Last March 29 and 30 marked another significant day of our lives as a family. We spent our family bonding in Dusit Thani Manila hotel, located at Ayala Center, the central business district of Makati City here in the Philippines. It was also sort of a celebration of my high school graduation since I will be soon graduating in just a few days.
We checked in at around 1:30 in the afternoon of March 29th for an overnight stay that my father calls a family staycation. Our stay in the said hotel was worth reminiscing because we got to spend time at a luxurious hotel room filled with amenities fitting for VIPs, had dinner at the Benjarong Royal Thai Cuisine Restaurant, enjoyed a buffet breakfast the following morning at the Basix Restaurant, and had our lunch at the Umu Japanese Restaurant of the hotel.
I volunteered to write about our dining experience at the Umu Japanese Restaurant because I really enjoyed the dishes there, and since I love Japanese culture particularly the anime, I am more than willing to write about it. So here goes the story about our fabulous Japanese feast.
Upon entering the said restaurant, we were more than amazed about everything. The ambience was more than enough to make us feel like we were in Japan. Some of the waitresses were clad in a magnificent traditional Japanese dress called Kimono. As we were brought to our table, we saw a table set on a Tatami mat on the floor in an elevated wooden cottage.
Of course, we took time for photo ops to make this moment part of our memories.
My brothers and I were all eager to order, yet it seems my father did most of the ordering since we were too overwhelmed withe the Japanese names even though there was a description opposite the intimidating foreign names.
Afterwards, a small dish from the chef was presented to us while they were preparing the food. Each of us had a small bowl with two bite-sized salmon balls drizzled with a tasty sauce. At first we wondered what they were made of, but when we tasted it, it definitely tasted like fish. It was very delicious but it wasn’t even a starter dish. It was already a sumptuous meal, for one made to fill in for cooking time.
There was a dish called Philippine Maki, so called for its center filled with mango and crab, which are found in the Philippines. Eight appetizing rolls were served on a long, thin rectangular plate with a few garnishing. Each roll was great as expected.
Then the Udon noodles were served. The noodles were gorgeously thick and the soup base was delicious as well. The bowl was served along with tempura (crunchy, deep-fried breaded prawns), which was worth seconds, added with deep-fried, breaded potatoes and “okra”.
Unagi Maki Tamago, a pan-fried fresh Japanese omelette stuffed with eel, is surprisingly one of the best meals. The name may sound weird, but it was actually delicious and was considered the best for most of us. Its flavor was like the softest and most sumptuous, most eggy yet still light and distinct. It was one of the dishes we would definitely come back for more if given the opportunity to dine in again at Umu.
Dobin mushi, a warm soup comprising of lapu-lapu, prawns and mushrooms, is served in a small kettle, which had a handy lid with another purpose, that is, as a soup container or sipping cup you can use to sip the soup. It is served with one piece of calamansi. The taste was pleasing to the taste buds and refreshingly soothing as it goes flowing in your throat. With the many ingredients inside the kettle, it's quite filling already.
A recommended meal was the Kani Sarada, which indeed earned its recommendation, was flavorful, vegetable-ornamented green rolls made up of crab stick with mixed vegetables akin to a salad. It was like a Japanese version of a salad.
My father said he already had it a few days ago when he first visited the hotel so he wanted us to try it for ourselves and be pleased as well with its taste. It was also very healthy for us since most of the ingredients are veggies.
The Gindara Teriyaki, also known as cod fish, sablefish or escolar, in teriyaki sauce was also voted a unanimous favorite of all. We Filipinos agree to like almost everything sweet and salty, and the Gindara dish was a bit of both.
The Wafu Steak is US Rib Eye (Black Angus) in wafu steak sauce is another highly recommended dish by the restaurant. I was actually surprised I will find steak in a Japanese restaurant. The taste was superb enough to warrant an applause from us.
My brothers said they liked the Mochi ice cream better than the Macha ice cream mainly because the former
had a sweet cherry on top.
The macha ice cream was second in our list of favorites though its the highly recommended dessert by the restaurant. I guess we still go for the sweeter treats.
The menu actually mentions that it should have been pineapple instead of the green melon but I guess they probably ran out of pineapples that day. Since we also regularly eat fruits at home so having these fruits were not unusual.
Happily we met with Ms. April Carbonell, the restaurant manager at Umu Japanese restaurant, and thanked her for having us.
Lots of thank you from our family who enjoyed every meal served at the restaurant.
Arigatou gozaimashita Umu Japanese Restaurant for this unforgettable experience.
Contributed by Hannah Krystelle Q. Del Rosario