Kitsho: Restaurant and Sake Bar at Traders Hotel Manila

Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Being a self-proclaimed foodie, I pride myself on having an open mind and a curious palate ready to take on new flavors from a wide array of international cuisines. However, as much as I want to hide my inclinations, I can't help but feel giddy whenever I'm in Japanese restaurants. Even as a kid, I had always been partial to Japanese cuisine. And after a sumptuous lunch at Kitsho, Trader Hotel Manila's Japanese restaurant and sake bar, I can no longer deny that I am deeply in love with the simple yet bold flavors of artful authentic Japanese masterpieces.

Kitsho Restaurant Traders Hotel Manila Kitsho Cushion Seats

Conveniently situated in Trader Hotel Manila's ground floor, Kitsho is dressed with a contemporary zen-inspired interior exuding a calm and well-balanced atmosphere by drenching the place with blacks, creams and reds, coupled with soothing traditional Japanese instrumental music, and a slightly dim ambient lighting.

Kitsho Dining Area Kitsho Sake Bar

Apart from its spacious dining area which can accommodate 92 people, Kitsho also has 4 private rooms ideal for intimate gatherings or even special meetings. And being a sake bar, it also boasts of having a cozy bar counter which features an extensive list ranging from light-bodied to full-bodied sakes.

Kitsho Sushi Chef Kitsho Fresh Sushi Ingredients

Since I'm not really a drinker, the sake bar was not the highlight for me. It was the fresh seafood on the sushi counter which made my heart jump with joy. Led by Japanese Executive Chef Masahiro Mizumoto, Kitsho's sushi counter features only the freshest ingredients even flown in from Japan. With his team of great chefs, one of whom I saw prepping a beautiful serving of assorted sushi, I just can't help but feel the excited butterflies in my stomach.

Sashimi Moriawase P1100

After seeing a selection of fresh seafood on the sushi counter, it was time to finally have them in our Sashimi Moriawase (P1,100). Of course not every seafood was served on our sashimi platter, but with the glorious cuts of fresh shake (salmon), maguro (tuna), ika (cuttlefish) and uni (sea urchin), I surprisingly sat so quietly to enjoy every bit of these prized seafood slices. Literally, it was a foodgasmic experience!

Take Nigiri Sushi P850

Though not as foodgasmic as the sashimi platter, the Take Nigiri Sushi (P850) which had ikura (salmon roe), uni, ebi (shrimp), anago (sea eel), hotate (scallop), kohada (spotted sardine), tai (red snapper), shake and maguro nigiri sushi, as well as some California and maguro maki, was also sensational. Each piece was fresh and oozing with bold flavors which my companions and I loved.

California Maki P180 and Spicy Tuna Maki P280

We also had a plate of California Maki (P180) and Spicy Tuna Maki (P280) which albeit lacking in flair as compared to the previous platters, managed to impress us with Kitsho's promise of freshness and authenticity.

Chawanmushi P250 Uni Tempura P320

After sampling the best sashimi and sushi selection I've ever tasted, we were served with a cup of Chawanmushi (P250), a steamed egg custard appetizer with a seafood surprise beneath, and topped with mitsuba (Japanese parsley) leaves. I've had my fair share of Chawanmushi before, and I can say that Kitsho's is definitely one of the best.

We also had a serving of Uni Tempura (P320), deep-fried nori-wrapped sea urchin, coated with tempura batter. Although I'm not big when it comes to tempura dishes, I can say that the Uni Tempura was a sure hit. Wrapped in a crispy and flavorful deep-fried nori-infused coating, the contrast of a soft and subtle uni filling gave a well-balanced taste and texture.

Salmon Tartaryaki P480

We also got to try the Salmon Tartaryaki (P480) which is sautéed salmon with tartar sauce. Although a surprising cross between the East and the West, this subtly-flavored yet quite filling dish gained our table's nod of approval.

Kaibashira Butter Shoyuyaki Uni Sauce P480

Our dining experience at Kitsho was off on a very impressive start, but it got even better when we were served with the Kaibashira Butter Shoyuyaki Uni Sauce (P480) -- sautéed Japanese scallops with uni sauce, garnished with red, yellow and green bell pepper. And as much as I had already foodgasmed at the savory and succulent taste of the scallops, the slices of fresh bell peppers managed to make me giddy yet again. Unlike most bitter-tasting bell peppers, these fresh, beautiful and imported slices were surprisingly sweet.

