Hamaru which means "to get addicted to" or "to go crazy over something" in Japanese is a hidden 2-floor 60-seater restaurant tucked inside the newest food park along Visayas Ave, The Food Hive. Hamaru Yakitori & Sushi is a modern Izakaya offering a modern take on Japanese cuisine. The restaurant was born out of the owners' need for a place which serves great food and drinks accompanied with superb ambiance.
With this, they tapped Chef Niño Laus of Ninyo Fusion who is known for his aesthetic freedom and creative twists he applies to every dish he works on to whip up Hamaru's unique must-tries.
Take a bite onto their mouthwatering dishes crafted to perfection by Chef Niño Laus that will surely put your senses into psychedelic delight. Here are 8 must-tries at the newest Izakaya along Visayas Avenue:
1. Agemono + Motoyaki
Agemonos are kinds of deep-fried Japanese cuisine which can serve as appetizers while you're waiting for your mains. Start with the Black Oyster Tempura (P200) which are deep fried oysters in squid ink tempura batter with oyster cream for dipping. An old recipe from Chef Laus' book, Niño's Chicken Poppers (P155) is a serving of chicken thigh chunks tossed in a sweet sauce topped with a generous amount of bonito flakes.
I've noticed that people's faces light up with excitement once the Black Sakura (P195) is served on the table. It is a crowd favorite and we definitely agree! It is everyone's favorite chicharon bulaklak marinated in squid ink for 12 hours served on a bed of uni-oyster foam which serves as the vinegar for dipping. I know the last dish could be a little overwhelming but I'm sure you still have space for some Oyster Motoyaki (P195) as it is also a great find on the menu. It is a serving of baked oyster topped with a chili-garlic mayonnaise sauce and cauliflower puree.
2. Salmon Chahan
Is it really an Asian restaurant if you don't get a bowl of rice to pair with your food? The Salmon Chahan (P130) has shredded salmon tossed in Japanese fried rice completed with aligue (crab fat) bits.
3. Yakitori + Kushiyaki
There are so many items for the Yakitori (grilled chicken skewers) and Kushiyaki (grilled meat and vegetable skewers) you can choose from. One of which is the Tsukene Shiso (P120), chicken meatballs packed with spices topped with crumbs of fried chicken skin and must be dipped on the egg yolk and truffle oil combo. There's also the Negima (P65) which are chicken thighs with kimchi scallions and the Butabara (P90), skewered pork belly drizzled with sweet potato puree. Other skewered items on the menu are Wagyu Short Ribs, Asupara Maki (asparagus + bacon), Hotate (Japanese scallops + uni) and so much more.
4. Japanese Rolls
Hamaru also has Japanese Rolls which they are proud of. The Ryujin "Dragon God of the Sea" Roll (P480) has all the goodness you'll want on your plate! It has tiger prawn, salmon, tuna and avocado all rolled in. Their signature Hamaru Soft Shell Crab Roll (P430) is also a can't-miss if you love your classic California Maki as it is their own version. It has deep fried soft shell crab tucked in with aligue mayo to complete the dish.
They do not have an extensive dessert menu but they sure do have something interesting to end your meal like their Goma Panna Cotta (P150) which is a golden sesame panna cotta topped with fresh mango coulis. This particular dessert is also available in black sesame! They also have an Apple Yuzu Sorbet and a Tofu Cheesecake topped with strawberry coulis.
A traditional Japanese liqueur made from ume fruit, this drink is well known and loved for its relaxing effect and balance of sweetness and tartness extracted from the fruit. It is a perfect option as an aperitif or dessert wine. Order the Choy Umeshu (P100/30ml) that's extremely refreshing and is served on the rocks.
7. Refreshing Drinks
What's an Izakaya without any highballs? A Japanese Highball is a mixture of Japanese Whisky, ice and soda water which gives off a whole new taste experience for whisky. Order the Honey + Lime (P240) if you want something light and refreshing. There's also the Shochu which is a Japanese traditional hard liqueur distilled spirit made from grains and vegetables. One of their must-tries is the Yakult + Lychee (P170) combination. There are other flavors such as Green Apple, Cherry, Peach, Ginger and Orange.
If you want something unusual but works, the Matcha + Nigori (P220) has a nigorizake base which is produced from rice. Its name translates to cloudy because of its appearance and has a grainy texture. At Hamaru, they mix in Matcha which produces a slightly bitter and milky flavor.
At Hamaru , they have different kinds of sake so it's just fitting that they have a Sake Flight (P650/30ml each) where you can have a taste of Hakushika Junmai Daiginjo, Gekkeikan Nigoi Sake, Hakushika Ginjo Namachozo, Hakushika Yoshino Taru Sake and Ggekkeikan Kirei Peach. Definitely a good introduction to your sake if you're a beginner so you would know which ones you actually like.
8. Sake Bomb
Sake Bomb is a crazy fun alcoholic drink for sake and beer lovers! Thump the table with your fists until the shot of sake drops into your glass. Definitely, a fun way to end an excellent meal at Hamaru with your barkada!
Hamaru Yakitori & Sushi is located at 80 Visayas Avenue, Brgy. Vasra, Diliman, Quezon City. They're open daily from 11am to 12mn. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Instagram for exclusive updates!