"As you walk and eat and travel, be where you are. Otherwise you will miss most of your life." -BUDDHA

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


I am so honored to be part of the first-ever OpenRice Philippine's Eat's A Date: Hotel Edition! I have been a loyal OpenRicer since May 2011 and this is just becoming so exciting.  Along with food enthusiasts whom I've met several times already from various events, we went at the Trader's Hotel armed with excitement and confidence that we will not just critic the Japanese dishes to be served in an honest and transparent way but the whole dining experience. I am not here to impress but to express about that experience. As a matter of fact, that day was far more different from the events we've been to as organized by OpenRice, much more intimate and lucrative as well. Ms. Princes Marie France Anderle, Communications Manager of the said hotel was the one who hosted the event for us. Mr. Gordon Aeria, General Manager of Traders Hotel Manila and Masahiro Mizumoto, Japanese Executive Chef were there too to exchange some pleasantries and briefly joined us too. That was incredible. 

Here's what I initially saw upon entering the restaurant and sake bar - the beautiful
display of cherry blossom tree and the nice deal for a promo. Kitsho has an on-going
All You Can Eat Mixed Tempura called Unending Tempura for a price of PhP588++ 
per person. Something to look forward too. Hmmmm...

Pink lanterns and dimly-lit facade greeted me. As expected the restaurant is spacious and well-air conditioned. A mix of wooden furnishings and neutral colors are evident in every corner. However, at the far end of the dining area near where the production area is, are pinkish purple comfy train seating which add a little color and life to the entire ambiance.  Here's how Kitsho's dining space looks like...

Bar station. You might want to enjoy a bottle of nihonshu in here if you are in solitary mode. On the other hand just across this mini bar are function rooms you can avail in case of special event with your better half or even group gatherings. For a change you might want to celebrate things in a Japanese way.

From the looks of it alone it is very modern. How about the cuisine itself? Is it really authentic Japanese fare? Let's check it out ^_^ 

Hospitable and respectful staffs that morning. Excellent service. I must say they are well-trained. 
Product knowledge was in place so were grooming and customer service.

California Maki (PhP 180++) 
Spicy Tuna Maki PhP (280++)
When these famous Japanese starters were served my stomach easily give in. These two types of sushi roll are always present in every Japanese meal. Without these two it may feel something is missing or lacking on the table. California Maki also known as California Roll is composed  of mango, crabstick and cucumber wrapped in sushi rice and flying fish roe that are made inside-out. However, the Spicy Tuna Maki or Spicy Tuna Roll  may not be the best option for me as more and more starters were being served producing high traffic of food on our long table. It is as if I am baffled with the huge servings and varied choices in less than 15 minutes since we sat and enjoyed our meals together. I noticed that the tuna maki was not covered with nori wrapper which I highly expected to be dressed with very thin seaweed sheets. Even the california maki has no black sesame seeds at all..not a piece. I was wondering why until I realized that it is Kitsho's way of preparing rolls. Those little things that I have noticed were rather optional.

Uni Tempura (PhP 320++)
I believe this is the best tempura I've ever tasted in my life. This I highly recommended though a bit unappealing at first sight.  It is obviously deep fried using high quality sea urchin and those green formation are nori wrappers, hence, these pockets were nori-wrapped as well before subjecting to heat. Crispy, oozing with so much flavor and definitely a must-order when you plan of getting at Kitsho. You must love it. Honestly I got more than 3 servings of this tempura and I am missing it now.

Salmon Tartaryaki (PhP 480++)
The name of this dish was not mispelled...not at all. Because it also means sauteed salmon with tartar sauce. If there is a specific kind of fish that I can live to eat all-year round on a daily basis, it is salmon. The beauty of salmon when served as a dish is its salty taste quality. It is flavorful already because it came from both salt and fresh bodies of water. I like its color ranging from yellowish to pinkish. Seeing one even if it uncooked makes me crave big time. I have one particular and budget-friendly dining hub where I buy sinigang na salmon regularly. This is to show you my big love for this breed of fish. 

Green Mango Shake and Pineapple Shake
The former has always been my choice. These drinks are perfect for summer. Just enough to beat the 
heat that morning especially outside the hotel. Good thing that the restaurant has good ventilating system that drinking any of these smoothie made me chill a little more.

Take Nigiri Sushi (PhP 850++) 
I am not a big fan of assorted sushi but I am capable of eating them in their expected raw state provided that they were thoroughly produced before serving. It is but proper to know that restaurants serving these kind of food has strict compliance with personal hygiene and food safety as they are the most critical points to remember in food industry. I am so proud to tell you guys that Kitsho restaurant has an ultimate goal not  just of serving best authentic Japanese dishes but gold standard practices in preparation as well.( I will have a separate post on this so that my review won't seem lengthy to read). This restaurant has spotlessly clean sushi bar and I am so impressed. Who would risk eating in a restaurant with secluded and  messy sushi bar? No one right?!

