Some fun into food, but I could appreciate some choice in authenticity.
At the base of The Cathay, the mall of all things trip and trendy (says a lot when NewUrbanMale moved out, doesn’t it?), is the appropriately slotted eatery, Maki-San. To call this psychedelic spot “Japanese” would be upsetting the purists, because it’s anything but. The restaurant’s reminiscent of customizable Asian cuisine concepts prevalent in the West – chic spots that prioritizes style over substance. Indeed, Maki-San was set up by two advertising designers, and their eye for form is apparent, including the ostentatious albeit ignorant tributes to Japanese cuisine with gaudy colored walls, and the fortunately, pleasingly pleasant packaging that borrows more inspiration from Chocolate Research Facility than traditional Japanese patterns. But, Maki-San makes no pretense that it’s the real deal – it invites the fun back into food, and implores you to express your creativity. Plus, it’s healthy, I think.
Ordering is simple enough, if you know what goes well together. I’m sure many who aren’t cooks, or have taken the “dare” route at buffets will grasp that just because it’s a selection of your favorite foods, doesn’t mean it will taste great. So, it becomes of a mind game, really, as you recall what did those sushi chefs at Itacho put in that damn Soft Shell Crab roll. There is the signature creations, but if anything, I thought the combinations looked revolting and didn’t look anymore to prevent a gag reflex. If that’s not for you, then it’s down to you, a pen and several multiple choice questions that’ll ultimately affect your dining experience later. You have “two sizes”: Little San and Mega San, but in reality, it’s the same size regardless. One just has more ingredients.
As expected, there was really nothing really Japanese about it, but then again, you know not to come to this place if you’re in the mood for Japanese food. A dining experience here is like living life – each visit is unique: you learn what works, and what doesn’t, and you improve yourself. Mine was desecrated by the overly citrus yuzu sauce, but I know not to order what I did again.