I’m not really a ramen person, which is why despite the popularity of Ramen Yushoken, I’ve never gotten enough motivation to venture into the southern part of Metro Manila just to try their legendary bowl of noodles. But I’m now working in Makati again, and our office is near a ramen bar owned by the same guys behind the Alabang legend. So the only excuse now, really, is the budget.
The restaurant in question is Mendokoro Ramenba, a serious ramen establishment for walk-ins only (that is, it doesn’t accept reservations), which makes dining here during lunch and dinner hours a test of patience. Still, once you’re seated, you’re guaranteed of an experience that’s as close as they get in Japan, the owners say. The ramen shop, which opened in late 2014, has a bar-seating setup around the open kitchen. The menu does away with many other Japanese items and focuses on a few select ramen variants, as well as a couple of side dishes.
In a stormy afternoon, a friend and I visit the place to try a couple of bowls. The shio ramen is a belly-warming series of exquisite but simple tastes. A slice of pork brings a flavorful richness to the soup, and sesame seeds add crunch.
The tantanmen is the hands-down winner, made with thick noodles and a delicious spicy miso broth.
We accompany the ramen with an order of gyoza, which comes with a dipping sauce. Since we get lost in our ramen, the taste of gyoza hardly registers in memory.
Few things can satisfy in a gloomy afternoon as much as a good bowl of ramen, and Mendokoro provides the rare opportunity in the Makati Central Business District to get one.