Umami Hambaagu House – Philippines

Umami Hambaagu House
Tucked in a rather accessible location I can’t disclose (yet), I spent Thursday afternoon having non-traditional Japanese burgers with Carina, Mikka and Dwight. I didn’t know much about Umami but when Mikka texted me about heading over and trying their food before everyone else could, I jumped at the chance. The place opens this coming Tuesday and I was among the chosen few to get a sneak peek! Magic dust and many thanks go out to Charles and Dwight!

Umami Hambaagu House
Usually on a trip abroad, I find myself on the lookout for independent coffee shops I can waste an afternoon in. And whenever I find some place interesting looking enough to warrant all that wasted time, I always wish that someone would open that kind of place in Manila. Stepping into Umami, I was confronted with the expensive dilemma of wanting to hang out there everyday. The place reeks Japanese pop culture but in a completely non-offensive, cute way. Stuff I spotted: Super Mario’s hat, a huge pack of Choco Baby, Totoro’s smiling face in the printed wallpaper and a stuffed version of the girl from Milky. I also really appreciate it when establishments make an effort to actually come up with a brand identity. Umami Hambaagu House exudes such a distinct character, which reflects in its design; from its interiors to the photography and graphic design on its menu. Visually, it already whets the appetite.

Umami Hambaagu House
On to the food! I may have said more than once on this blog that I am not a burger person. To correct that confusing statement, I am not a burger sandwich person. Throwing the bread out makes a world of a difference. As a life long member of the Jollibee Burger Steak appreciation club, the selection at Umami was overwhelming. I wanted to order everything.

Umami Hambaagu House
After flipping through the menu and asking Dwight for his recommendations, I decided to get the Maison du Japon (Php 340). I went for simple flavors that’d be hard to get wrong, it’s a burger just topped with Gruyere cheese and caramelized onions. He mentioned that they were still in their ‘test kitchen’ stages and that we had to give them feedback so they’d know what to work on before they open shop. It wouldn’t be fair to me to really review this but I’ll write about it anyway because I had a good time. When the order arrived, it was way bigger than I expected. Each order came with a bowl of rice, fries, salted edamame and unlimited cabbage salad topped with sesame dressing. Their dressing was so good, it was full and far from watery.

Umami Hambaagu House
I learned here that the difference between Japanese burgers and Western burgers is that they’re made up of a mixture of ground beef and ground pork. I was first confused about the color of the meat when I cut into it, it looked a little paler than usual but it was good none the less. They have an option where if you add Php 20, they’ll serve you a Chicken burger instead. The Maison du Japon was pretty safe compared to the other options on the menu (yep, they have one topped with foie gras and another topped with wasabi mayo cream) and because I ordered safe, safe is what I got back. Umami serves glammed up comfort food; the patty was tender and cooked just right but it lacked a bit of salt. The onions were sweet and the gruyere was rich but it didn’t make up for the lack of seasoning on the burger. After I added a bit of salt and togarashi, all was well in the world.

Umami Hambaagu House
The Roppongi Hills burger (Php 420) has a generous helping of thick, truffle cream slathered on top of the burger. This was pretty darn good and Carina was tons happy with it. We definitely appreciated how generous they were with the sauce. It just smelled really nice.

Umami Hambaagu House

Umami Hambaagu House
Mikka ordered the Takeshi’s Castle (Php 345) which reminded me so much of takoyaki, since it practically shares the same uppers. As a Okonomiyaki inspired burger, it’s topped with Bulldog sauce, bonito flakes, nori and Japanese mayo. The Takeshi’s Castle was a sure-fire winner. It was the tastiest of the bunch and the one I’ll probably order the most. The balance of tastes was perfect and it wasn’t overpowering at all, it kept the meat interesting all throughout the meal.

Umami Hambaagu House
Umami has a well-rounded drink menu fit to rival tambay milk tea houses and coffee shops with their selection. It’ll take many visits to be able to taste ’em all. With their meals, both Carina and Mikka got this Roseberry Fruit Tea. I’m not sure if it’s actually called that but it’s rose + blueberry tea with basil seeds. I’ve been a long time fan of basil seeds thanks to my Tita Ginger, they have this transparent jell-o like coating that makes them fun to bite on.

Umami Hambaagu House
After we wiped out the entire table, it was time for dessert and since we were pretty filled up, we all decided to get dessert drinks. I ordered the Green Tea Latte topped with Cheese and both Carina and Mikka got the Grilled Caramel Macchiato. As coffee drinkers, they were both satisfied with their drinks.

Umami Hambaagu House
My tea was excellent, kind of reminiscent of the Happy Lemon Rock, Salt and Cheese concotion but warmer and richer some what. The cheese top reminded us all of Lord Stow’s Egg Tarts. Mmm, I’d imagine it’d be perfect to drink on a rainy afternoon.

Umami Hambaagu House
Before we left, we took a bunch of pictures and admired the interiors some more. The owner, Charles was so nice, he gave us custom made Umami Keep Cups. I first learned about Keep Cups through Carina when she ordered some on the net from Australia. What makes it so cool is that it’s the first barista standard reusable coffee cup and it’s made from 100% recycled material. These ones all had the Umami Hambaagu House logo in the cup band. Awesome!

