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The Japanese trend in Manila is in full swing. We’re seeing various home-grown and franchised Japanese restaurants specializing in Ramen, Tonkatsu, Teppanyaki, Yakitori and Yakiniku setting up shop. Full-service Japanese restaurants in Manila are getting cooler with higher quality of food.

HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant is the Japanese restaurant of Doc Efren “Boy” Vazquez of Cafe Juanita fame. They renovated the house beside the new Cafe Juanita (where Balay ni Juan used to be). Haru means “Spring”, a name chosen by Chef Tsutomu Yamazaki (formerly of Sugi).

We were invited to the formal opening of Haru, which was a private affair for Doc Vazquez’ family and personal friends. It was a historic moment for Doc because Cafe Juanita started out as a Japanese restaurant, then transformed into a Filipino resto, and now a Japanese resto sits beside it to complete the cycle.

Here’s a preview of our Haru Sushi Bar & Restaurant experience:

Kapitolyo Food Street Series:

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As you enter, you’ll see an array of fun colors inside a house that’s been converted into a resto.

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That night, we had a buffet of Japanese food. Check out the Haru menu below:

HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant Menu: Salada, Ippin Ryori | Ippin Ryori | Sashimi & Sushi | Sashimi or Sushi Imported Items, and Moriawase | Tataki, Usuzukuri and Chirashi and Sushi Donburi | Maki Sushi 1 | Maki Sushi 2 | Yakimono/ Robata-Yaki | Yakimono/Robata-Yaki and Nimono | Tempura and Furai/Agemono 1 | Tempura and Furai/Agemono 2 and Nabemono | Teppanyaki/ Misono 1 | Teppanyaki/Misono 2 | Menrui | Ramen | Donburi | Wan Mono and Gohan | Drinks List 

Note:  I indicated the menu prices of the dishes below, but the actual ala carte serving is different.

HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant-6.jpgThe table setup in Haru is cozy, with Japanese art as highlights and a motif of cherry blossoms.

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The kimonos on display, the mini bridge and koi pond design on the wall brought more pops of color to the place.

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There’s an enclosed big room that serves as the main dining hall. It can be turned into a function room.

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Besides the resto decor, another element they brought to Haru (which worked in Cafe Juanita) was the live acoustic piano, flute, and violin performances on special nights.

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Meet Chef Tsutomu Yamazaki and Doc Efren “Boy” Vazquez, the brains behind the Haru Sushi Bar concept.

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We asked the Chef to share with us his favorites in the menu. He recommended:

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UNI (Sea Urchin) Sashimi (P242).

It was yummy and fresh.

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Salmon Maki Sushi (P199).

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All Prawn Tempura (P278).

They were crisp, not oily, and had more meat than breadcrumbs.

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Sukiyaki (P318 Medium). Thinly sliced beef and assorted vegetables cooked in sweet rice wine and soy sauce.

We also liked the Sukiyaki, which had a balanced flavor.

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Gyoza (P168). Dumplings of minced pork, shrimp, and vegetables served with dipping sauce. 
Misono Tofu Steak (P248). Firm tofu cooked misono-style with diced chicken, mushroom, greens.

The Gyoza and Tofu were a bit tired-looking and -tasting already when we tried them. I imagine they would be good served hot and fresh off the grill.

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Tori Teriyaki (P239). Grilled Chicken Teriyaki.

The Teriyaki’s flavors were really good and had just the right sweetness.

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Yakitori (P199). Grilled chicken leg fillet and leeks barbecued in teriyaki-based sauce.

The meat was soft, flavorful, and grilled just right. 

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Grilled Salmon Fillet with Teriyaki Sauce (P389).

Anything with teriyaki sauce is really good, especially the fresh Salmon!

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Don’t forget to drink sake in the traditional wooden cup,  a good digestif after the meal.

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Congratulations, Doc Vazquez, on your new and yummy Japanese resto!

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It’s great that the signature homey, colorful and romantic ambiance of Doc Vazquez’ Cafe Juanita can be found in Haru. Pair that with the high quality, delicious food of Chef Yamazaki, and you’ve got the best place for Japanese cuisine in the Kapitolyo Food area.

Pricing is not bad, at P150-P400/dish, for a Japanese resto. I prefer eating here than in Japanese restos in malls with an outdated ambiance.

Let me know what you like in the Haru menu. Please share your experience in the Comments section.


HARU Sushi Bar & Restaurant
21 West Capitolyo Drive Barrio Kapitolyo, Pasig City 
Telephone: +632 631-0597

Related Blog Post: FrannyWannyHaru Sushi Bar and Restaurant in Bo. Kapitolyo, Pasig

Kapitolyo Food Street Series:

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Full Disclosure: Our meal was courtesy of Dr. Vazquez. I wrote this blog post myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I have no business relationship with any company mentioned in this post or any organization promoting it. As a policy, I don’t receive compensation from food and travel places we feature in the blog.

P.S.  There’s limited parking space in front of the resto and along the side streets. On busy nights, we park in Ace Hotel & Suites, and just walk over around the corner to Haru.