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Ogawa brings traditional Japanese dining to the Fort Strip |

Food and Leisure

Ogawa brings traditional Japanese dining to the Fort Strip

Ching M. Alano - The Philippine Star

Restaurateur George Pua and chef Kiyoshi Ogawa team up to bring pure and simple Japanese cuisine.

MANILA, Philippines - By George! George Pua has done it again! The innovative, insatiable spirit behind such dining concepts as Tony Roma’s, Modern Sichuan, and K-pub BBQ, George Pua opens the Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant today at The Fort Entertainment Complex, The Fort Strip, Bonifacio Global City.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” says this well-loved restaurateur who now shares his consummate passion for good Japanese food with Filipino diners through his new “baby” — Ogawa.

Incidentally, George worked for a Japanese trading firm for 13 years. Whenever he goes to Japan — which is as often as he can — he usually finds himself in Shibuya, Tokyo’s shopping and entertainment haven that’s teeming with gourmet restaurants and bars. Thus began George’s endless love affair with Japanese food.

By a fluke of luck, George met renowned Japanese chef Kiyoshi Ogawa who was then head of the Senju kitchen at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel. They bonded over glorious food and sake, and became fast friends. Ogawa resigned from Shang and worked with another company.  Later George met Ogawa again and he is now the chef (and the chief attraction) of the restaurant named after him and owned by his friend George Pua of No Limits Food, Inc.

“My grandparents ran a restaurant called Ogawa in Tokyo,” says a beaming Ogawa as he meticulously puts the finishing touches to a teppanyaki plate while we watch with delight.

Growing up amid good food, Ogawa was trained by his father, himself a chef, in traditionalist Japanese cooking.

“If it’s not a Japanese chef cooking in the kitchen, I wouldn’t dare open a Japanese restaurant,” asserts George, a stickler for quality and authenticity.  “Sayang lang if the food is not authentic! Like for Sichuan/Modern China, we got five Chinese chefs. For K-pub Korean restaurant, we have a Korean chef. As for Tony Roma’s, we don’t have an American chef, but 100 percent of our sauces are imported.”

It’s exactly what you’ll find when you dine at a restaurant in Tokyo: Good old Japanese food of the finest, highest quality.  Only the freshest fresh produce and seafood find their way into the Ogawa kitchen. “Our beef — Kobe, Ohmi, and Matsusaka (probably the most expensive beef in the world) — is flown in from Japan,” George tells us.

As you probably know, traditional Japanese cooking sparingly uses red meat, oils and fats, and dairy. Except for the deep-fried foods like tempura (my absolute favorite), traditional Japanese cooking is quite healthy as it uses little cooking oil.  With its abundant seafood supply, traditional Japanese cuisine is more fishy than meaty.  A medley of herbs and spices often jazzes up a dish.

Enter Ogawa’s antique main door and you’re ushered into a whole new world of traditional Japanese dining. Japanese wallpaper by Ushio Sekiguchi of pine trees, leaves, and sparrows brings a whiff of fresh air. There are five exquisite private dining rooms, perfect for business meetings or intimate celebrations and named after famous districts  in Japan: Ginza, Roppongi, Akasaka, Aoyama, and Shinbashi.

We sit around the teppanyaki station, which can seat around 30 persons.  We watch with relish the sizzling activities in this hottest station — chef Pat cooking up a big fat lobster and a most succulent ribeye, which we demolish with a filling bowl of kamameshi rice, also cooked at the teppan counter.

Right across is the sushi station with its fresh offerings.

We ask George his personal favorites and he instantly replies: “Sushi; robatayaki (meat, fish, vegetables slow-grilled to perfection); yakitori (skewered grilled food); kamameshi rice (rice with meat and veggie tidbits).”

You can have all that — and more — at Ogawa. “We try to price our items as reasonable as possible,” says George. “For instance, a chicken teriyaki set (with appetizer, chawan mushi or egg custard, miso soup, pickles, and dessert) costs only P320. Same with a mix tempura set.”

On a cold rainy day like today, enjoy oodles of noodles, such as a nice and hot miso chashu ramen broth with sliced barbequed pork for P380 or the tantanmen ramen with ground chicken and spicy sesame paste broth for P420, with dessert, or the Nagasaki chanpon men with sauteed seafood and veggies in sea salt broth for P380, with dessert.

For the resto’s soft opening, a lot of imported items are on sale, like the sashimi (the blue-fin premium tuna belly is marked down from P966 to P690 while the special assorted sashimi (seven kinds) is now at P890, from P1,246.

Hai, you can enjoy good old Japanese food any old time at Ogawa, which is now the little Tokyo of Bonifacio Global City.  Photos by




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Ogawa Traditional Japanese Restaurant is located at the 2nd floor of Tony Roma’s at The Fort Entertainment Complex, The Fort Strip, 5th Ave. corner 28th St., BGC, Taguig City. It is open for lunch daily at 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner at 5:30 p.m. and up. For inquiries and reservations, call 886-4996 or 0917-85-OGAWA. To know more about Ogawa, visit or Facebook page OGAWA Traditional Japanese Restaurant.



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