Umami Hambaagu House
Verdict: I know the place isn’t open yet but without even an edamame bean ounce of bias, I think it’s a definite must try. If you want to know where it is, you’ll have to comment and ask! The owner wants to try something else in terms of marketing it so the guys at Pepper.ph told me not to publish its location. I’m allowed to tell people though but just if they ask. Read Pepper.ph’s Umami post and win an invite to taste test Umami before it opens to the public.

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75 comments
  1. kasey said:

    i really loved the spirited away burger – the one with foie gras on it! ordering takeshi’s castle later πŸ˜€

    • Sarie said:

      I tried my friend’s Spirited Away, ang sarap nga! I prefer Takeshi’s though overall.

      You’re going back? I kind of want to but I am shy na because I’ve eaten there twice! HAHAHA How about you?

      • kasey said:

        i’m going back tonight hahaha! and probably some other time next week. /shameless

  2. Christel said:

    WHERE?? πŸ˜‰

    • Sarie said:

      Is this Christel B? I’ll DM you. πŸ™‚

  3. Randy said:

    Hi…where is Umami located? Thanks!

  4. Pauly S. said:

    Overrated. Tried it last night.

    • Sarie said:

      Really? I’ve tried 4 variations na and the were all pretty good. What did you have?

  5. teejsy said:

    I love finding out new places, I have some guests over from Canada and would like to bring them to Umami, can you DM me?

  6. Mrs.Vilma P. Ong said:

    Kindly tell me where is it located .My 3 big boys want to try it.Is it like Yabu?

    • Sarie said:

      It’s really different from Yabu because the burgers here aren’t even fried. πŸ™‚ Japanese burgers are also essentially unauthentic Japanese cuisine. There’s a variation of things to order here and it’s all just fun stuff. I highly recommend the Takes his Castle and their dessert drinks.

  7. Angelica said:

    Hello. I want to try this restaurant. May I have its address, please? πŸ™‚ Thank you!

  8. Ad said:

    HI, I’d love to know where this is. Please spill the secret πŸ™‚

  9. thebigbellykid said:

    I would love to try this! where can I find their store? I’ve been food hunting for weeks haha!

  10. Ed puyat said:

    where is the locations? thanks

  11. Candy said:

    Sounds really good! You did a good job reviewing the food and place. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to try this out, where is it located? Thanks!

    • Sarie said:

      Thanks Candy! It’s really a nice place to hang around in and I quite like that they serve comfort food. Email with its whereabouts sent!

  12. Hi! This looks really good! Saw other blog posts and the interior is so cute! My kind of place! Can you tell me where this is located? Thanks!

      • Sarie said:

        Hey, sent you an e-mail. I know they open around 11!

  13. hi sarie! i’m hooked just looking at the pictures. can you email me where it is? I really like to try their food.

  14. michael said:

    hi, where is this?

    • Sarie said:

      E-mail sent! The owner requested for us not to publish its location. Haha, I think they’re trying some new marketing strategy.

  15. Kim said:

    Hi, Where is this located? Thank you. πŸ™‚

  16. Alyanna Manching said:

    May i know where this is located? πŸ™‚

  17. Nix said:

    Hi! Thanks for your informative article πŸ™‚ Now I know what to try there πŸ™‚ May I know where is this located? πŸ™‚ Thanks and more power!:)

    • Sarie said:

      You’re welcome! E-mail sent!

  18. Arnold Galoyo said:

    Can you please email me where its located? I really wanna try it out πŸ˜€

  19. Arnold said:

    Can you email me the location? Thanks!

  20. abychu said:

    Hello, can you please tell me where this is located? Thanks!

  21. Mikster said:

    Where’s the exact location of this restaurant? I wanna try!

  22. glen tupil said:

    where is this place at??? i want to eat!!!

    • Sarie said:

      E-mail sent! Eat away and enjoy yourself!

  23. pattyacids said:

    Hi Sarie, may I know where Umami is located? I like to go on a food safari (!) πŸ™‚ thanks!

    • Sarie said:

      E-mail sent! Good luck on that safari!

  24. I want to know this!!nice review btw!:)

    • Sarie said:

      I appreciate your comment! E-mail sent. πŸ™‚

  25. Ana said:

    Happy we bumped into you! Will look out for tonight’s dinner review! Pls email add? Thanks!

  26. aarendal said:

    Hi please tell me the location of this nice hambaagu haus…
    aarendal@yahoo.com

    Thanks…

  27. Manny said:

    Hi! This looks really great. Can I know where this is? πŸ™‚

  28. Trixie said:

    Hope you can emsil me where this resto is!!:) i’d love to try it out!;) thanks!!

    • Red said:

      Hi where is umami thanks

  29. Bern said:

    Hello, do you know what time they close? Thanks!

    • Sarie said:

      I’m not quite sure but the last time I asked, I think around 11 or 12. I remember hearing they had plans to close late.

  30. Nice Little Robot said:

    Where where where? Haha! πŸ˜€

    • Donald said:

      Same! E-Mail the location please!

  31. Red said:

    Where is the location of umami? Thanks

  32. ejsupan said:

    location please.. thanks!

  33. Sarah said:

    Where is this?

  34. Edgardo said:

    Where is this located?

  35. May said:

    Hi! Location, please? πŸ™‚

  36. Rie said:

    Hi! The food looks great! Can you email me the location?Thank you (: Will try it soon πŸ™‚

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