Everyone loves Japanese food—we all know that. The dilemma lies, however, in finding a really good place in your area. During my first years of working in Manila, I was mostly assigned to Quezon City. I already loved Japanese food back then but I struggled in finding places that I could hang out in but at the same time wouldn’t break the bank. Japanese food can be pricey, but if you look in the right places, you might just find a gem you’ll be going back to over and over again.
If you’re into hide and seek, you’ll love looking for this hidden izakaya (a Japanese bar) along Visayas Avenue. The place isn’t easily visible if you’re looking from the road—but once you enter the outskirts of the address, you’ll eventually be stunned and realize you’re in the right place.
Hamaru is the brainchild of owners Tadeo Chua and Theresa Larroza after they realized it was becoming tedious looking for a place that offers good food, drinks, and ambiance. Once you set foot in the restaurant, you’ll realize how they got these three factors down to pat. Hamaru translates to “go crazy over” and once you see the food, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Hamaru combines traditional Japanese food with inconspicuous ingredients you’d surprisingly never thought would work well together. Take, for instance, oyster and cauliflower puree. I’m pretty sure I haven’t tried this at any other restaurant but Hamaru, and like you, I was a bit skeptical in the beginning. But all that was erased as I devoured one oyster after the other. The fusion of ingredients is brilliant and will indeed make you go crazy over wanting to try them again and again.
Hamaru Soft Shell Crab Roll – P430
Japanese HighBall – P240
And if you think Hamaru’s all just good for the food, wait until you try their drinks. Their concoctions were combinations of sake—Japanese whiskey merged with modern alcohol art fares. And I know a lot of you guys are matcha lovers so I’m pretty sure you’ll be thrilled to try Matcha Beer!
I thoroughly enjoyed the deep taste of each alcoholic beverage, best taken with one of their amazing entrees, Black Sakura—which is chicharon bulaklak basked in squid ink and uni-oyster sauce! Ah, it couldn’t get any better than that! We probably spent around four hours just eating, drinking, and having fun.
Oyster Motoyaki – P195.00
Matcha Beer _ p240.00
Aside from their unique entrees, we couldn’t let the day pass up without trying their yakitori. They are a yakitori place, after all. We were served with two boards of yakitori with five pieces of sticks on each. Later on we found out that the other board contains all the parts of the chicken’s white meat, while the order board had red meat. Each stick piece had a different sauce to it and boy was it good! It’s the perfect beer match, I must admit. We kind of ended up consuming the yakitori faster than we did the beer—it was that good.
Corn Croquettes – P155.00
Black Sakura – P195.00
Rising Sun – P240.00
So, if you’re up for a little hide and seek and would love to share a cocktail (or two or three or aplenty), head on over to 80 Visayas Avenue, Tandang Sora, Quezon City and start looking for Hamaru Yakitori and Sushi! Make sure you give yourself a lead time of about four hours because I assure you that’s the minimum you’ll be spending! Have fun!
Hamaru Yakitori & Sushi
80 Visayas Avenue, Tandang Sora, Quezon City
(02) 246-9069 ext : 176