Se­ri­ous meets crazy in this hip Ja­panese pub

Real Living (Philippines) - - Get Inspired Rooms For Inspiration - pho­tog­ra­phy HANS FAUSTO styling DAGNY MADAMBA & TALA SINGSON words BUB­BLES SAL­VADOR

There is no lack of good food and great am­biance in Hamaru Yak­i­tori and Sushi, lo­cated at The Food Hive in Que­zon City. “Masarap

yung food dito sa Q.C., but we think puro iconic na yung mga din­ing places like in Tomas Mo­rato and Ti­mog. Ku­lang ang com­bi­na­tion of am­bi­ence and food,” says Therese Lar­roza, who co-owns Hamaru with Tadeo Chua. And what bet­ter way to com­bine both than to open a Ja­panese restau­rant? Or, to be more pre­cise, an iza­kaya, a kind of Ja­panese pub that of­fers a va­ri­ety of dishes in small por­tions paired with a se­lec­tion of al­co­holic drinks.

When in­te­rior de­signer Paolo Juan Sayo was re­search­ing about the iza­kaya cul­ture of Ja­pan, he dis­cov­ered that no two iza­kaya restau­rants are the same. So af­ter study­ing the tra­di­tional de­sign, cul­ture, arts, and life­style, he came up with his own take on iza­kaya. “Us­ing to­day’s trend, I de­signed Hamaru by upcycling ob­jects to cre­ate a hip and mod­ern pub. It’s a cross­over be­tween tra­di­tional Ja­panese ar­chi­tec­ture with its mod­ern coun­ter­parts,” Paolo ex­plains.

The very ob­vi­ous Ja­panese el­e­ment in the restau­rant is the mu­ral of a samu­rai made by artist Re­nee Ara­bia. That, and the pre­ci­sion with which some of the hand­made de­tails were ex­e­cuted. “But at the same time, may makikita ka rin na pagka-crazy rin

ng Ja­panese. Yung sa taas, me­dyo chaotic

na yung it­sura,” says Therese, re­fer­ring to the twistable pipes that hold the light bulbs hang­ing from the ceil­ing.

“The layer-on-layer de­sign keeps the restau­rant in­ter­est­ing. The clut­ter may look busy, but it is well cal­cu­lated with equal mea­sure­ments to keep its visual bal­ance,” adds Paolo.

This uni­fied look ex­tends be­yond the in­te­ri­ors. The sushi boards, for in­stance, are tra­di­tional wooden planks mod­ern­ized to in­clude slots for the chop­sticks and dip­ping sauce. This makes it easy for guests to hold their plates while stand­ing and min­gling, which is the con­cept for a mod­ern iza­kaya. A bar area on the sec­ond floor al­lows guests who are din­ing alone to eat or drink while watch­ing a lounge act down­stairs.

Tadeo says, “Part of the cul­ture of iza­kaya yung hindi awk­ward pumunta alone. Lag­ing may place na for one lang.”

When Hamaru opens at lunchtime, the vibe is more fam­ily-friendly, says Tadeo. In the af­ter­noon, it trans­forms into a co­zier din­ing space as sun­light casts through the geo­met­ric de­cals on the glass wall. Hamaru changes into a late-night haunt by way of ad­justable or dimmable lights, which con­trol the am­biance. Paolo de­scribes, “The red neon light is set to open when the night gets deeper, and it changes the mood of the restau­rant into a hip iza­kaya. By ton­ing down the lights, play­ing with shad­ows, we cre­ate sce­nar­ios that cap­ture at­ten­tion and de­tail to make for a beau­ti­ful din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

(OP­PO­SITE PAGE) The bar area show­cases con­crete, wood, and metal el­e­ments, but the dis­tressed counter with de­cals and bar para­pher­na­lia on dis­play give it a dis­tinct feel. (CLOCK­WISE, FROM TOP) Hamaru is meant to be a space for so­cial­iz­ing, din­ing, and re­lax­ing, and the de­sired ex­pe­ri­ence is achieved through visual bal­ance and well-or­ches­trated light­ing. On the sec­ond floor, there are couch seats lined up against the wall for those who plan on stay­ing a while. Tak­ing ad­van­tage of the high ceil­ing, th­ese in­dus­trial pipes mir­ror the track lights at the bar, and can be ad­justed ac­cord­ingly.

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