutty flavor of the sesame seeds. The rolls were big and generous with rice, imported all the way from Japan. You could tell because the rice was stout and round. It made the dish very filling. The sauce, on the other hand, was very spicy but brought out the hint of mango in the rolls.
A dish that has just been added to their menu is the Terimayodon (Regular - P130, Level Up - P190), a hybrid of their two bestsellers, the Mayodon and the Teriyakidon. The chicken was not too chewy, and the teriyaki and mayo sauce was as generous as the rice. Bits of spring onions also added a crunchy texture. The dish was slightly sweet and also sour perhaps resulting from the teriyaki and mayo sauce. The dish was is honestly good and great for those who can't decide if they want Mayodon or Teriyakidon.
We proceeded by having the Tempura Maki Shrimp Roll (8 pieces for P145) which was covered with thick rice. It's topped with crunchy tempura bits that stood out from all the soft textures. The mild shrimp flavor also emphasized the sweet mango hidden inside the roll. Moshi Moshi's dishes are really filling, and this Tempura Maki Shrimp Roll is not an exception.
Tempura Maki Shrimp Roll
What makes Moshi Moshi different from other Japanese restaurants is their recently added customizable bentos that are budget-friendly. For the Choose your own bento (P155), we decided to try the Chicken Mayo, composed of the Mayodon, fresh Kani Salad, large Onion Rings and cheesy Pork Balls. The chicken mayo is completely unique only in Moshi Moshi, so this dish is something you shouldn't pass up.
Choose your own bento - Chicken Mayo
The chicken mayo included strips of cabbage but the chicken was still dominant. The kani salad on the other hand, were crunchy strips of cucumber, carrots and some lettuce, drizzled with japanese mayo sauce. It was a sweet and sour dish but the mayo was less tangy than the mayonnaise we're used to.
The pork balls were crunchy on the outside but soft and meaty inside. The cheese was also subtle but creamy. The whole dish had already made me full and I had to give up the onion rings. I got to get a bite of them though.
The Oyakudon (Regular - P120, Level Up - P170) with Gyu (P60) and Cheese (P25) was a treat of warm meaty goodness. The cheese was a nice touch because it added more saltiness to the dish, plus anything with cheese is a go for me. The broth was quite generous, perfect for those who crave a lot of soup in their Oyakudon. The sweet Gyu was very tender and beefy in taste, while the crunchy spring onion bits added a refreshing punch to the dish.
Oyakudon with Gyu and Cheese
For dessert, we had the Soft Served Ice Cream (P35) in strawberry and vanilla. The flavors change daily so you can come visit their shop every day of the week to try all the flavors. The ice cream was dominant with vanilla flavor though, I suppose the strawberry was a tad subtle. The flavors reminded me of the Monami candy with vanilla and strawberry swirls back in gradeschool. It sort of cleanses your palate for a while, only to fill it with the aftertaste of vanilla. It's also very cool and light, making it a perfect summer treat.
Soft Served Ice Cream
Moshi Moshi Special Crepe
We also had the Moshi Moshi Special Crepe (P145) which is mangoes, whipped cream, and cheesecake sandwiched in freshly made crepe then topped with vanilla ice cream and chocolate. Well, need I say more? The dish had different levels of sweetness that all in all, resulted in a soft dish that was still filling. The crepe is good for sharing but if one of you gobbles this dish by yourself, I wouldn't be surprised!
I'll be sure to drag my friends to Moshi Moshi once school starts. I think they'll love the resto's modern Japanese dishes that are quite affordable, too.
If you're in Katipunan and in a budget, be sure to drop by Moshi Moshi to satisfy your Japanese fix.
Moshi Moshi is located in the 2nd floor of Regis Center in Katipunan and is open Monday to Sunday from 10am-10pm.