Great Eats

First try at Kapitolyo favourite Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant

Haru Title - First try at Kapitolyo favourite Haru Sushi Bar and Restaurant

In the Japanese language, ‘Haru‘ means ‘spring‘. Such a sweet and romantic name to call a restaurant, and quite easy to remember too. No wonder Haru Sushi Bar has established itself as Kapitolyo’s friendly neighbourhood Japanese restaurant. Much like how the Japanese restaurants in Little Tokyo are frequented by people in the south, I feel like every person who lives in Pasig knows and loves this place.

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Entering the restaurant, I can immediately see how much care and thought was put into the interior design. You literally get transported to springtime Japan, where koi ponds are filled with busily swimming fish and flowing water. There’s even a small bridge inside the restaurant that evokes that feeling of being outdoors strolling under the cherry blossoms. They really took the theme of “spring” to heart.

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Haru Sushi Bar & Restaurant was established by the same people behind Cafe Juanita, which I’ve heard many good things about. Chef Tsutomu Yamazaki (formerly of Sugi) was brought in to make sure the food could compete with the best of them. Look at his staff working with ready smiles on their faces! I was hopeful that I too would end up with a smile on my face after my meal here.

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I don’t really go to Kapitolyo as often as I’d like, but somehow people who know me as a fan of Japanese food tend to recommend Haru to me when we’re talking about the Kapitolyo food scene. I was more than happy to give it a go. I wondered if I could perhaps add it to my list of classic Japanese restaurant faves like the Izakaya Kikufuji in Makati. (That place has amazing value for money!)

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I’m glad we made a reservation before coming here. We’d probably be on the waiting list since the restaurant, spacious as it is, was already close to being full before noon. There’s a section of the restaurant that’s more for private group gatherings, so we were seated at this elevated wooden “veranda” on the other side.

Looking through the menu, there were a lot of typical Japanese dishes like sushi, sukiyaki, teppan, donburi; but they also had some unique and interesting rolls, which I do believe is what they’re known for. The signature ramen, aptly called Haru Ramen, also caught my attention. And in fact three of us ordered that. 😉


Scallop Teppan (Php 438)

Flavourfully marinated US scallops cooked teppan style, laid on a bed of yummy mashed potatoes and veggies.

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I have to say these scallops were the bomb, and I mean that from top to bottom. The scallops were juicy and just rightly marinated, but they were so tiny! That small bit of mashed potato was delicious because it caught all the scallop drippings, but again, how come there was so little?

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For nearly 500 bucks, I was expecting more in the servings department. Technically, the scallops are the most expensive part of this dish so I can somehow understand why they’re holding back on it, but what about the potato? The dressed veggies?


Aki Sashimi Moriawase (Php 524) 🌟

A platter of assorted sashimi, composed of tuna, tai (pinkish fish), ika (squid), uni, and kajiki (squared white fish).

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Every time we order one of these sashimi platters I’m always trying to figure out which is which just because I want to learn all the names of sashimi. I think the kajiki was a bit new to me as far as sashimi is concerned, but all the things on this platter were fresh and delicious. I especially loved the silky sweet uni!

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I honestly wish they added just one more slice each of the tuna, tai, and kajiki sashimi to this platter.


Avocado Spicy Tuna Roll (Php 453) 🌟

This was just a special offer in one of those tabletop acrylic displays during the time we ate here , but it’s good enough to be a regular menu item. If I remember correctly, this came in an order of 8 rolls that were neither too big nor too small.

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You’ve got tuna and salmon sashimi inside the rolls, amped up by some more spicy tuna on top. The cheese and avocado add some creaminess. I think I may have a new obsession with maki rolls that have avocado. I absolutely enjoyed this one for the burst of different flavours and textures it brings in every mouthful!


Spider Design Maki (Php 320)

Sushi rolls with fried soft shell crab and ripe mango inside; plus a dollop of spicy mayonnaise.

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This one was disappointing. I couldn’t quite taste the soft shell crabs in the rolls, making this just an okay roll compared to the one above. I was surprised that we only got five rolls, and the presentation wasn’t that interesting.


Haru Ramen (Php 298) 🌟

Ramen heartily topped with beef, mussels, shrimp, squid, young corn, mushroom, bamboo shoots, cabbage, and Japanese fish cake too!

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I was pretty impressed with how many toppings they added to this ramen. Granted the broth wasn’t the best I’ve ever tasted, and the noodles were not the same quality as those of ramen places. However I’d still say this was a pretty loaded bowl of noodles for the price. The mussels were nice and sweet, though I wish the shrimp wasn’t so shriveled up!

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I thought this ramen hit the spot quite nicely. It definitely did not taste like what I’ve come to expect when I order ramen, but I reminded myself that it’s a signature ramen dish. It’s not supposed to taste like anything else!


Final thoughts

Browsing the menu of Haru Sushi Bar & Restaurant, I find that it wasn’t particularly cheap. I don’t mind eating expensive food but it all depends on the quality of the ingredients, the serving portion, and the overall experience of the dishes. I’d say that Haru somewhat hits all these aspects, but to varying degrees per dish.

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For all the really great reviews about this restaurant, I thought it was just okay. The sashimi was fresh and the avocado-topped maki very flavourful, but I was expecting to be wowed and that didn’t happen. Nonetheless, if you live in the area and are hankering for some classic Japanese fare, I think Haru Sushi Bar & Restaurant is a solid option.

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Overall Rating: 3.50 out of 5

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HARU SUSHI BAR AND RESTAURANT

21 West Capitol Drive,
Kapitolyo, Pasig City
Hours: 11 AM to 2 PM / 5:30 PM to 10 PM
Contact No.: (02) 631 0597 / (+63) 923 893 2641
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Full disclosure: This post is not sponsored in any way and opinions are 100% mine alone.

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