The first time I've heard---and tried---cheese in ramen, and double cheese at that!
Outside, Mitsuyado Sei-Men looked like any other ramen shop, or any other regular restaurant for that matter. But, once you step in, that's when the magic happens. Suddenly, you're in some side street or alleyway in Japan, lined up with ramen shops, noodle carts and wooden tables balancing on cobblestoned pavements. Old Japanese lanterns hang from awnings and roof eaves, and there's even a bicycle hanging in one corner.
We started off with the Spicy Chicken Skin, which had a nice kick to whet the appetite. It was really good. The Chicken Karaage was this crisp boneless chicken, and the guys loved it paired with beer.
The gyoza was one of the best in Manila, albeit a little on the sebaceous side. Each piece was big and had an abundance of minced pork, where its juices oozed with each bite. The wrapper was comparably thin, and the seared part was a bit crisp, which was nice. The tempura, on the other hand, while also crisp and had a thin batter, was just your run-of-the-mill type.
The difference between the two dishes was that the Marutoku had Char-siu (tender slices of pork) and Aji-tama (Japanese egg), while the Double Cheese had, obviously, parmesan and cheese sauce instead. For the Double Cheese, the noodles were served al dente. On the other hand, for the Marutoku, we had the colder noodles, which was thinner, but still al dente.
To eat Tsukemen, grab some noodles with your chopsticks, dip them into the broth, and slurp away!
The Char-siu Ramen was also a favorite. It had these fork-tender huge pork pieces in a nice, warm, and comforting broth. Not as flavorful as the Tsukemens', but still good.
I just went gaga over these Japanese eggs, that I had to order more... twice! And I would have ordered again and again, if I had lost all my manners, which fortunately I didn't. Man, it was sooo good! You definitely have to try this! Served a bit cold, the golden yolk was soft and glided smoothly over the palate. The flavor was unmistakable, it was certainly not your ordinary egg.
I found the Spicy Miso Ramen too spicy. I love a little kick, but this was too much. I'd be more inclined to go for the Tan Tan Ramen, which was somehow redolent of spicy noodles with sesame and peanut sauce. It had the right amount spiciness, as well as nuttiness, giving it a more balanced taste.
I didn't care much for the Ae-soba noodles. The Seafood had these plump shrimps, while the Ika Sumi had bits and pieces of squid with squid ink sauce. Both were good and had some citrusy notes, but really took a backseat alongside the other ramen dishes.
I'm not really fond of squid ink so I found the Ika Sumi Ramen to be just so-so. In fairness, the broth was tasty and lacked that fishy taste, still it wasn't something I would order again. What I loved was the Hakata Ramen. It had a thicker broth, that was totally milky and creamy. I could just slurp on this soup for several hours! Which is how long it takes to make it, that's why the bowls are limited to just a few number a day.
After that noodle feast, next came the desserts. I loved everything from the sweet blue and pink shaved ice, to the coffee jelly and halo halo. The Cream Anmitsu was a treat with different sliced fruits, red beans and vanilla ice cream drizzled with a sweet syrup.
This was just one of the pastries offered by Yamato Bakery Cafe, which is right beside Mitsuyado, both owned by the UCC Group. Watch out for my post on more of their goodies.
I'm not a beer person, totally not. Even when let to taste the finest beer known to men, I still would hate it. The Kirin Beer had a light taste, that was at least drinkable for several sips. The Hitachino Nest White Ale, though supposedly had a sweet and smooth finish, I found a bit strong for my taste. No matter, I'm really not the person to ask about beers. I'd take hard drinks over beers anytime.
Mitsuyado Sei-Men is definitely one of the best ramen shops I've tried. I love how hearty and flavorful their broths are. Try to come a bit earlier in the evenings 'coz the place can get quite full, fast.
Spot: 22 Jupiter St., Bgy. Bel-Air, Makati
Contact No.: 511-1390