Pieces Of A Wunderkind's Mind

Snippets of Life, Love, Food, Travels, Discoveries, and Whatnot

Joys of Japanese

on February 7, 2010

For two consecutive weeks, the chosen venue for our Saturday night food-ventures has been BF Homes in Parañaque, Aguirre Street in particular. Rows of restaurants have flourished along Aguirre Street making it a budding sanctuary for foodies. We usually drive past this upscale Japanese joint right before the stoplight on Elizalde Street. I have always been a sucker for Japanese cuisine and naturally, the place piqued my curiosity. The restaurant is called Hanakazu and is regularly packed with Japaneses nationals, families from around the village and/or the Alabang area, and gourmands like us.

Hanakazu is run and owned by an experienced Japanese chef  named Hiroaki Otsuka. He used to be the chef of Tsukiji in Pasay Road. Chef Otsuka has been preparing and cooking Japanese cuisine for 26 years and for that duration of practice, one can be sure of the quality the food he prepares. [Besides the fact that gets fresh ingredients from Japan every week.] He is quite known for his menu creativity that clients can expect to find new concoctions of the conventional Japanese dishes.

As soon as we stepped into the restaurant, we noticed a minimalist but cozy ambiance. The staff, with their ready smiles, greeted us with warm welcome and led us to this private dining area. It was right beside a tatami room. [Oh yes, they have one!] Too bad, the tatami room was reserved.

They offer a wide array of dishes — an assortment of traditional & unique Japanese fare. Their menu, loaded with photos, made choosing a breeze. After browsing through the menu, we ended up with:

The miso soup is just like any other; nothing special. I consider it pricey, though. It costs P90 for a puny bowl. We ordered it anyway just to have something to warm up our bellies before we eat.

The agedashi tofu was a great choice. It is a serving of deep-fried tofu cubes and eggplant slices served in a hot tentsuyu broth and topped with chopped negi and bits of gari [pickled ginger]. The tofu cubes were exactly the way I wanted them — the coating, lightly breaded and fried to a crisp while perfectly soft on the inside. The broth was a play of sweet and salty that complimented the blandness of the tofu & eggplant slices. Yummy! But again, too scanty a portion for P170.

The ebi ten maki was the pièce de résistance of the whole meal. It’s a maki roll with tempura made with Mr. Otsuka’s special sauce. It has this distinct crunch and a wonderful unique flavor that is quite difficult to stack up against. [N.B.: Freshly grated wasabi is served with all the sushi/sashimi in this restaurant.] I did not mind paying P280 for a small platter of this.

We got 6 pieces of ebi tempura at P450. [If you noticed, we love shrimps!] The tempura was good but we have tasted better ones in Little Tokyo. Francis found the dipping sauce too overpowering. Maybe it had too much grated daikon [a type of raddish] in it. We finished it nonetheless.

We ordered beef yakimeshi but were given the plain yakimeshi by mistake. We decided to take it anyway instead of our original [beef yakimeshi] plan upon seeing that an order of the fried rice is equivalent to only a cup [at P180]. The beef yakimeshi, on the other hand, is priced at P310/serving.

For dessert, nothing beats Japanese ice cream so we settled for two orders of Meiji Matcha ice cream. We were quite surprised to learn that they offer the brand here. We used to drive all the way to Pasong Tamo [Little Tokyo] for these pieces of heaven. Hankazu sells them for a much higher price at P100/cup. Matcha is matcha regardless of the cost. We finished each of our ice cream till the last drop/bit/trickle.

Overall, we think that Hanakazu charges a bit too high given the quantity of the dishes they serve. Quality, on the other hand, is unquestionable. Hanakazu gives authentic, undeniably good Japanese food paired with gracious, personalized service from the staff and Chef Otsuka himself.

HANAKAZU Japanese Restaurant

108 Aguirre Ave.

BF Homes, Paranaque City

Tel. Nos. (632) 850.2512 / 622.0536

Mobile No. (0917) 886.7276



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