Arts & Leisure

Genki Sushi opens 4th branch, introduces 5 new dishes

Posted on June 29, 2017

THE SUSHI trains in Genki Sushi are chug-chug-chugging to a different beat in SM Aura, where Slappy Cakes once was.

GENKI SUSHI’s kousoki train brings plates of sushi around the restaurant.
The sushi place has already opened four branches in about two years: first at the BGC Stopover Pavilion, a second in UP Town Center, a third in Ayala Malls the 30th, and lately, the branch in SM Aura. The launch earlier this week was also used to introduce some new menu items, namely coconut shrimp, Sushi Trio, kushi-age (fried and skewered seafood and vegetables), caramel mochi, and a mille-crepe cake.

The coconut shrimp had a light yet distinct flavor of coconut mixed into the crispy breading, while the kushi-age proved to be a heavy appetizer that still whetted the appetite.

Genki Sushi is a fastfood concept from Japan, with several branches in Japan, the US, Kuwait, Hong Kong, Thailand, and Singapore. It employs the conveyor-belt sushi serving method, though made more interesting with the use of a miniature train system. The feel doesn’t get much more fastfood than this, though you can elevate your expectations with the Sushi Trio, composed of rolls, one topped with raw salmon, the other with mushy, gooey pollock roe, and the last one torched with black pepper and cheese.

The caramel mochi feels like biting into a cloud, after which caramel oozes out, and then the mille-crepe cake is a sensory experience as you feel your fork slicing through layers and layers of pastry, then tasting the light whipped cream sandwiched between each thin pancake.

According to John Peter Paul Atienza, brand manager for Genki, all of the new dishes are from the headquarters in Japan, and most, if not all, the ingredients are sourced from there too. According to him, while headquarters allows for some slack, local ingredients (that they first present in tastings for approval during quality audits) can only be used for contingencies, for example, when an imported item runs out. “That can’t be used as an everyday item,” said Mr. Atienza.

The formatting of the restaurant is also a tad different: as BusinessWorld had noted during Genki Sushi’s initial opening in 2015, the Philippine branch uses booths as opposed to the bar format usually employed in Japan. “We Filipinos go out together -- as family. We rarely go [out] alone,” he said, while in Japan, he noted, it was perfectly normal to do so.

Genki Sushi is a brand under Mother Spice Food Corp. whose other brands include Mango Tree, Mango Tree Bistro, and Cocina Peruvia. The franchise for Slappy Cakes was once under their porfolio, but Mr. Atienza said: “The principals decided not to push through [in this country].” As for the other brands in its umbrella, Mother Spice Food Corp. Marketing head Ida Tan Schneider agreed with BusinessWorld’s observation that only Genki Sushi has more than two branches, and explained the reasons. She said that the freed-up space in locations they could build in seemed appropriately only for the Genki Sushi concept, while Mango Tree (a franchise from Thailand; located in BGC) can only be built once in a specific country. Mango Tree Bistro, its sister, meanwhile, has some leeway, as it has two branches, one in Quezon City and another in Makati City. Cocina Peruvia, meanwhile, has a branch in BGC as well.

Mr. Atienza says that Genki Sushi will definitely open a branch in SM North EDSA this year, and will be eyeing other locations for the future.

As for adding more brands to the Mother Spice portfolio, Ms. Tan Schneider said: “We’re eyeing some, but we cannot divulge the name[s yet] until we have closed the deal.” -- JL Garcia