Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen in Manila (Shangrila Mall)

Many restaurants in Japan specialize in just one type of food. For example, "Sushi-ya" are restaurants which specialize in sushi. "Gyudon-ya" specialize in gyudon (beef donburi) and the list goes on as there are restaurants who specialize in soba, udon, kare (Curry), tempura and believe it or not, there is something called "Unagi-ya". For those who love Japanese food, you guessed it correctly! A restaurant that specializes in unagi (fresh water eel).

From last year up to present, there are a lot of new ramen shops that sprouted in Manila. They are considered "Ramen-ya". Every ramen-ya develops their own soup and that is considered the most crucial ingredient for a ramen-ya's success. In Japan, the average price for a bowl of ramen is around 500 pesos.
As me and my wife were walking around Shangrila mall's new east wing, we noticed a restaurant on the 5th level having more than a dozen people hanging out outside of it. At first, I thought that it might be a restaurant having a soft opening party as there were flowers outside. As we came closer, we noticed that they were lining up for Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. It was 5:45pm that time and they open at 6 so we just decided to line up as well since we became ramen fanatics after trying several restaurants in Singapore a couple of years back.

Got in on the first batch with ease without lining up but we got the last available seats. Love the wood accented interiors -- the place somewhat reminds me of a Japanese dojo house. This is their first branch in the Philippines and most of the other branches are scattered around Asia.

They have an open kitchen where you can see your meals being prepared. As we went there on the 3rd day of opening, they have Japanese chefs who flew in to train the Filipino chefs. They will probably stay here for a week or two according to the person I talked to. You can eat in their "bar" area which is a common thing to do in Japan.

Take note though that they don't allow to-go meals or taking-out your food leftovers. This is discouraged in Japan and as the server informed us, they still can't do that because the Japanese chefs are in the house. In short, officially, it's not allowed but let's see in the near future because taking-out leftovers is a Filipino thing.

We ordered the following dishes:
Ajitama Tonkotsu | Php 380.00 
The Aji-tsuke Tamago or the egg, I must say is consistent among all our ramen dishes. I'm not sure if my next visit would still be the same but for my taste, it's a bit overcooked already. I've tasted better Ajitamas and this is just okay. Same goes with the chasyu (pork). This is usually the king of all toppings. Other than the soup, this can make or break your ramen meal. It can be either baked or boiled in their own special mixtures. Ikkoryu's chasyu maybe their best bet in competing with other ramen-yas but it will take more than that to win customers. The bamboo shoots was not cooked well to. It has this "stench of a fish" (malansa) taste. Noodles was just okay as well.

Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu | Php 380.00
 Basically, this ramen is similar to the Ajitama Tonkotsu ramen only without the half-boiled egg and WITH a spicy soup. The soup is just okay too. I don't find anything special with it. It's not that spicy but do take note that I love spicy food and my tolerance for spicy food is very very high. I don't even know what I consider the spiciest food I ate. Let me think about that. (Not sure if Wasabi is a good gauge but I can eat wasabi. Just wasabi without anything else.)

Gyoza | Php 150.00
Not appetizing, eh? I don't appreciate being served burnt food. It just shows the restaurants attitude towards their core products which is food. The non-burnt version tasted good though. I would recommend this but when you order it, do specify that you don't want burnt dumplings.

Do I recommend it?
Well, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that they will still improve as this is their 3rd day of operations.The un-burnt gyoza was good. The chasyu in the ramen is their best asset. The half-boiled egg is just alright and the soup base is so-so. In conclusion, it's a good place to try out another ramen but unless they improve their soup base, other ramen shops will beat them fast.

Here's their menu: (Pardon the tilted photos I took of the menu)
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen is part of Yamagoya Ramen and Y.S.FOOD CO., LTD. The Company is headquartered in Fukuoka, operates over 40 restaurants in Japan, from Fukuoka (the home town) to Tokyo, Osaka and other cities. Internationally the group has over 150 restaurants from Taiwan, Thailand and China. Started in 1970, the franchising only commenced last 2010. 

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
5th level, East Wing
ShangriLa Mall

All photos taken using an iPhone 5

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