Monday, April 16, 2012

Japanese Bites n' Brews by Sugi and Global Beer Exchange


Published on Manila Bulletin Sunday Lifestyle Section, April 15, 2012


Japanese Bites n' Brews

Let me tell you this.

I am not a beer kind of girl.

My drink list consists of coffee, hot chocolate, warm water and yakult.

Okay, I do have the occasional Triple Chocolate Martini here, Baileys on the Rocks with whipped cream there, but that's pretty much about it.




Last night, I was changed.

Thanks to Jim Araneta of Global Beer Exchange and Ines Cabarrus of Sugi, I discovered the beautiful marriage between beer and Japanese chow.

Of course, you can marry beer with anything you like, but at Sugi, you do it with Japanese food. (Duh?)



IMG 4690

Jim Araneta of Global Beer Exchange and Ines Cabarrus of Sugi



We started off with some Zipang. Housed in a sleek silver and black bottle, I would never have in my whole life guessed what it was.

Ines poured me some into a flute. I thought the pale amber liquid tasted like sweet champagne. But guess what it was…

(Drum roll, please!)

The sweet refreshing drink was... sparkling sake! Surprise, surprise!


IMG 4628

Zipang Sparkling Sake



With Zipang, we happily munched on Japanese "Chichiria" (nori sheets + assorted rice crackers) until the real food came.


IMG 4630

Japanese "Chichiria"



And with the real food came real good beer.

Hitachino Nest White Ale.

The flavors of this Japanese “biru” are soft and shy, a bit fruity, a bit peppery. Refreshing and has a very clean and crisp finish, 
this one's a good first time for a virgin like me. *winks*


IMG 4640

Hitachino Nest White Ale



We had the White Ale with Spicy Tuna Sashimi, which I like to wrap in nori to give it a bit of texture. Plus the salty-grassy taste of seaweed went quite
 beautifully with the fish.


IMG 4641

Spicy Tuna Sashimi...



IMG 4648

… wrapped in nori



The Chili Fire Roll’s got salmon, tuna, cucumber, sushi rice and a bashful drizzle of chili oil all scrunched up into a roll.
 If you are like me who enjoy hotness, the servers would be more than happy to give you more chili.


IMG 4644

Chili Fire Roll



IMG 4647




IMG 4653

Miso Soup



Next up was the Morimoto Soba Ale which most of the men in the group loved. 
I guess the defined flavor and smooth swallow is a very macho thing. (Me loves macho things!)

I taste toasted cereals and roasted nuts, qualities I believe will make this bottle a good pair with Asian fare.


IMG 4659

Morimoto Soba Ale



We were each served a plate of Yasai Salad with Wafu Dressing because according to Ines, we needed to eat a bit of healthy 
to save us from all the fried evilness we were about to consume.


IMG 4662

Yasai Salad with Wafu Dressing



Evilness is yumminess. And it came in the form of Kari Kari Bones, tiny bones of the asohos fish deep-fried to a golden crunch.

Salty, crispy AND very healthy.

It is fish after all, isn't it? ;)


IMG 4670

Kari Kari Bone



Now the Koebi Karaage, that was one dish I enjoyed with my buddy Morimoto the most. Now if these sweet and tasty crunchy babies aren't the perfect beer-guzzling accessory, then really, I don't know what is!


IMG 4669

Koebi Karaage



Sometime during dinner, Jim asked me which beer I liked the best. I told him White Ale over Morimoto.

But I immediately took back my answer after I had my first sip of this.

The Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale.

I love it because of the toned down fizz, and mainly because it smelled and tasted like flowers, caramel and cream. It was aromatic, robust and sweet.

After just 2 bottles of beer, I’d say I was getting better and better at this. Ha! :P


IMG 4686

Hitachino Nest Japanese Classic Ale



The Ebi Tofu Shinjo Age is Sugi’s new dish for April. One side of the plate was stuffed shiitake, and the other side stuffed potato. I love that they used tofu and minced shrimps instead of the usual minced meat+fillers stuffing you get elsewhere. These babies were especially delicious when dipped in the sweet and creamy miso-sesame sauce.


IMG 4674

Ebi Tofu Shinjo Age



Then we had fried foods and grilled foods, Tempura Moriawase and Yakitori Moriawase.


IMG 4676

Tempura Moriawase



IMG 4684

Yakitori Moriawase



IMG 4682

Yakitori Paparazzi


The skewers were covered and grilled in sweet teriyaki sauce.

You know what they say about us Chinese folks, we are suckers for innards and that’s very true. I dove right away for liver and gizzard.



The Pork Chili Sansho Yaki is, simply put, chicken teriyaki but pork. It was more sweet than spicy, but you could always ask for more chili.


IMG 4681

Pork Chili Sansho Yaki



And then, my favorite time - dessert time. They gave us choices but it wasn’t really such a difficult decision.

I chose Coffee Jelly with vanilla ice cream over Fruit Jelly without vanilla ice cream.

It was simple but good, I finished it in no time.


IMG 4692

Coffee Jelly with Vanilla Ice Cream



Concluded the meal with flutes of this sweet umeshu.


555878 3046811565363 1115385320 46903004 1119011262 n

Choya Japanese Plum Wine
(photo grabbed from Noel of EyeOnWine. Thanks, Noel!)



IMG 4693

With Ines, the Sugi-Chihuahua princess



IMG 4657

Spanky, Teddy, Sanju, Jim, Heidi
Krip, Me, Ines, CJ, Cyrene and Noel



Sugi is located at the Ground Floor of Greenbelt 2, Esperanza Street, Ayala Center, Makati City, Metro Manila. You may call 757-3678 to 79 for reservations. Visit their website at

Global Beer Exchange, importer of specialty beer from around the world, is located at 4560 A. P. Reyes Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila. For inquiries, please call 895-6173 or +639178945076. Visit their website at

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...