Being named after one of the special wards of Tokyo, Shinjuku Ramen House has some big shoes to fill. But this virtual institution in the restaurant front is more than capable of meeting big expectations and big appetites. I remembered eating at their rather non-descript branch in Makati Avenue years back and know from memory how good the food was.
Their other Makati branch was also rather old and non-descript until it got a major renovation some months back. As part of the Little Tokyo complex, it gets immediate attention from passersby since it is located along the busy thoroughfare of Pasong Tamo, at the much-coveted corner where one turns before heading off to Makati Cinema Square. At certain times of the day, the parking lot is full and the restaurant plays host to a mixed clientele eager to taste their authentic ramen and other Japanese fare.
The façade and the interiors
Lagal[og] said: I pass by this corner most days of the week and by golly, the renovated Shinjuku façade is really something, especially at night. It now looks like a very upscale restaurant, with warm uplighting and a stucco-like finish. From the outside, the interiors glow with warm lighting, inviting the passersby to come in and try the food.
Ironwulf said: From the outside, the interiors have a wide spacious feel inviting us in. It has a modern Japanese motif of dark brown, white and red with touches of organic design such as the bamboo sticks strips on the tables which make them look very elegant. The owner also has some photographs he took himself hanging on the walls. The scenic photographs from Japan and Palawan add a sense of atmosphere to the place.
Lagal[og] said: I never fail to order gyoza in all Japanese eating places I go to. But I must say the Gyozas in Shinjuku are the best. I never thought I’d describe gyozas as melt-in-your-mouth for that description seems to fit cakes and chocolates better. But biting into Shinjuku’s Gyozas, the soft and moist wrapper seems like thin pastry crust that melts with every bite. The delicious filling inside releases a delicate flavor that harmonizes with the sauce. The Gyoza alone is very tummy-filling.
Ironwulf said: The Japanese Gyoza has been a staple dish on any Japanese restaurants so we didn’t miss out on an order of this dumpling. Their gyozas are pan-fried with the dough wrapper slightly moist but with a golden brown color on one side. Taking a bite, I enjoyed the slight crisp texture on the fried side and the soft one on the other. Sinking your teeth deeper will take you to a soft, flavorful and well grounded mixed meat and vegetable filling that truly melts in your mouth. This is probably the best gyoza I have tasted so far.
Lagal[og] said: For the main course, I opted for the Gekikara Ramen. I’m a big eater but even I was overwhelmed by the size of the serving. The bowl was humongous. But the soup stock was really, really excellent, with the deep satisfying flavor of pork and selected condiments – you know it was steeped for quite sometime as each spoonful was full of flavor. It was also chockfull of vegetables and pork slices so it’s very, very filling. I think I missed out on merienda that Sunday because my tummy was so full.
Ironwulf said: I’m on the spicy side so I ordered a huge bowl of Mabo Tofu Ramen. The dish is inspired by one of my favorite chinese spicy dish, the Mapo Tofu so I was interested to try it. The ramen was steaming when served, filling a delicious aroma in the air. The soup has fiery color as I expected with cubes of tofu, grounded meat and noodles swimming under. The soup was rich and spicy but not as spicy as the original mapo tofu I tasted. Still it was good enough to render flavor to the tofu and lean ground beef they used. The noodles were just right with flavors easily seeping through each strand.
Lagal[og] said: The eating places we’ve tried at the Little Tokyo complex all offer authentic Japanese fare and that being said, the prices tend to be on the high side. It’s money well spent anyway as the food is really, really excellent and the service is very courteous and efficient.
Ironwulf said: Like Og said, prices is on the high side but the ramen servings are big enough to share. In Shinjuku, you get what you pay, just stay away from their forgettable coffee jelly though.
Shinjuku Ramen House
2277 Chino Roces Avenue (Pasong Tamo) Makati City (beside Makati Cinema Square) • (02) 8191242 • Open from 10am – 8pm • Accepts major credit cards
(with other branches at Makati Avenue and West Avenue, Quezon City)