We were at Conrad Hotel’s S Maison Mall for dinner last night because of the Toy Convention, and had the opportunity to try two of their restaurants: Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo Hotpot Restaurant and Tsujiri Macha for desert.
There were no reservations available given the weekend and the lines were particularly long. Paradise Dynasty has a 1-hour waiting list (I kid you not), China Blue was fully booked, and we were lucky to try Bijin Nabe after a reasonable wait.
The restaurant itself is surprisingly small. As you walk in, there are one row each of tables to your left and the right, and that’s it. There’s only one passageway from the entrance to the end of the restaurant.
Everyone was required to order the hotspot. If you ate there, franchise rules indicate you have to order their special chicken collagen hotspot (php750 for two pax).
For a table of 8, that means we are required to order (4) hotspot servings. That’s php750 x 4 = php3,000 right off the bat.
Yup, they look like taho or rubberized breast pads to me…
The set includes some vegetable, two types of mushrooms, tofu skin, a few pieces of corn, a row of seafood ball mix, and an order of noodles or rice which is served last with a free extra helping of collagen soup.
It looks like a lot but it’s not if you’re sharing for four people. The chicken inside the pot is only 4-5 pieces, barely enough meat to eat. You can’t order extra meat for the chicken soup as the option isn’t available in the restaurant.
As you can see, the chicken collagen quickly heats up and turns into soup. A small sake cup of soup is served to you by your waiter. He will also help prepare the seafood ball for you at your request.
The good news is, the soup stock is delicious. It’s rich, hearty and very yummy. Even my daughter who is a picky eater couldn’t help but slurp the soup. It’s THAT good. It’s probably one of the best chicken soup in Manila.
The bad news is, the hotspot itself is NOT enough to fill you up. You really have to order the side dishes to complement your meal, and order we did.
The Nikumaki was a good appetizer. It’s a rice roll wrapped in thinly sliced meat. We cut each piece in 4 pieces and shared. It’s delicious too.
The chicken with leeks was nice, but at php260, we were expecting bigger.
We ordered the original Chicken Nanban (php295) which was good. I especially loved the creamy egg sauce. Masarap I-ulam with plain rice.
Just a reminder though, each other is 5 medium sized pieces which again is not enough, unless only one person is eating this as a viand.
We also ordered the prawn fried rice which was the only disappointment for the night. The serving is small, the taste is bland, and it’s like fried rice served in a local carinderia. Please skip the fried rice and order plain rice instead if you wish.
We finished everything. Well almost everything as the fried rice was left half finished. When we were done with the hotspot, we were given an extra serving of soup and mochi noodles, and we finished all of that too. In the end, it was a decent meal with small servings. So even though every dish is still reasonably priced, in the end, because serving size is small, you still have to order a lot which will still rack up your bill.
In the end, we enjoyed our hotspot experience. I don’t know if it’s enough for u to travel all the way to Conrad for, but I do know Bijin Nabe is still better than many of its neighboring restaurants.
The service needs some work and the servings need to be bigger, but hey, you go there for the soup and it’s not a bad thing to make your customers wanting more. In the end, I will still recommend you guys to try, albeit go on a weekday when it’s not that long of a wait.
Recommendation: Go and try it. Bring extra cash.
Bijin Nabe by Tsukada Nojo
2/F, S Maison Mall, Conrad hotel
Tel: +63 2 809 1268