KITSHO Restaurant — the newest, most welcomed destination for all these Japanese food-lovers.

With a cozy Sake Bar too!

At the Traders Hotel (across from the Cultural Center).

Artificial cherry trees abloom with pink blossoms, as though springtime in Japan, greeted the opening-night guests at the Kitsho hallway and foyer last week.

There was for me this feeling of déjà-vu.

The ambiance was so reminiscent of a joy of a restaurant at a visit to Japan a long time ago.

I had four days in the exotic city of Nikko, and every dinner was at a delightful restaurant next to the hotel, great ambiance, excellent food.

The dining room, earth color — beige, gray, silver, brown, bronze dominated the interior of that Nikko City restaurant.

Everything was angular, mondrian, very Japanese.

And the KITSHO — meaning delight — of Manila is just as beautiful, traditional, contemporary.

The dining room which can seat 90 is done the same angular design in earth colors, with booth and lounge seats.

At one side by the extensive sushi bar is a giant aquarium.

At the opposite end of the dining room is the show kitchen.

I watched a chef intense at his precision job of trimming to perfection charcoal grilled wagyu steaks.

All portions not meeting his gourmet standard were trimmed away, keeping only the choice pieces, to be prepared as wagyu teppanyaki.

A dozen chefs take care of the food preparations; another dozen wait on guests.

The service staff have that expression and attitude of "Irashaimasu" — please come in, welcome!

Very efficient, polite, attentive.

Four private rooms feature collapsible walls to convert the space into one large area, ideal for intimate gatherings that can seat up to 20.

Inauguration night’s menu: Sushi and Sashimi Moriawase (assorted); Hotate Karashi Sumiso Gake (scallops in miso/vinegar); Tori Jibuni (braised chicken); Chawanmushi (seafood in egg white); Salmon Tartaryaki (grilled); Wagyu Teppanyaki; Kintsuba (red bean cake).

KITSHO’s Japanese Executive Chef Masahiro Mizumoto grew up in the kitchen of his father who owns and runs a Japanese gourmet at the Japan Town in Makati.

Under the tutolege of his father, young chef Masahiro intricacies of Japanese food preparations and brings these signature dishes to KITSHO:

Raw Lapu-Lapu and Lobster Sashimi; Buta Kakuni (braised pork belly); Scallops in Uni; Sea Urchin Tempura; Grilled Tongue Misoyaki.

Trader’s Hotel is owned and managed by the Hongkong-based Shangri-La hotels & Resorts under the Shangri-La, Kerry and Traders brands (30,000 rooms inventory) in 14 locations in the Middle East and Asia, with planned projects in almost a dozen countries.

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