Friday, July 28, 2017

This Restaurant in a Mazda Dealership Serves the Best Japanese Food in Town


“I used to remember that there was no good place to eat here,” recalls Bermaz Auto Philippines President and CEO Steven Tan. “Chino Roces Avenue Extension was a place more commonly associated with car dealerships, offices, and warehouses.”

The top man at the country’s distributor of Mazda vehicles in the country was right. Except for a spattering of fast food places here and there, diners had to go either to the Makati CBD or BGC to get their fine dining fix. That’s why Mazda Makati came up with a unique concept for its new showroom.

Completed and inaugurated in 2016, Mazda Makati is unique in that its showroom is, quite literally, above the rest. Owned and operated by Auto Zoom Zoom, Inc., the main area of the “SKYLOUNGE” (Mazda’s term for their showroom’s brand retail identity) is located on the second floor.


“Chino Roces has such busy vehicle traffic that people would likely pass by the showroom not noticing the vehicle display,” says Auto Zoom Zoom President Max Borromeo. “That’s why we thought of putting the main showroom on the second floor so that even from a distance, people will be drawn to the showroom. This is even true at night, when we keep the lights on. It visually draws people to Mazda Makati.”

Apart from making the 2,233-square meter showroom standout, this unique layout also offered an opportunity for Mazda Makati to look for a suitable partner to draw customers in. That novel way turned out to be Kazunori.


Owned and managed by Elbert Cuenca, the seasoned restaurateur behind Mendokoro and Yushoken (and of course, Elbert’s Steak Room), Kazunori is unique in two ways. First, it’s three restaurants in one: a brightly-lit café in front, an intimate omakase room in the middle, and a cozy izakaya at the back. And second, there’s always a Mazda in full view either as you enter the restaurant (the main entrance of the showroom also serves as the restaurant’s entrance) or dine at the seating area. In fact, Mazda Makati has taken full advantages of this, extending its showroom hours up to 10:30 PM.

With no pretensions of being a food critic, Kazunori is one of the best, if not the best Japanese restaurant in Metro Manila. Kazunori is very typical of Mr. Cuenca’s restaurants—the meticulous attention to detail to the high quality of the offerings. The menu here doesn’t look fancy; it’s all comfort food: donburis, soba, gyoza, beef curry, tempura. Yet, they’re all elevated in a way that makes them a truly enriching experience.

It’s a perfect match therefore to what Mazda is striving to do with their cars. Whether it’s through KODO, Skyactiv, Jinba-Ittai, or Yojin-3, Mazda is elevating the car ownership experience to a new level. Its cars may have the same basic mechanical ingredients from any other car brand out there, but they build cars that create an unmistakable bond. In fact, Mazda has recently coined a term for it: Kizuna.


Kazunori Restaurant
G/F Mazda Makati
2301 Chino Roces Avenue Extension
Lunch Hours: 11:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Dinner Hours: 6:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Telephone 63 2 989 3152 

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