Located at the second floor of Maxims Hotel in Resorts World Manila, Ginzadon which name is a combination of "Ginza" (a district of Chuo in Tokyo, Japan) and "don" (money in Korean), is a Japanese and Korean, not fusion, restaurant. Yup, they don't serve Japanese-inspired Korean dishes nor Korean-inspired Japanese dishes here. They really carry a wide menu with a selection dedicated to Japanese fare, and another portion for Korean gustatory delights. And although the concept of a Japanese and Korean restaurant in one was initially a little odd for me, I have to admit, Ginzadon definitely makes life easier for people who crave for both Japanese and Korean food.
With soft, warm lighting and a minimalistic interior, Ginzadon is a simple yet chic dining space perfect for intimate gatherings. Splashed with wooden accents and a touch of red amidst the white-beige color scheme, the main dining room just oozes with a friendly and cozy atmosphere. The sushi bar, the sake bar and the teppanyaki bar, on the other hand, though located at the far end of the restaurant, also feel inviting and casual. So despite being inside Maxims Hotel which is a first-class luxury hotel, Ginzadon is surprisingly far from being intimidating. The exact opposite of what I actually expected.
Contrary to the common practice, Ginzadon's kitchen is not helmed by a Japanese nor a Korean chef. Instead, it's led by the very capable Chef Antonio Ablay, a Filipino chef with an extensive 27-year experience with Japanese and Korean cuisine. But apart from his knowledge, skills and techniques, Chef Tony shares that the key to capture the food's authenticity is also thanks to the use of quality ingredients. And this is Ginzadon's promise. Capturing freshness and authenticity for both Japanese and Korean cuisines.
Upon getting seated, our table was served with complimentary banchan. From what I know, the banchan may not always be the same everyday. But for our visit, we had cabbage and radish kimchi, seaweeds in sesame oil, pickled vegetables, spicy jelly fish, and sweet stir-fried anchovies to keep us busy while waiting for the main dishes.
After just a few minutes, this serving of Ebi Tempura was brought to our table. For a plate of only four pieces of tempura, I thought the price was quite expensive. However, I can really see that they've used big prawns for the dish -- four big pieces coated with tempura batter and fried to a perfect, non-greasy crisp. There are also other kinds of tempura like kani, at the bottom of the plate. So that's a good bonus!
|Ebi Tempura (P720)|
My seatmates can hear my eyes (Yes, my eyes!) oohing and ahhing in delight when this beautiful platter of Sashimi Moriawase Matsu was placed on our table. Despite my seafood allergies, this serving has all my favorites! It had sweet shrimp, salmon roe, surf clam, salmon, tuna, mackerel, yellow tail and octopus. Sashimi heaven on a plate!
|✓ Sashimi Moriawase Matsu - Special Assorted Sashimi (P1,870)|
Ama ebi, ikura, hokkigai, shake, maguro, saba, hamachi, tako
Each and every piece from this platter was fresh and tasty. Of course, I devoured most of the salmon sashimi which was super buttery and the octopus slices which are quite chewy but far from rubbery. The tuna, mackerel and yellow tail were good quality and enjoyable too. And how can I not mention the surf clam which I really loved despite it being the first time I've ever tried one. It felt firmer than the tako sashimi, but tasted great.
|Another photo of the sashimi platter before it was wiped out|
We also had the Tempura Ura Maki which is basically a California roll with ebi tempura added in as filling. Compared to other tempura maki I've tried before, this version is bigger and more enjoyable. The tempura inside, despite being wrapped around, still retains some crunch. You can also taste and chew on the juicy prawn, a far cry from pathetic attempts that make use of small shrimps coated in soggy tempura casing.
|Tempura Ura Maki - California Roll with Prawn Tempura (P770)|
This might look a little shocking on the tabletop, but this is by far my most favorite maki to date! Extra big rolls of sushi rice and nori with king prawn tempura, kani, cucumber and ripe mango topped with grilled salmon skin with sweet-savory unagi sauce... This Dragon Roll Maki is the bomb! If you're into crazy sushi rolls and unsure which to order from Ginzadon's menu, seriously, do yourself a favor and pick this one!
|✓ Dragon Roll Maki (P950)|
After getting a taste of the Japanese part of the menu, we were then served with a bowl each of Kim Chi Jji Gae or kimchi stew, as we move to sample the Korean menu. If you look at the price of the dish, it might seem expensive. But don't be fooled. Even if this stew is supposed to be personal-sized, believe me, this is good enough for 2 to 3 people. It's that big! And it's also a winner taste-wise, with spicy, sour and just plain flavorful kimchi and three big slices of soft and silky tofu. There were even some minced meat thrown into the mix. Yum! Oh, just be wary though if you're not a fan of spicy food.
|✓ Kim Chi Jji Gae - Kim Chi Stew (P400)|
Served with rice
For our Korean main dish, we had the Gal Bi Jim or braised prime beef short ribs which is one of the most ordered item from the restaurant's Korean dishes' menu. And I can understand why. There were a good number of tasty and succulent short rib pieces, so it's not only enjoyable, but also perfect for family sharing. With assorted vegetables and a sweet, savory sauce, just pair this dish with hot steamed rice and you're all set.
|Gal Bi Jim - Braised Prime Beef Short Ribs (P1,440)|
For a sweet ending, we capped off the meal with two of Ginzadon's ice creams -- Nuk Cha or green tea (in Korean), and Black Sesame. Both of these flavors are not too sweet, which is perfect for me. The green tea one was creamy and tasted of the right amount of matcha flavor. But while I really enjoyed it, I found myself more engrossed with the black sesame ice cream which had a nice creamy-black sesame flavor combo.
|✓ Green Tea Ice Cream (P110) and ✓ Black Sesame Ice Cream (P125)|
This visit to Ginzadon has both confirmed and debunked my expectations. On one hand, I got to confirm that Ginzadon serves tasty, quality food. On the other, the restaurant threw out my presumptions that specializing in two cuisines cannot work. From what I got to sample, I can testify that both the Japanese dishes and the Korean items taste great. Portion sizes are surprisingly big too, which gives more justice to pricing. So if you find yourself at Resorts World Manila and can't decide if you'll go for Japanese or Korean, why not choose Ginzadon and enjoy both?
Taste - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ambiance - 4/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3/5
Overall Value - 4/5
Ginzadon, Resorts World Manila
2/F Maxims Tower Hotel, Newport Blvd.,
Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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Posted in: hotel restaurant, japanese, korean, maxims hotel, new port city, pasay city, resorts world manila