This is a rather late post on the pre-opening dinner I attended for Ippudo Philippines’ first branch in SM Megamall last September. Anyway, it was one of the most raved about restaurant openings by celebrities and social media personalities alike. Maybe Manila is really ramen-crazy or Ippudo had an excellent publicist but having tried it myself, I can say it deserves all the buzz!
Ippudo’s maiden branch in Manila is located on the third level of SM Megamall’s newest & hippest wing called Mega Fashion Hall. It’s a 200 square meter space and seats approximately 79 people.The design is very hip and classy.
My friends have been telling me that they’ve been trying to eat at Ippudo but the lines are always long! I feel lucky to be among those invited to taste it beforehand, but it seems I want more of the ramen goodness. You see, I was only able to taste one variety out of three – the Akamaru Shinaji ramen. They also served five kinds of their side dishes and for sure, these were enough to fill me up….
Here’s how my ramen bowl looked like when it was first served. Akamaru Shinaji is a more modern interpretation of the original Hakata-style ramen. The traditional pork bone broth (tonkotsu) , which is simmered for hours to give it richness, is blended with miso paste and garlic oil. The noodles used are thin and toppings include kikurage (mushrooms), spring onions and my favorite chashu or pork belly slices.
On the other table I espied Shiromaru Motoaji which is the original ramen Ippudo is known for. This one has a more milky appearance.
I enjoyed my bowl, though am dying to try Ippudo’s Karaka-men since I like spicy stuff. Raincheck on that one! In the meantime, I was thrilled to find that the menu of Ippudo Philippines is quite long so there should be a lot of reasons for diners to keep coming back.
Of the side dishes served, my favorite was the Curry Cheese Harumaki, if only because it combines two of my favorite things, curry plus cheese, not to forget lumpia! haha. I think I can finish six of these in one sitting.
A nicely-done gyoza will always please.
Ippudo’s pork bun is worth trying, but I still prefer Tim Ho Wan’s version with the sweetish, flaky bread.
What makes this tamago special is the mayo dip.
The vegetarian or health-conscious will like this appetizer mysteriously called Goma-Q. The crispness of cucumber slices is combined with chili, some oil & other seasonings to make one delightful and simple dish.
Verdict: my favorite is still Ichiran but it’s not open in Manila. Individual tastes vary and Ippudo is definitely a contender for the best ramen in town. Congratulations on your launch in the Philippines.
3F Mega Fashion Hall
Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong City
Tel. No. (+632) 470-1837