It’s always a pleasure finding new restaurants. I used to actively look for new places and then let friends and family know how it was (it’s probably one of the reasons why I got this writing gig in the first place). And a few weeks ago, I saw a banner announcing this new Japanese restaurant. I positively had to go and check it out. I was like a moth to the flame.
Marufuku Japanese Restaurant opened its doors to the public only recently (August 2012) and is quickly earning a reputation for its good and authentic Japanese cuisine. It’s located in the heart of the Ortigas district, just a short walk from several hotels and office buildings. The street address officially says San Miguel Avenue, but the entrance is at the back of the building on Amethyst Road.
From the moment I walked towards the front door I knew this was going to be a different experience. The entrance itself looks like it was imported from Japan. It resembles a traditional Japanese sliding door...actually, it is a sliding door! Inside the restaurant you can see the meticulous work that has been done. Much of the interior design is aimed at authenticity and comfort to make sure that the diner has the most authentic Japanese dining experience as possible. I was hoping that this meticulosity in design and attention to detail also translated into the food.
Interior of Marufuku as seen from the entrance.
Marufuku Japanese Restaurant wanted everything to be as genuine as possible, from the interior look, to its kitchen equipment, cooking method, and especially its food. The latter part is expertly accomplished with the help of their Japanese chef (Chef Moto) and his exquisite menu of Japanese delicacies.
Meticulous interior design provides that special dining feeling.
While I was taking in the interior design of the restaurant, taking snapshots here and there, I noticed that they also had a bar area at the right side of the entrance. Upon seeing the imported rice wine, I realized that this would be a great place to unwind after a full load at the office. I can imagine just sitting there and munching on a maki roll and some tempura, while drinking Sake with friends.
Care for some Sake?
Daydreaming put aside, the first dish to be served was a salad. Mind you, when I think of salad, I’m thinking lettuce and some other greens. But this salad was special. The Hotate Gyutan Salad (P250) is made out of scallop, beef tongue, lettuce, other greens, and special dressing. The serving is large enough to be considered a meal on its own and rightly so.
Hotate Gyutan Salad
Beef tongue and scallops
While eating the salad I saw that they were firing up the grill. I quickly grabbed my camera to get some shots of it. The robata is a traditional Japanese grill that uses charcoal. The use of the charcoal undeniably adds a certain taste to the food that you can’t find at other places.
Firing up the grill
Grilling, Japanese style
While the grill was firing up, another dish was delivered to the table. The Kaki Motoyaki (P240 for 2 pieces) is an oyster specially imported for our taste buds. This delicious oyster is imported from Hiroshima, Japan, which from what I’ve read has a long history of cultivating oysters stretching back over four hundred years. Unlike local oysters, this one is firm and I didn’t find it slimy at all. This dish is grilled with miso and is served on a traditional spoon placed on a bed of sea salt. The sea salt is purely decor, so don’t eat it with the oyster. If you love oysters then this is a must try, but I would say it’s worth a try even if you don’t like oysters.
Fresh Japanese Oyster
While still munching on the salad (sorry, I’m a very slow eater), another dish was brought to the table. This time it was a platter of meat, fresh off the robata. This platter had the following: Gyutan Shio (P80), Wagyu beef tongue (Cow tongue), Gyuniku Enokimaki (P90), made out of Enoki mushrooms wrapped in thinly sliced beef, Butabara Shio (P70), pork belly, and Gyuniku Asparamaki (P80), which is asparagus wrapped in thinly sliced beef. My personal favorites out of this bunch were the Gyuniku Enokimaki and Gyuniku Asparamaki. I have an on and off love relationship with mushrooms and asparagus and I simply adore the taste of them.
Fresh off the grill
Now, the next dish that was delivered to the table was quite a bit of a shocker. I couldn’t quite tell what they were bringing to the table except that I knew that it was big and tasty looking. This was one of my favorites for the day because of how it was presented and how it tasted. The Marufuku Roll (P550) is a big Futomaki made out of eel, shrimp, and crab meat. This will feed two people because of its size. Each piece was so large that I had to eat it in parts. And with my limited chopstick skills, it was quite the challenge.
Nice to look at, but better to be eaten
The Japanese are also very well known for their raw seafood dishes, and Marufuku has a very good selection of Sashimi. Brought to the table was a dish made out of three different seafoods: Maguro (P290), this is tuna, Oiji (P280), horse mackerel, Ika (P230), squid. I don’t eat a lot of uncooked food (especially those that look back at me) so before I took my chopsticks to the tuna I had to cover Mr. Fish’s eyes. Then I sent it swimming in my wasabi-soy sauce mixture.
Tuna, horse mackerel, and squid
The next dish was the Wafu Steak (P780). This is made out of Wagyu Rib Eye in special steak sauce. If you’re Japanese is as bad as mine, Wagyu literally means cow. Along with the Wafu Steak came the Cha-Han (P150), which is traditional Japanese fried rice. Separately, each dish was tasty; but put them together, you have a meal.
Japanese fried rice
It took me quite some time to finish the food that was brought out. I even had some for take-out afterwards. But I saved some room for dessert. There’s always room for dessert and I remembered something my english teacher said before: “Why do you spell dessert with two S's? Because you can’t have just one dessert!” That was the case with the Red Bean Ice Cream (P150). It’s Marufuku’s house ice cream made out of red beans and vanilla.
Red Bean Ice Cream
Red beans and vanilla ice cream
What I've had is just a portion of what Marufuku Japanese Restaurant has to offer. They have other dishes such as the traditional rice bowls and noodles, and plenty more. They are also continuously refining their menu for perfection the Marufuku way. Like a saying goes, leave no man behind, so I say with food: leave no food behind. I will be back for some more Marufuku Rolls, and I will have to try out their version of the Gyudon!