Or, it could be described as the restaurant that nags too much. Kushikatsu Daruma is a new restaurant opened on the 3rd floor of Uptown Mall, at 36th Street corner 9th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.

It has signs after signs warning people not to “double dip”, and videos on walls that say the same thing.

What is the big deal about double-dipping? We see none. In fact, it is such a distraction that we think the company should be well advised to get rid of it.

The “dip” in question is a plum-flavored sweet and savory sauce that the restaurant provides to each table of customers. The restaurant’s signature dishes are breadcrumb coated meat or vegetables deep fried in oil and served in sticks. You are supposed to dip your stick with food into the sauce to enjoy the full flavor of its cooking.┬á

Granted, the sauce is quite tasty. But the thing is, they are going to throw away the sauce after you use anyway, so if you dine with your family, why we cannot double or triple dip? We do not want to make a scene, so we just asked for separate bowls of the sauce, and dipped to our hearts’ content.

Now that issue is out of the way, let us look at the food.

Their fried food has good quality. The ingredients used are fresh and high quality. Their signature dish, kushikatsu, is made of beef steak, and it was very tender and flavorful.

It has good consistency. All sticks are well coated and fried evenly.

The price is attractive. They sell by the sticks, so you can order one stick for each item. Many sticks are P39 each (crab stick, squash, potato, cherry tomato, siomai etc.), mainly vegetables, then it goes up to P59 for fancier dishes such as their signature stick of beef kushikatsu, prawn, tuna, sausage, and finally, the premium sticks such as Japanese oyster (P129), soft shell crab (P129), scallop (P149) and duck liver (P199).

Some of the side dishes are interesting, like the corn with butter and bonito flakes P85.

All tables have multiple power outlets, so you are welcomed to charge your gadgets and hang around their shop for a long time.

All food has the same coating, and after a while, they all taste similar. Worse, they look so alike on the outside that we could not tell one stick from another. Or, you could make this into a game. The mystery stick, any one? No? we don’t think so, either.

Some dishes we think actually should taste better without the bread coating, and should be grilled or steamed. But they do not have alternative cooking methods to offer.

While soft drinks and local beers are not too pricey (regular coke is P55, San Mig light is P65), the other drinks are kind of expensive. Flavored drinks, without information on alcohol contents, called Chu-Hai, costs P250 and up per glass.

Overall, we think it is an ok place to have a drink and snacks once in a while, since oily food goes well with alcohol, especially if you feel like trying something new with friends. Its interior design also creates an ambience of a street corner drinks place. It uses newspaper to wrap the columns inside the restaurant, and corrugated metal sheets to decorate the walls and ceiling.

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