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Grab some after-hours grub at Kenshin located at The Linear in Makati

By Gene Gonzalez

One of the problems a chef faces is where to find good places to eat after work when the choices are limited to 24-hour fast-food chains or tapsilogan joints. The promise of a good meal to restore the soul after spending long hours in the kitchen has spurred me on a perpetual search for after-hours grub.

While exploring the Chinese establishments along Yakal Street in Makati, this is the recent find that piqued my interest. Kenshin Japanese Restaurant, on the corner of Yakal Street and Mayapis Street, doubles as an izakaya (Japanese bar) in the later hours of the evening, and seems to be well-patronized based on the influx of diners we see every time we pass by.

Kenshin has several branches, and its main commissary is headed by a Japanese chef. I find this one gives great comfort and convenience, as there’s nearby and free parking a few steps away from the restaurant’s back entrance.

Ika Shiokara (fermented and salted squid)Ika shiokara

During our first visit, I played it safe and ordered some mainstream dishes and specialties. For the cold dishes, it was uni sashimi, ika shiokara (a dish of salted, fermented squid that is probably imported from Japan), tako wasabi or octopus in wasabi dressing, and salmon poke.

Afterward, our hot dishes arrived. I was particularly happy with the ebi tempura, which had a crispy, bubbly texture. The batter changed on our next visits, but tasted decent still.

Tempura ebiEbi tempura

The current menu also offers a do-it-yourself takoyaki, and we did ours with the assistance of a waitstaff, who helped form the octopus batter balls. The takoyaki here is the closest anyone in Manila can get to the ones in Osaka.

Since it was a rainy night, we also had a serving of kimchi nabe that was served in an iron pot placed on the table. The spiciness of the kimchi and gochujang, along with the earthiness of mushrooms, tofu, vegetables, and chashu pork in the soup, tasted wonderful. We tried the spicy miso chicken with cheese fondue, which used warm cheese sauce as a dip to tame the heat from the spicy chicken hotpot. The veggies, large sprouts, and more kimchi added extra appeal to this fiery dish.

kimchi nabeKimchi nabe

If you’re craving familiar dishes and want to save yourself from having to choose from an extensive menu of noodles and sushi offerings, you can also try the Kenshin’s ramen set, which is reasonably priced. Their Shio Chashu Ramen (you can add a little more for miso) is partnered with sushi or curry rice, or a trio of ramen, gyoza, and fried rice.

For sushi, the restaurant’s Kenshin Don is their version of the scattered sushi or chirashi. I paired this with a manju salad, which is like having okonomiyaki ingredients made into a salad, then drizzled with a soy sauce-based dressing. It was a great play of textures, from the vegetable strings, down to the crisp noodles. On my next visit, I will probably try their version of the caesar’s salad.

The restaurant also offers a drink-all-you can promo that only costs ₱299. Do check out the shochu-based cocktails if you happen to not have work the next day.

You can email me at or message me at Instagram. Subscribe to my YouTube “The Kitchen Scoundrel Food Channel” for some exciting recipes monthly.

Source: Manila Bulletin

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