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James, my husband asked me to check for any interesting restaurant where we could have lunch. I resorted to my old friend Google Maps for this. I thought I must look for a place which we had never been to before and somewhere interesting so I can write an article about it.
It didn't take a few minutes before I decided we eat Japanese cuisine instead. I found Umaya Japanese Restaurant and its location is just nearby where we were at that time - Liteport!
Liteport is a very familiar place as there's a favorite restaurant which we always dine in when we are in the city. I believe I have not shared it here yet but it's The Buzzz Cafe of Bee Farm Bohol. Umaya is just on the other side and can easily be found upon entry to the establishment. We found a parking space just in front of the restaurant which was a perfect spot!
"Umaya", according to some online resources means stable and nihongomaster.com confirmed this with additional meanings like roof, house, shop, dealer, seller.
There's a thermometer outside as well as a contact tracer form that I filled up. My husband asked if we could bring a toddler and they nodded and I could see through the mask that the staff smiled. They also greet all customers upon entry with some Japanese greeting which I didn't understand but I know they were kind of welcoming the guests. As guests also go out of the restaurant, they'd make another greeting, I was expecting a "Sayonara" but no, it was a different one.
Going inside, I already smelled the sweet aroma of the diffuser that was placed in the corner. There are bamboo plants too at the entrance. The interiors look very Japanese with the staff wearing their Yukata or Kimono, I can't distinguish though but they were wearing traditional Japanese garments. I also noticed they have hung some of these costumes too next to our table and I realized after checking their social media page that they allow guests to wear them too but of course, due to the pandemic, it isn't a good idea to wear one, it could have been a great opportunity because when we went to Tokyo last 2019, I had it in our to-do list to rent a Yukata for remembrance but because of some circumstances, we were not able to do that. But, maybe in the future, we will surely make sure we can have a family picture wearing traditional Japanese Yukata.
Japanese restaurants are always like this, small and tight, they make every small space useful, it reminded me of our Airbnb in Tokyo, the room was just enough for us but it was also equipped with spaces that were turned into storage. The shower was small too but very efficient. And when we dined at Ichiran Ramen in Shibuya, our individual space was just enough for us to move a bit and this was the case as well with Umaya. I must say, it is not very good for energetic and active toddlers.
Matti asked for milk while we were waiting for our orders and it was very hard to cradle him while sitting in their narrow chair or bench. I had to position myself at a weird angle just so I won't squeeze my baby between the table and the bench. It was a very uncomfortable experience!
I went straight to order a Shoyu Ramen, California Maki, Tori Karaage, Tonkatsu, Chicken Katsu, and Gyoza. This would be good for the five of us, we also ordered a matcha shake for James while the rest of us ordered just soda in a can.
I made a mistake with yesterday's article when I said I compared it with Tonkotsu Ramen while I ordered Shoyu instead. I apologize for that.
The pricing was understandable, although I know we could have paid for a smaller bill in another restaurant, I want my mother to also experience dining at a Japanese restaurant. In the future, I want to also bring my father along. We paid Php 1900+ for the entire meal.
They also have complimentary tea that can be served either hot or cold and we requested it cold because we have Matti and he might be pulling things from the table, we don't want to have accidents.
According to my mother, the taste is just okay, nothing exceptional. Also the ramen, she said it just look like normal noodles like that in instant packs to which I laughed. She loved the Gyoza though and I agree, it was good. None of our companions tried the California Maki, so it was just my husband and me. Matti ate some noodles too and since we brought some banana bread for him, that's what he ate for lunch together with some servings of the ramen and the rice from the maki.
Overall experience was okay and satisfactory at Umaya Japanese Restaurant. The staff were accommodating and are fast in attending to our requests. The serving time was also not that long, the ramen was served steaming hot and we were trying our best to move it away from Matti, good thing no accident happened except for my eye bag which was hit by Matti with the chopsticks.
One of the staff also asked to take photos of us to be posted on their social media page. At home on Sunday, I checked their page and we indeed have been featured.