I almost never find myself in Alabang unless I need to go there for work. I also wouldn’t purposely travel all the way there on a rainy Wednesday afternoon and endure the heavy traffic just to have lunch. What for? I can have lunch somewhere closer!
But how can I say no to an invitation to try authentic Japanese cuisine prepared by a master chef from Japan? Great distances? Heavy traffic? Strong rains? I can brave all that at the mere mention of the word “sushi”!
I was invited by my friend and Bellevue Manila’s Marketing Director of Marketing Communications, Ms. Joy Meneses, to a special bloggers’ lunch at Hatsune, one of the specialty dining outlets in The Bellevue Manila, a 456-room 5-star hotel in Alabang, southern Metro Manila. In charge of Hatsune’s kitchen is Chef Katsuya Kawamoto who came all the way from Fukuoka. With 45 years of experience in working for various Japanese restaurants, Chef Kawamoto was able to instantly transport us to Japan with his skillfully-created Japanese recipes. Together with Chef Kawamoto was Chef Marco Caberto who also helped acquaint us with the specialties at Hatsune.
The chefs created this special lunch set just for us! Note that the dishes in the middle are the restaurant’s bestsellers.
Like I said, I will brave rains and traffic for sushi, and I was elated when not one but THREE platters of sushi were brought in!
Spicy Tuna Roll (PHP 290) – sushi roll with fresh tuna mixed in spicy sauce.
This was my favorite roll out of the three! The fresh tuna chunks were really meaty and soft, which went well with the crunch of the spicy flakes. This roll has a nice zing!
Salmon California Roll (PHP 580) – California roll with thinly sliced seared salmon on top
This is not your typical California Roll. The chef recreated the famous California Maki by adding beef, pork, and seared salmon. This has a flavorful and smoky taste. It can stand alone even without being dipped in soy sauce because it is already drizzled with a special sauce. It is a kind of expensive for a California Roll, but then again, salmon is an expensive ingredient!
Beef California Roll (PHP 720) – California roll with thinly sliced beef on top
I would recommend this to people who love a little meat in their maki, especially bacon-lovers! It’s easy to get full on this because the rolls are big and it’s packed with protein. However, I do think that paying over PHP 700 for a California Roll is a bit much.
This one’s already a winner if I judge it based on presentation alone! Taste-wise, it’s also a killer! The crunchy texture of the shrimp tempura, the savory taste of the fish, and the zesty spicy mayo sauce makes the Dragon Roll an interesting dish!
Kaisen Kani Miso Yaki (PHP 420) – mixed seafood in shell with special sauce
Ask Chef Kawamoto what his favorite dish is in Hatsune, and he will tell you that it’s the Kaisen Kani Miso Yaki. And why shouldn’t it be? He created it! This rich dish of fish, squid, scallops, and shrimp cooked in a mixture of crab fat with kani miso paste on a crab shell can only be found in Hatsune, and nowhere else. The miso paste can only be bought in Japan, and is mixed with a secret sauce which is made by the Master Chef himself. How’s that for special?! We were told that it is advisable to have just one serving per person because too much of it is not good for one’s cholesterol… but I say… “Give me more!!!”
Play the video below and get ready to drooool!
Agedashi Tofu (PHP 150) – Fried soft bean curd with sweet vinegar soy sauce
The owner of Hatsune joined us for lunch and repeatedly told us “This Agedashi Tofu is the best ever!” and “I will not let you leave this restaurant without you getting to try the Agedashi Tofu!” Unlike other Agedashi Tofu dishes that are sloppy and inferior in texture, this one at Hatsune was nice and chewy. It’s soft and delicate, and doesn’t fall apart even when it is swimming in its own delicious teriyaki sauce. It’s a simple dish but certainly a good one!
Unagi Maki Tamago
Hatsune elevates (or is “eel-evates” a better term?) this egg sushi by stuffing it with soft freshwater eel! You get the light taste and texture of tamago but with a nice little surprise inside.
Ebi Tempura (PHP 380 for 3 pieces OR PHP 550 for 5 pieces) – all prawn tempura
For a lot of people, a visit to a Japanese restaurant is not complete without an order of ebi tempura. Chef Caberto says that what makes Hatsune’s Ebi Tempura not so ordinary is its secret sauce. This one’s something to love!
Tori Kuwayaki (PHP 400) – Fried chicken nuggets created in a Japanese sweet sauce
The deep-fried chicken coated with a special sweet sauce (another one of the Master Chef’s originals, of course!) is a favorite of customers, but it is also a hit with the kids. The taste, the crunch, the sweetness, and the bite-size servings of the chicken make it a fun dish to eat, whether with rice or on its own. Don’t forget to grab another order for takeaway!
Nagasaki Champon – Ramen noodle dish with pork, seafood, and vegetables
This was served to us but we waited a little too long to eat it and we were too busy taking photos that we forgot all about it! I did get to try the soup and some of the seafood and vegetables but without the noodles. I was sipping the warm soup on a rainy day so it was just perfect! By the time I ate this, I already had dessert so I only had a little. What I can say is that I liked its thick and creamy soup and it was packed with ingredients, so I’m sure this is very filling!
