My parents and I decided early last week that our weekend family dinner was to be held at a Japanese restaurant.Traveling all the way to Makati wasn’t an option, so we decided to look for a place within Q.C. I remembered seeing a Japanese restaurant tucked away in one of the side streets near Tomas Morato, so off we went to that direction. We ended up dining at Ariake.
Ariake was in the spot where Omakase used to be located. You’re greeted by this lovely display upon entering the restaurant. During our visit, the place smelled faintly of flowers, which reminded us of the stuff spas use in their establishments.
Go up the stairs and enter a set of doors to get to the actual dining area. It wasn’t a very big place and was mostly dim. It had a nice, relaxing atmosphere, although none of the servers that night seemed genuinely happy to see any customers. :-/ It was pretty unfortunate since their service in itself wasn’t bad, with all our items being served in a timely manner. It’s just kind of off-putting to have the wait staff serve you without any trace of enthusiasm whatsoever. Maybe it had something to do with the lighting of the place…?
Anyhoo, Dad and I enjoyed our cups of hot tea while waiting for our orders to arrive. We decided to order several dishes to share among the three of us.
For starters, Dad requested a serving of Crunchy Salmon Sashimi (Php220.00). We really enjoyed this one because of the salmon’s sweet, fresh taste and the spiciness wasn’t something that Mom couldn’t handle. I only wish there were more of those tempura batter bits so that we could have more crunchy stuff to munch on.
I was craving for sashimi, so I zeroed in on their Sashimi Platter (Php340.00). This platter consisted of uni (sea urchin), salmon sashimi, tuna sashimi, tamago, shrimp, and ika (squid) sashimi. Our favorite was easily the uni since it really tasted sweet and fresh. Our least favorite was the tamago. They were tough and gummy, definitely not the proper way to serve these things, in our opinion.
Dad liked the uni so much that he decided to place an extra order of it (ala carte version, Php190.00)!
Mom’s a big fan of bento boxes, so it was no longer surprising to us when she ordered the Regular Bento (Php325.00). This consisted of a cup of rice, chicken teriyaki, 4 pieces of california maki and mixed tempura. Mom disliked the chicken teriyaki, which she claimed was really bland.
The bento box also came with a glass of regular iced tea…
and a bowl of miso soup. Mom and Dad shared this bowl of soup between the two of them and they both found this to be very, very salty.
Dad chose the Ebi Tempura Soba (Php180.00) for his main meal that night. Although the soup had a slight sweetness to it, Dad still enjoyed this immensely because it was served really hot and because of the noodles. He’s a big soba fan!
My addiction to cold noodles is still on full swing, so the Tenzaru Soba (Php245.00) was my choice for the night. I’ve been ordering this in the past three or four Japanese restaurants I’ve visited and just find it to be oddly comforting!
How do you eat this type of dish? Simply dip some of the cold soba noodles into the tsuyu (broth) before eating. I really like adding the finely chopped spring onions, wasabi and raw quail’s egg into the tsuyu. If you feel a bit queasy with the idea of mixing the raw egg with the broth, you can easily just leave it out.
Ariake’s tenzaru soba came with more tempura items versus the ones I’ve tried from other places. It came with a piece of ebi (shrimp), kisu (Japanese whiting) tempura, and several vegetable tempura. They weren’t too generous with spring onions, but it wasn’t that big of an issue to be a deal breaker.
Most of the stuff we had at Ariake were good, although some items did miss their mark (chicken teriyaki and miso soup). It’s also a relatively cheap place to get good sashimi, so that’s something to take note of. We hope they never forget to keep their raw items nice and fresh all the time. Having happy, smiling wait staff wouldn’t hurt either. 😉
**Craving for Japanese food? Head over to Ariake! It’s located at 284 Tomas Morato, corner Sct. Rallos Street, South Triangle in Quezon City. Visit their official Facebook page by clicking here.