Restaurant Review: Mendokoro Ramenba (Salcedo Village, Makati City)
Published on July 11, 2016
My husband and I are big ramen lovers. When I tried Mendokoro Ramenba when I was still around six months pregnant, I promised Boyet that I would be with him on my next visit. After more than a year and countless of visits without him (haha) later, I finally fulfilled my promise. We were scheduled to meet our best friends for a planned staycation so my husband and I made a side trip before checking in to the hotel.
I set his expectations beforehand that the place can get really packed especially during lunch time. Unlike other ramen houses with tables and chairs setup for group of diners, Mendokoro Ramenba has a single ramen bar. It’s on a first come, first served basis, and there’s a big chance that you won’t be seated together with your companions. We arrived around 1 PM on a Saturday, and as expected, the place was full of people getting a much-needed ramen fix. As soon as we got our seats, our next challenge was to make sure that Zayne “cooperates” with us. Our baby is a cheerful one, but she knows when to cry! Parents who can relate, raise your hands!!! Hahahaha!
Aubrey almost killed me when she found out that we went to Mendokoro. To save our friendship, we went back the following day! We came back a little past 12 noon on a Sunday. We initially requested for eight seats since our dear two-year-old #FabSkye is already considered a “real” person because of her appetite. Haha! Surprisingly, there were seven seats available! Side story: I was holding Zayne who was sleeping soundly despite the noise around her. Boyet’s food arrived first so I asked him to eat right away. I only put down Zayne when my order arrived. We were both able to eat in peace. Happy endings are real! Hahaha!
In all of my visits to Mendokoro, I always find delight in watching the staff members in the open kitchen. Diners can have a glimpse of how the food is being prepared. I am actually quite amazed that albeit the chaotic vibe, especially when the place gets really crowded, the staff members still glide with ease when they move. Parang chillax in the middle of WWII. Ganern e! :p
On our first visit together, I had Tantanmen while my husband tried Shoyu. The following day, I had Shoyu while he went ahead to try the not-for-the-weak-hearted Tantanmen.
Every time I go to Mendokoro, I always get either Shoyu or Tantanmen. Because I’ve tried several ramen houses throughout the years, I find Shio a bit too subtle for my adventurous taste buds. Haha, ang echosera ko! :p But seriously, I think it’s about time to give Shio a try next time. I also did a mental note to try out their Tsukemen. (I am just making excuses so I can come back really soon! Haha!)
There are a lot of things going on in a bowl of this Shoyu Ramen. I felt like my palates were jumping out of so much excitement because each sip from the bowl is a unique experience. The milky broth is packed with so many flavors. Its aroma is a perfect match to its rich and garlicky taste. My husband thinks that the broth is overpowering, but I had to disagree with him. The mixture of the garlic, spring onions and sesame seeds definitely awakened all my senses!
Another thing that made their Shoyu extra special is the thick cut of chasu. When I first tried it, I was expecting the meat to be a bit chewy because of its cut. But the meat is so tender despite its thick cut. The grilled marks were also beautifully made which made the meat such an eye candy. The smoky flavor was also a treat to my palates.
My husband used to hate spicy dishes, but his taste buds probably got trained after being married to someone who loves anything spicy. I was actually quite surprised when he told me that he’d try Tantanmen. What surprised me even more was when he told me that he actually liked the Tantanmen more than the Shoyu! Oh, what love can actually do to a person! :p
I’ve had other versions of Tantanmen that are spicier than Mendokoro Ramenba’s. But their take on it is spicy enough to make my sweat glands work double time. I really like its pungent taste. The spices perfectly coat the melt-in-your-mouth ground meat and the thick noodles. I think that the slight hint of sweetness makes their Tantanmen more bearable to the tongue. It balanced out the strong and spicy taste of the broth.
Aside from the ramen, we also got to try their Gyoza. When we first came on a Saturday, we were seated in between four people who came together. A young man passed the gyoza to two older women. He said, “You gotta try these… one of the best you’ll ever taste.” Okay, believe what the guy said. I don’t need to say anything more. :p
On our visit the following day, my husband and I shared a piece of Tamago. The silky smooth yolk is perfect to match whatever kind of ramen you’re eating.
Aside from the food, I really like the ambiance of Mendokoro Ramenba. An officemate once told me that the owners of Mendokoro and Ramen Yushoken are the same. Ramen Yushoken is still on the top of my list. It has remained undefeated for years. I won’t be surprised if this is true because both Mendokoro Ramenba and Ramen Yushoken have the same vibe. That mabubusog-at-sasaya-ka-paglabas-mo-ng-pinto kind of vibe! :p
V. Corporate Center,
Soliman Street, Salcedo Village,
* All photos were taken with an Asus Zenfone Selfie