He was smiling like a little boy.
The chef was smiling, but you somehow could tell he was nervous. The first seating of the night at the bar - where the tasting menus were to be conducted - were practically complete, but his prized ingredients, flown in from the famed Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, were still stuck in the chaos of Friday night traffic. In the meantime, the sake started to flow.
You could literally see the change in Bruce Ricketts' face when the taxi where his Japanese fishmonger was riding in arrived.
"Yes!" he exclaimed after putting down his can of Red Bull. "Fire na! Time check? Pakisabi kailangan ni chef yung uni!" ("Chef needs the uni")
And that was when another journey began, albeit in a different setting. Mecha Uma, a Ricketts x Moment Group colloboration, is an extension of the work that the chef started in the much lauded Sensei Sushi, but in a better location and with proper tools. Easily the hottest seat ANYWHERE, it's certainly also the most different from any Manila dining experience at the moment. And that's a good thing.
The food is nothing short of astounding.
Impeccably sourced fish, oysters, clams, uni... sauces that will have you almost licking your plates.. savory panna cottas.. crunch here.. acidity there.. Matsuzaka beef.. lamb.. baby pork.
There's no point in explaining what's cooking because the next time you sit there it'll most probably be different anyway. But it will be a journey for sure - and one that will leave quite the impression on you.
The thing with eating here is to let go and let the kitchen work its magic. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. Squeal like a gleeful piggy if you must - I know I did - and tell Bruce you love him (like many of us did that evening). Talk to your neighbor and see what they're feeling - chances are you're feeling exactly the same way.
It will be one of the freshest and most delicious experiences you'll have in awhile. Don't forget to fasten your seatbelts.
Mecha Uma. +632 801.2770 G/F RCBC Corporate Center, 25th St. cor 6th Ave. BGC, Taguig