Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Japonesa finally opens its doors to daytime diners craving for delectable fusion cuisine. The Poblacion-based restaurant is the third establishment under F&B group Notorious Concepts and is the brainchild of CEO James Thomas and nikkei head chef Luis Higa. Chef Luis is a Japanese national who lived nearly half his life in Peru.
Upon entering Japonesa, we were welcomed with a bright and elegant atmosphere combining Eastern and Western aesthetics. The wooden elements used in most of the furnishing, as well as the woodblock-inspired pattern in the main bar, reflect the Japanese touches. Meanwhile, Peruvian inspirations are seen through the wavy geometric patterns in the flooring and some of the decor scattered strategically all over the venue. The overall atmosphere is cosy and the lighting is very Instagram-friendly.
Japonesa’s menu has a wide array of selections, ranging from bite-sized eats like skewers, sushi, and sashimi to reasonable portions of tapas and mains. They also have vegan, pescetarian, and vegetarian options.
For us, a visit to any Japanese (or Japanese-fusion) restaurant is never complete without sampling some sushi, so we decided to first try their Unagi (PHP420 for two pieces). The saltwater eel almost melts in the mouth with its cooked-to-perfection texture and the rice-to-unagi ratio was perfect for a single big bite. The slice of avocado on top also added a contrasting but surprisingly pleasing addition to the dish.