Dining Out in the Time of COVID-19: Hanamaruken + Elephant Grounds [2020.11.22]

Obviously, there is still a pandemic going on and staying home is still key to everything. I am sure though that we are all feeling the quarantine burnout and with everything slowly opening up, I have been more comfortable to see friends even if it’s just over dinner, brunch or coffee. Of course, while staying safe and make sure you are protecting yourself and others.

I think that these days, last-minute plans are the thing! With regulations changing constantly, it is more difficult for us to make plans. So when my friend Gelai suggested to hang out one Sunday and I was free, I thought why not just go that day. Postponing it to another weekend will just move it to the “not happening” pile. Been there, done that. Unfortunately, one friend couldn’t make it so it was just the two of us. We initially planned to have coffee at Arabica, but there was quite a queue outside since they are only allowing 20 people inside. We ended up scratching that plan and looked for another place instead.

I don’t really go out on Sundays because I know there would be a lot of people outside. And I was right, it was so crazy how many people were at Bonifacio High Street that Sunday. We decided to look for a place that’s not crowded, so we settled to have an early dinner at Hanamaruken in Serendra. It’s a cozy and cute Japanese restaurant and luckily, Serendra is less busy than High Street.


Just like other restaurants where I have eaten out since the quarantine / lockdown started, they do have safety protocols in place.

  • They have a QR code to scan for the health declaration form – which we didnt see so we filled out the paper form instead. Always bring your own pen!
  • They give you a paper bag for your mask, but I don’t need to use that anymore since my friend Irick gifted me a mask case.
  • Only one person per table. Very Ichiran style haha. And each person is set on opposite ends.
  • For ordering, either you remember your order from the menu they have outside the door, or scan the QR code to view the menu. They give you a small container with the menu to make your order.
  • They clean and sanitize your table first so you need to wait a bit outside while they prepare.

They are pretty strict at Hanamaruken – while we were in there, there were 2 foreigners who kept insisting to go inside without even filling out the declaration form and without being asked to come in. They ended up not dining there anymore, I don’t know if they got pissed and didn’t want to wait. But dude, just follow the protocols if you want to dine out, it’s not that hard.

I ordered their gyoza bowl because I was craving for gyoza! There was a lot of rice so I didnt; get to eat all of it but I finished all the gyoza and rice. I paired it with Pilsen. Can I just say though that I missed drinking beer?! I have not done so in a really long time! Seriously, I think the last time was during my trip with Mayne in Marinduque! Literally right before lockdown!

Elephant Grounds

We walked to One Bonifacio to have dessert at Elephant Grounds. This area is also not as crowded as High Street. They pretty much have the same protocols, minus the paper bag for masks. They had a waitlist when we got there, but we were fine with just sitting at the bar since we weren’t going to have a meal anyway, just dessert. That way, we didn’t have to wait to get inside.

One change from the last time I was here is that they no longer allow people to stay at the “stairs” area – it is now meant for those waiting for takeout. But we asked if we can take photos there and we were allowed since it wouldn’t take so long anyway.

Per usual, their ice cream is the best! Gelai ordered EG Latte and man, the coffee taste is damn strong! I loved it!

Ah, I guess this is another change – they no longer have cones, which is a bummer, but understandable since they would probably need to touch the cone and customers will end up eating it. I guess, that is easily contaminated than just the cups that will be thrown away after.

We met up at 5pm so by 8pm, we were already on our way home. It was always nice catching up – despite living so close to each other, I have not seen Gelai since March! She was one of the last few people I’ve seen last since the lockdown because we planned our summer weeks before it happened. I don’t when I will see my friends again, so it’s nice to see some of them even for a short time.

Talk to me~

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