Gyuniku Hoba Yaki (PHP 720) – Grilled chicken with vegetables, dengaku miso sauce wrapped in hoba leaf
Hatsune offers the usual Japanese favorites like rolls and ebi tempura, but once in a while, they bring out a dish that is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before, such as the Gyuniku Hoba Yaki. The beef himeji, mushrooms, and vegetables are stir-fried and cooked in dengaku red miso, and wrapped in hoba leaf. This leaf can only be found in Japan! It’s not edible but it adds flavor and aroma to the dish. Pretty cool!
Beef Tenderloin Teppan (PHP 780) – Angus beef teppanyaki
Can we have some rice with this please? This Beef Tenderloin Teppan is juicy, succulent, and deliciously garlicky. It was really a pleasure to eat!
Kaki Teppan (PHP 590) – Oyster teppanyaki
A friend of mine recently had food poisoning from eating oysters at a famous Filipino restaurant. No surprises there, as this is a common occurrence when eating oysters that are not fresh or cooked properly. At Hatsune, they don’t want to take any chances. To be extra safe, they do not use local oysters. Instead, they only use oysters from Japan, which they get from Japanese groceries. No wonder their oysters tasted so fresh! In fact, not knowing that they were oysters, I thought I was eating some kind of fried mushroom dish. Griddled with utmost care, these oysters were luscious and creamy! I don’t eat oysters but this one has my vote!
Hamachi Kama Nitzuke (PHP 500/100 grams) – Yellow tail jaw
This nicely plated dish is a very special one because it is made from the hamachi collar (or yellow tail jaw). The Hamachi Kama Nitzuke was a little sweet and a little salty, and has that melt-in-your-mouth goodness. This is one sensational seafood!
Juices and Smoothies (PHP 180 for juices / 250 for smoothies)
Something to drink? Hatsune’s Juice Bar offers a range of yummy and healthy refreshments to cool you down.
- Virgin Mango Mojito – mango, lime, and mint leaves
- Fruit Jar – pineapple, apple, orange, or lemon with soda water and fresh juice
- Refreshing Lemonade Twist – fresh lemon (watermelon lemon, grapefruit apple lemon, mint lemon, and pineapple lemon) and watermelon
They also have smoothies rich in antioxidants for anti-aging, energy, immunity, and mood boosting.
- Vita Plus Smoothie – carrots, apple, pineapple, and ginger
- Favorite Green Smoothie – pineapple, mango, lime juice, and a hint of parsley
- Choco Banana Smoothie – banana, ice cream, and chocolate syrup
- Endless Summer – watermelon, papaya, and banana
Favorite Green Smoothie (PHP 250) – Pineapple, mango, lime juice, and a hint of parsley
This was my (cute!) drink. The teddy bear on my drink isn’t what I normally see in Japanese restaurants, so it was a little odd but also pretty fun! Hey, it’s memorable! And I’m sure the kids are going to flip when they get their hands on this. But what about the drink? I gulped it down in a matter of a few minutes! It was delicious and invigorating! Who knew that parsley would be a good ingredient for a smoothie? Drinking this made me feel healthy even after all the food I wolfed down!
Green Tea Panna Cotta (PHP 150)
Time for dessert! I made the right choice in ordering the Green Tea Panna Cotta. No kidding, this is one of the best panna cottas I’ve had. Green tea has a tendency to taste a little bitter, but Hatsune’s Green Tea Panna Cotta was temptingly sweet (but not sickeningly sweet). This is a heavenly, velvety treat!
Matcha Cheesecake (PHP 180)
I only had one bite of this cheesecake (since it wasn’t mine) but one bite was enough for me to consider ordering one for take-out. (I didn’t because I forgot!) I think I might have a new favorite cheesecake! The sweetness and creaminess of the matcha and cheese layer, as well as the layer of crushed cookies. This matcha cheesecake has really left a mark on me. I can’t wait for the next time that I go to The Bellevue Manila. I’m definitely swinging by Hatsune, even if it’s just for the Matcha Cheesecake.
I commend the very attentive servers and chefs at Hatsune for letting us experience this lovely lunch!
(click on the thumbnails to enlarge)
Hatsune excels in presenting diners with authentic and masterfully crafted Japanese dishes made with the freshest ingredients. At Hatsune, you can be assured of having an enjoyable dining experience as you savor the interesting dishes made with a personal touch of a knowledgeable and experienced Japanese chef.
The price range of the dishes are broad, with some dishes being surprisingly affordable (such as the PHP 150- Agedashi Tofu) and some being more on the pricier side (such as the Gyuniku Hoba Yaki at PHP 720). However, considering that this restaurant is located in a 5-star hotel, the prices can be considered as reasonable. You can even feast on an all-you-can-eat lunch set at PHP 1,199++. If you’re celebrating a momentous occasion, this is a great place for that. Hatsune has plenty of enticing dishes for the whole family, including child-friendly eats, so it’s impossible to not find a favorite in this Japanese restaurant!
Hatsune Authentic Japanese Restaurant
Address: 2nd Floor, The Bellevue Manila, North Bridgeway, Filinvest City, Alabang, Muntinlupa, Philippines 1781
Phone: (632) 771 8181 loc. 2300 / (63 916) 174 2771
Fax: (632) 771 8282
Opening Hours: Monday to Sunday, from 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Disclosure: I was invited by the restaurant to try their dishes for my review. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.