Kozui Green Tea: an afternoon zen break

My sister and I always look forward to Saturday afternoons. This is because we usually make the most of this time to go out with mommy for a short but sweet merienda (afternoon snack) bonding.

One Saturday, we found ourselves driving along Tomas Morato in search of a cozy looking restaurant for our weekly bonding session. My sister, who has been wanting to try something new, pointed Kozui Green Tea out to us and mentioned that she has been hearing a lot of raves about it. Since we all love Green Tea, we gladly went with her suggestion.

Entering the brightly lit restaurant, I immediately sense a very happy vibe all over the place. A shelf was adorned with cute, Japanese trinkets while their community board has photos of regular customers obviously loving their choice of drinks. We settled at a table by the door that has a semi-circle lime green couch. It took us a while to finalize our order because everything looks so good!

Finally my mom and sister each got the Iced Genmaicha Lemon Tea (Php. 80) while I chose the Hot Roast Green Tea Latte (Php. 100). To share, we also got the Karaage Chicken Wrap (Php. 158), their famous Takoyaki balls (Php. 98), Cold Green Tea Soba (Php. 158) and a bowl of Mango Anmitsu (Php. 148) for dessert.

Good thing the serving is just good for one or we might have to just skip merienda and call it an early dinner. Our drinks arrived shortly after we placed our order. I pulled my steaming mug of Green Tea Latte close to my nose and loved the strong, sweet smell of the Roasted Genmaicha powder. ohhh..li nioi (smells good)!

After savoring the aroma of my warm drink, I took a small cautious sip. Believe me, it's sooo good! No course texture caused by undissolved green tea powder, no bitter taste at all. It was so smooth and I love the sweet, creamy taste as it hits my taste buds.

Finally, the rest of our orders were served. First, we tried the Kaarage Chicken Wrap. We enjoyed the crunchy chicken strips mixed with chopped cucumber and tomatoes drizzled with their very tasty Black Sesame dressing. This is wrapped in soft pita bread and sealed with a thin strip of nori for that Japanese feel. One problem that we always encounter when eating a pita wrap sandwich is having to deal with soggy pita bread that has quickly absorbed in the sauce which later leads to a very messy dining experience. Thankfully, Kozui's wrap has just the right amount of sauce which the meat and veggies have absorbed in, leaving the pita bread and nori strip dry and firm enough to hold the entire sandwich together.

Having had tried a dozen Takoyakis outside from small food carts in the mall to the ever famous Samurai stall, Kozui's version somehow fell short of our expectations. One order comprises of five Takoyaki balls which were beautifully arranged on a white platter dotted with Japanese mayonnaise and topped with bonito flakes. As we sliced into our takoyaki balls, we were somewhat looking for a generous amount of seafood bits enclosed in a crispy-on-the-outside-and-soft-on-the-inside ball. Sadly, we got quite a mushy ball with very little seafood bits. *sigh*

We should have just skipped the Takoyaki and went on with the Cold Green Tea Soba. This dish is a cool delight after burning our tongues with the disappointing Takoyaki balls. The soft, Green Tea soba noodles are served on top of a Japanese sushi mat with ice cubes. It comes with a very flavorful sauce that we were told to dip the noodles into. Mmm...yummy :) It perfectly complements our drinks too!

To cap off our wonderful mother-daughter bonding session, we had a bowl of Mango Anmitsu once again to share. Anmitsu is the Japanese version of our native Halo-Halo. Served on a small black bowl, we enjoyed digging into the two kinds of chewy dango balls, sweet azuki (red) beans, pink taro jam, green tea jelly, mango bits and a generous swirl of green tea ice cream. A very colorful sweet dessert that I will definitely go back to Kozui for.

The interior is predominantly in lime green which reminds me of my favorite Sanrio character, Kerokerokeroppi. :) I also noticed a lot of students hanging out as they surf the net with their laptops. Hmm.. it somehow has the feel of Starbucks Coffee minus the smell of roasted coffee beans and the constant whirling sound of the blenders. I truly hope Kozui will soon expand and find its way to the Ortigas area and perhaps down South. For now, we look forward to taking that quick drive to Tomas Morato for our green tea fix.

Kozui Green Tea is located at 258-B Tomas Moato Ave., Quezon City. You may call them at 413-2705.

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