I really only got into the Ramen game a couple of years ago, when my friend Paolo Dy brought me to the controversial Ramen Mecca, Ukokkei. Prior to that, I never really appreciated Ramen. To me, I couldn't tell it apart from Noodle soup. It turns out, I was missing out on a pretty amazing dish for so long.
During a visit to Robinsons Magnolia, I noticed that Ramen Bar had opened a new branch there. I had seen Ramen Bar in Eastwood, but never got a chance to try it. One weekend when Rina, Baby Rain and I found ourselves in Quezon City, we decided to go give it a try.
The place is beautiful, with the sunlight coming in and filling up the room through the huge picture windows. The wooden interiors contribute to the "zen" feel to the place. The service was impeccable. The food came within minutes, and there was always a server nearby, paying attention to the customers needs. No need to yell out, "Boss!" or "Miss!".. Eye contact was immediately made and the server would come to your table expeditiously. Not to mention dishes were served at a very impressive speed.
First thing we tried was the Calpis Soda, which was described to me as "Yakult times One Hundred". I found the carbon in it a little bit too strong, so I couldn't really make out the flavor. It seemed like I was drinking straight up soda water. Rina seemed to like it, but mentioned that it was worth a try, but probably isn't something she'd order again.
The very instant I saw that Ramen Bar had Cheese Gyoza (P180) in their New Seasonal menu, I knew it would be something Rina would want to try. It took all of three seconds for her to beam up as soon as she read the menu.
Unlike the normal gyoza I'm used to, these dumplings were deep fried to a crisp until golden brown. I'm a fan of fried food so it was a nice change from the steam/pan fry combo of the regular Gyoza.
I love it when Rina bites into something and says "Oh my god". Like a classic Gyoza, the filling was packed with tasty meat and a bit of veggies. However, in a delicious twist, little bits of cheese was added, and melted into the meat mixture during frying. On the strength of the cheese, it got the thumbs up from Cheese Lover, Rina.
Though I knew a big bowl of Ramen was coming up, I really wanted to try their "Big Plates", which is Ramen Bar's Rice Meals. I ordered the Spicy Kakuni Pork (P185), only I asked them to temper the spiciness because of my hyper acidity, which they did.
My first impression of the dish was.. that its a little strange. There was a pile of crunchy noodles right on top of the pork belly, which was laid down on a bowl of steaming white rice. When they placed it down in front of me, Rina looked at me, saw the quizzical look on my face and asked, "How are you supposed to eat that?". I'll admit I was a bit puzzled, but my growling stomach decided I soldier on through.
The pork belly slices were amazingly tender. You could tell the meat was either slow cooked, or pressure cooked it until it became delicately soft, you could easily tear through it with a edge of a spoon. On top was a drizzling of chili sauce, which kinda reminded me of Siracha sauce.
I crushed the noodles as much as I could, and mixed it into the rice, giving me a double dosage of carbs. The toasted noodles were quite good, but Like I said, it was an odd pairing with the rice.
It was quite good, but I think it would be even better to eat it with the actual spiciness, because it would become more flavorful.
The Yakiniku Beef Rice topping (P165) was Rina's choice.. and she chose wisely. Thinly sliced cuts of Sukiyaki Beef, bathed in a lightly sweet sauce and placed on top of a bowl of steaming hot white rice. So simple, yet so good. Between this and the pork, the Yakiniku was the better one.
For our Ramen, I decided to choose from their Seasonal Menu the Shoyo 2.0 Ramen. Like I said, I wouldn't know what authentic Ramen is if I were bathing in it. I haven't tried the Beta version of the Shoyo Ramen, but I was told that the difference is in the broth, which this time was a mixture of both Chicken and Pork stock.
The soup on its own smelled fantastic, but I wouldn't be me If I didn't pimp this bad boy up with some extra Butter and Corn (P50)
I mixed the noodles around a bit to let the butter melt and the corn spread out, into the broth, and notice that they were remarkably firm, holding together nicely as I swirled it around the bowl. Like I said, I'm not qualified to say that this was an authentic Ramen or not, and I really don't care. What am I supposed to do, ask for its passport to determine if it's really from Japan or not? Al I can vouch for is it being a very delicious and hearty noodle soup. The meaty flavor was highly evident in the broth, and gave even the noodles a extra added oomph of flavor.
On the whole, I was very happy with my choice of Shoyo 2.0 Ramen.
My sheer curiosity commanded me to order the Ice Cream Tempura. I honestly thought this would be some sort of "Turon" with Ice Cream on top. There's no way they could do some sort of "Breaded Ice Cream", right?
Apparently I was wrong. That's exactly what they did.
There was some sort of fried, buttery breading around the vanilla ice cream.. and it was absolutely delicious. On top of the mountain of breading and Ice Cream was a strip of Choco flakes and a Wafter stick (Think "Champola"). Rina SAID she was full even before i ordered it, yet I distinctly remember her looking at the last slab of Ice cream and asking me, "Are you going to eat that?", before jamming it into her mouth.
This was Great way to top off a fantastic meal.
Despite the fact I don't consider myself a huge fan of Japanese food, I would suggest giving Ramen Bar a try, especially if you're in the market for that super popular bowl of Japanese noodle soup. Prices are very reasonable, with the most expensive items costing P380 bucks!
Next time I go back, I'm going to try their Shrimp Tempura, Kakuni Buns and Karaage!
Know your Ramen
Baby Rain choosing her order
With Maedhey and the awesome staff of Ramen Bar!
You have no idea how kilig I was, entering the restaurant and one of the waitresses said, "Uy si Baby Rain!"
RAMEN BAR MENU
RAMEN BAR SEASONAL MENU