Hello, Nihon Daidokoro Unagi Asakusa.
The place was still closed when I dropped by at 5pm but I was warmly welcomed by one of the staff who ushered me inside the small but homey restaurant.
I had a brief chat with its marketing manager, Frank Villegas, who gave me a quick background of the restaurant. Apparently, this used to be just Nihon Daidokoro which serves straightforward and affordable Japanese food like tonkatsu and ramen. But they revamped the menu and now specializes in unagi.
I'll be honest, I was a bit shocked to see the prices of the unagi meal sets. The prices ranges from PHP800 to PHP1,700. It is definitely not a meal you'd want to have on an ordinary day. But I was curious with its taste and if the set justifies the price.
I got the Grilled Eel Rice Bowl Meal (PHP1,480) which includes assorted tempura, nomaku tofu, assorted pickled vegetables, unagi soup, umaki and seasonal fruit.
First served was the Nomaku Tofu. It is a plate of silky tofu with flavorful enoki mushrooms. I loved the sweet and tangy flavor of the snappy mushrooms and it went beautifully well with the bland tofu.
Next served was the plate of assorted pickled vegetables which served as a great palate cleanser. On the plate were cabbage, shallot, cucumber, pickles, seaweed and raddish.
The umaki or unagi egg roll was pretty good as well. I loved how the egg complemented the sweet unagi taste. Just try not to finish the whole plate as it could be very filling.
The assorted tempura was stellar! At first, I was a bit disappointed how the batter didn't seem to fully cover the prawn and veggies but each bite was very crunchy! It was definitely different from the other tempura available in the market. I'd surely order this next time.
The unagi soup was a bit on the salty side but it went well with the other dishes. I was just surprised with the chunk inside. It was quite bitter creating a sharp contrast against the salty clear soup.
Now for the star of the set meal... unagi.
The unagi had a lovely soft texture and it was beautifully seasoned with homemade unagi sauce. You could tell that the unagi Nihon Daidokoro Unagi Asakusa uses are premium and fresh as it does not leave any weird after taste. I enjoyed munching on the sweet unagi and pairing it with the delightful Japanese rice.
I capped my meal with a slice of sweet mango which was perfect! Though it would have been nicer if they serve matcha dessert, I loved that the mango served to me was slightly frozen making it a refreshing meal ender.
Overall, it was a pleasant meal. I can't wait to try the other dishes soon!