Sashimi Moriawase (PhP 1,100++)
Everybody konws that assorted sashimi is a Japanese delicacy. They are known for these thinly sliced raw meat pieces which usually are very fresh fish slices. Kitsho sourced these fishes from abroad to achieve the best quality so as not to compromise guest's high expectation of the best seller among the menu list. Always perfect with tangy taste of lemon and spiciness of wasabi. If seasoned well it is easily appreciated.

Hotaru Ika (PhP 280++)
Have you seen those tentacles protruding? You are right, this dish is made with steamed squid and the sauce covering these baby squids was miso vinegar sauce. Perfectly done platting and with sense of fashion perfect for food. Full flavor in just a bite. Made even more toothsome with the tangy, slightly acidic yet sweetly addicting dressing. Absolutely tasty that I was searching for a japanese rice already.

Chawanmushi (PhP 250++)
Egg is the basic ingredient followed by seafood pieces. As you can see the egg custard looks really delish which unlike to other custards this one was served as more of an appetizer. High protein dish really. It was salty at first due to the seafood ingredients that remind me of balut as I savor every spoonful, only that this steamed dish is less of a hassle in terms of eating it as is. Method of cooking was kinda intricate as steaming this type of dish is relevant to the result of the final product. The Japanese parsley on top of it adds color and made it more appealing to the eyes of the one who'll dare eat it. 

Kaibashira Butter Shoyuyaki Uni Sauce (PhP 480++ )
One of the signature dishes that I daresay you should not miss. It is a dish composed of sauteed Japanese scallop with uni sauce. The scallops made this dish a hefty one most especially in taste and presentation. Portion may be a little off compared to its price but this is a specialty that will leave you asking for more. Scallops were juicy and every bite was inviting. The uni sauce, however, is known to be a sauce made from an edible part of sea urchin which I never imagined to be incredibly tasty. Another discovery wonderfully explored by my palate.With raw materials imported from other land making this place a credible authentic Japanese eating place.

Buta Kakuni (PhP 350++) 
Oh! When this was served and tried it all by myself I felt the need for steamed buns. This is so perfect for those moist soft white buns. How I wish they served it in such a way that they are like kakuni buns. I am missing it badly even as of typing this food review. Japanese braised pork belly is two thumbs up. Perfect too with steamed rice.  

Chef  Masahiro Mizumoto teaching Khaezel on how to eat like a Japanese foodie ^_^ Holding a dobin teapot containing Japanese seafood broth, he professionally demonstrated to the group  how to properly and productively appreciate the traditional soup cooked in hours. Perfectly timed because this was served to us as we draw closer to the dessert time. A sense of relief was achieved as we were comforted by the steaming hot clarified broth. Best alternative for tea ever!

Dobin Mushi
You cannot just find relief and comfort from the soup's temperature and soothing effect, but rather another round of fullness as this soup is made with shrimp, chicken and matsutake mushroom. Yet another batch to make your stomach paunch a little more. Ooops never to forget the fresh squeeze of lemon to add more flavor making it unique in taste and experience too. This one is so unforgettable that I can taste it up until now. A form of relief and cleansing all at the same time.

Matcha Green Tea (PhP 150++)

Grilled Banana with Vanilla and Kuromitsu (PhP 150++)
Now time for dessert. We were actually given two options to choose from and I've chosen the ice cream Matcha Green Tea. The reason why was because I bet my stomach can't handle another dense food at that time. Fully-loaded Japanese dishes were enough to more than satisfy my dining experience. It was indeed world-class.  It was a half-half decision among the group thus, 50% wanted to expereince the green tea ice cream while the other half wanted to have the grilled banana ala mode. I never get to taste the later but it seemed everybody was enjoying every scoop of their dessert spoon. Their eyes and lips can tell how lip smacking it had been.  Match aGreen Tea Ice Cream, on the other hand, is a home-made ice cream made locally. It was exact what you would want your authentic green tea should be. Hope they can formulate a smoothie variant for this. That would be awesome.  

Kitsho means HAPPINESS in Niponggo. And that is how I would like to describe my over-all experience of this renowned Kitsho Restaurant and Sake Bar. Worth-visiting and pegged as one of the most anticipating hotel restaurants in the Philippines. Dining here may be pricey but you won't be shortchanged in terms of excellent food and restaurant's condition.

*Effective February 4, 2012 the new operating hours of Kitsho Japanese Restaurant and Sake Bar are  the following:  
Sunday to Friday
Lunch: 11:30 AM to 3PM
Dinner: 6PM to 11PM

Dinner: 6PM to 11PM

Traders Hotel, Manila
3001 Roxas Blvd
Pasay City 1305, Metro Manila
(02) 523-7011 loc. 2918
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