Hotaru Ika P280

We were also very fortunate to be one of the first few guests to try Chef Mizumoto's latest creation, the Hotaru Ika (P280) which was made with steamed firefly squid. Although this dish came drenched with sauce, the excited me only took out pieces of the little sea creatures which tasted absolutely amazing. They were so flavorful and delicately burst with each bite.

Buta Kakuni P350

Even if we thought our afternoon meal was already coming to an end, we were still served with another one of Chef Mizumoto's signature dishes, Buta Kakuni (P350) -- Japanese braised pork belly served with karashi (Japanese mustard) and topped with what I believe was shiraga negi or long and thinly-sliced Japanese green onion. This very comforting dish, although not my favorite in the bunch, was sweet, flavorful and very meaty. The pork belly was very tender and very succulent, the perfect meat dish to eat on a rainy day.

Dobin Mushi

And as our meal was drawing to a close, we were given a pot each of Dobin Mushi -- a traditional seafood broth made with dashi stock, soy sauce, shrimp, chicken, matsutake mushrooms and lime juice. Although Dobin Mushi is normally drank as an appetizer, it became the perfect meal ender for our group. Its light and subtly-flavored taste gave us a sense of peace, and helped in cleansing our palate.

Grilled Banana with Vanilla and Kuromitsu P150

Our group was already all set. However, we're not rude enough to decline Kitsho's dessert offerings, so we had a serving each of Grilled Banana with Vanilla and Kuromitsu (P150) which is just grilled bananas with mildly sweet Japanese black honey and a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream. Although bananas are generally heavy, this dessert was pretty light for my stomach but was also very satisfying.

Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream P150

We also got to try a bowl of Matcha Green Tea Ice Cream (P150) which was straight-in-your-face flavored with the bitter and distinct taste of matcha. Unlike other green tea ice creams I've tried in the past, Kitsho's was unpretentious. It was not too sweet, and it had a strong bitterness that matcha green tea should really have.

THE VERDICT

Although Japanese is my favorite among all international cuisines, I am a big critic as much as I am a big fan. Honestly, I have never tried any Japanese restaurants in the Metro which had fully satisfied me from appetizer to main course to dessert. However, after paying a trip to Kitsho Restaurant and Sake Bar, I can definitely say that I've found a Japanese food haven that I'm sure to visit and revisit for the years to come.

Armed with delicately-prepared great-tasting food and impeccable service in a calm and peaceful location, Kitsho is a Japanese restaurant worthy of its name -- kisshou which translates as goodness.

Taste - 5/5
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4.5/5

Kitsho, Traders Hotel Manila
Traders Hotel, 3001 Roxas Blvd
Pasay City, Metro Manila
Philippines
(02) 523-7011 loc. 2918
Official Website
Facebook Page

43 comments:

  1. Wow! I love California Maki! My friend who visited Japan said that she loves Japanese food to the hilt. She even told me she learned how to cook one of her favorite dish while in Japan for a short vacation she called it oishi miyake I don't know if my spelling is right though ha ha ha. She vouched that the food and ice cream she tried in Japan is simply the best! My friend really aroused my curiosity with these foods that's why I'm looking forward on trying Amuse bouche,Lobster sashimi with garlic oil, blue fin tuna, and salmon toro marinated in dashi, Seared scallop with miso sauce and butter poached lobster tail with pickled asparagus on the side and the lists goes on Ha ha! Sumi-san, watashi o matte kudasai!

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  2. another japanese resto i should look forward too. the food and ambiance looks really nice. i need to include it in my restaurant list :D

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  3. Great job on being able to fully describe and review this Japanese restaurant and their food, Sumi!

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  4. Nice review sis! I'm also looking forward to try some Japanese foods.

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  5. Wow!! The food looks really really good. I love Japanese food but unfortunately, my hubby don't really like it as much as I do (too bad, because he is also my financier for our weekends lamon. Haha!

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  6. I like the bright and neat interiors. Their sushi look very well-made too. :)

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  7. i love Japanese food since my childhood.. and years past by, I'm also learn to study how they artistically prepare the foods, which i LOVE

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  8. I love Jap food too.. except for the raw sushis :)
    I want the green tea ice cream!! :)

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  9. The price! Grrrr.... I love Jap food talaga. Drooling over those Sushi and Sashimi. When I saw the ice cream I was thinking... "Ah, baka wasabi flavor to!" Hahaha! :P

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  10. Again, you have me salivating as I'm reading your post! i've realized that there's so much about Japanese cuisine that I haven't tried yet. It's really different when you got a real Japanese chef making special and creative Jap dishes. But gosh, sooo expensive. It would be such a delicious indulgence if I go eat there! :D

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  11. I soo love Japanese food! I want to try the Hotaru Ika looks yummy! The ambiance looks cozy...and by the way, great pictures (as usual) and great review!

