Monday, August 3, 2015

Monday, August 03, 2015
5th Taste Cheesteak Sandwich
Mussels Tempura


T H A N   T H E


One weekend drizzle of July dampened my mood for food. A Saturday night that I was looking forward to for a hearty meal jolted me back to my usual discriminating self. I suddenly had no appetite for anything. I did, however, have a scheduled meet-up with fellow foodies in a modern Japanese cuisine restaurant. That was enough to get me moving out of the house all the way to the venue: 5th Taste. Located in a commercial district of San Juan City, it’s next to other dining venues that are popular in the area. It was initially clear to me that I had to brave it through the rain and force myself to eat dinner.

What changed my countenance that night was a single sip of 5th Taste’s Deconstructed Miso Soup – a set of miso broth, silken tofu, pork floss, and leeks. Surprisingly, mine was a cup of someone’s warm and friendly hug. What a way to start the dinner that I was adamant to have in the first place!

Kani Salad Pizza
Deconstructed Miso Soup

Umami At The Onset

While having more of that soup, it dawned on me that the restaurant’s name is actually the Japanese term known as umami --- a recently recognized basic taste by culinary experts. Along with salty, sweet, sour and bitter, the fifth taste called umami is anything on a dish that has a pleasant, savoury taste. Flavor-wise, it tastes meaty and brothy. If anything, that was what I had as a delicious introduction to my dinner. This savoriness that coated the tongue immersed my palate to salivate for more deliciousness.

At 5th Taste, I realised that nourishing Japanese dishes are each given a tasty twist on top of the basic tastes that people are familiar with. The restaurant is driven to experiment with typical Japanese dishes and flavors enough for dining guests to experience them in a new way. With the Deconstructed Miso Soup, the ingredients enhanced each other resulting in more flavourful points than the sum of its parts. What’s more, the distinct flavour of fermented beans is a good source of antioxidants, dietary fibre, and protein.

Crispy Chicken Curry
An Inventive Kani Salad Pizza

Motivated to seek more of that umami in the other dishes available at the restaurant, I had the crispy Kani Salad Pizza next. It’s a thin crust pizza that’s peppered with shredded kani, cucumber, carrot ribbons, mozarella and Japanese mayo. It was definitely a departure from the usual pizza slices that I’ve been gorging on for the past few months. I distinctively did not like a kani salad I had at a resort in Luzon, but to have had it on a crispy crust was quite inventive. The combination of soft, chewy, and crispy textures was a delight to have after sips of the nourishing Miso Soup.

Mussels Tempura and Smoked Mackerel Maki

I proceeded to tear into a piece of Mussels Tempura (lightly battered mussels) and a Smoked Mackerel Maki (smoked mackerel flakes and mango). The wasabi mayo and sweet eel dressing duo on the tempura complemented each other well given the crunchy texture of the batter. As for the maki, the mango filling was a delicious center to the rest of the dish.

Smoked Mackerel Maki
Jalapeño Cream Cheese Onion Tonkatsu

5th Taste Cheesesteak Sandwich

Next to touch my plate was a slice off of a dough-licious 5th Taste Cheesteak Sandwich since I had to share it with a few more foodies at the table. I’m not sure if it was my first time to sample a ciabatta bread, but the distinctively flat bread made a great impression on me that lasted with each bite of the stir-fried beef sukiyaki and mozzarella cheese combo. I would later learn that it’s a great tandem with pasta or soup. However, having it in a sandwich format still made sense. The soft, spongy crumb and its chewy texture went down well with the rest of the hefty treat that I forgot all about the fries which were served on the side.

Ending With Chicken Curry and Tonkatsu

More than an hour into dinner, I got the chance to sample two more dishes – the Crispy Chicken Curry and Jalapeño Cream Cheese Onion Tonkatsu. The two dishes were a fitting dinner-ender as they were both truly savory and came in generous servings (good for sharing). The curry was a creative set of lightly crisped chicken and Omurice (steamed rice wrapped in omelette with Japanese curry and mozzarella cheese) while the tonkatsu came with Japanese slaw. As a twist to the usual crispy soft pork cutlet, the latter was served with jalapeño cream cheese and onion filling.

My mood for food might have been dampened by a dramatic drizzle, but it was the discovery of inventive ways in dining over Japanese cuisine at 5th Taste that made me recover. Pleasant, savory flavors prevailed in making me appreciate the sad weather.

5th Taste

Address: 453 P. Guevarra St., San Juan City, Philippines
Hours of Operation:
11:00am - 11:00pm
11:00am - 12:00am
11:00am - 11:00pm
Phone: (02) 705-1856



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