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  12. waaaaaaaahhhh! I'm drooling!! I love everything! And that green tea Ice Cream.. I hope to find one here in our place. That Grilled Banana with Vanilla and Kuromitsu too looks super yummy...haynaku! I am starving tuloy! :)

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  13. Drooling while looking and reading on this post. I love sushi as well but not the sushi with wasabe on it can't take the electric feeling on my head, hehe., I think I already try green tea ice cream :)

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  14. I like how they arranged their furniture and everything :) But a bit expensive but for sure worth it. Haven't try Japanese menus. hope I could try sometime :)

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  15. WOW! I love japanese din... My mouth watered in this post...

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  16. wow. the food is mouthwatering! they look so fresh it's amazing! :-)

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  17. you take nice photos of food, really nice. looking at them alone makes me drool! i'm more curious about that green tea ice cream.

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  18. Here we go again! The love-hate relationship with your food posts! :D

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  19. Awesome food presentation. So tempting!

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  20. Great Photos and I'm sure the food was yummy too!!

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  21. A real must-try! I'm a fan of California Maki. Hehe.

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  22. napawow ako sa ambiance ng resto na to...
    i like the style sa resto... iba yung dating sa akin.
    tas ang lapit pa sa work ko oh.. maybe i can try this on sat!! kung may time..

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  23. Delicious Pics! hehe. I love the Zen ambiance as well.

    Will check it out when I have spare funds for this :)

    How much did you guys spend as a group?

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  24. Wow this place looks beautiful! :) I would love to come visit some time soon!! :D

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  25. i can highly recommend dining at kitsho, aside from the good ambiance,i like the cleanliness of the environment and the food is really delectable! we have been in the resto for 3 times na :)

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  26. Sis, kakagutom! I'm partial to Japanese resto, I love maki and sushi but scallops - not so! Great ambiance, black makes the place sophisticated.

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  27. i love Jap foods...i'm happy with california maki and some miso soup...

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  28. Im not really a big fan of anything raw, but your photos really got my attention. especially the green ice cream! ngayong mainit ang panahon! :)

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  29. Wow!! Looking at your photos makes me hungry!!

    Thank you for sharing this!

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  30. Woooo! Ang ganda ng interiors. Wood na wood and I can't help but notice the quirkiness of the lamps too.

    when dining in a Japanese restaurant, 'di talaga mawawala ang maki and green tea ice cream sa akin. =)

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  31. Oh that was a gastronomous adventure, I so envy you.. :)

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  32. how come you always have nice shots of you foodie image. lighting is perfect do you flash and diffuser?
    anyways I may not be a fan of japanese food but I'm strting to be a fan of your photos =)

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  33. @Liezel C.: Wow, thank you so much for the kind words sis! :D And no, I don't use flash and a diffuser. I guess my exposure settings just work ^^

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  34. It's 5 in the morning here and my stomach's growling...so that unagi in the photo and now I'm really determined to go to the Japanese store today! Crave! Yeah your photos are always beautifully taken! Keep it up!

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  35. Uni Tempura, I am sold! I'll take note of this when Japanese cravings hit me. Thanks for sharing Sumi!

    www.yedylicious.com

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  36. I'm very impressed with the freshness of their ingredients! Super loved the salmon. =D

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  37. some food looked weird for me. hehe.. i'll settle for california maki still. i hope if i have the chance to eat authentic japanese food, i'll like them

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  38. I am a total shake and uni sashimi fanatic. Looks fresh and perfectly prepared. Can't wait to be in the Roxas Blvd area to sample me those fine seafood.

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  39. Japanese cuisine is one of bests in Asia. I love how all the photos look gastronomical. I should probably try this place.

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  40. what can I say..Japanese may not be the best cuisine for me but their dishes that day were impressive.

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  41. its a bit pricey but seeing and reading your post seems like its worth it :)
    i love your photography. you make any food look so awesome :D
    Rovie,
    http://thebargaindoll.blogspot.com/

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