Sinking into bowls of comfort...
Ramen joints keep popping up in Manila like mushrooms, and while I don't plan on trying every single one of them, there are a few---one of which is Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen---that make their way onto my list, mainly because I've heard good things about them.
The first thing you'll notice when going inside Ikkoryu Fukuoka in SM Aura, is the series of vertical wooden beams sporting beautiful Japanese calligraphy inked by an artist from Japan. These beams act as dividers throughout the restaurant, but there is also a story behind the writings, though one I've yet to hear.
The place extends all the way to the back where sections for function rooms, as well as booth seats, are available. There is also an open kitchen in the middle with a bar countertop for those who want to dine solo. Condiments are present at every table, and their house tea is served cold with a hollow feel like barley.
Two appetizers not to be missed are the Gyoza and Karaage. Nicely seared on one side, each piece of Gyoza is juicy and not oily at all. You can dip it into the accompanying soy vinegar sauce or devour it on its own; either way is good. The Karaage, on the other hand, is the best among those I've tried. An echoing crunch precedes a succulent piece of boneless chicken infused with such savory flavor, you can't help but take a series of bites. Crisp skin, tender meat, and nicely rounded out with shredded cabbage doused with a bit of sesame dressing and special mayonnaise.
I usually gravitate towards tonkotsu ramen because of its saporous pork bone broth. And with this being Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen's specialty, it pretty much boils down to just my preferred flavor at that particular moment. I recommend ordering the noodles hard to get that al dente feel.
Honestly, I had a hard time choosing which one I liked better -- the Ajitama Tonkotsu or the Black Garlic Tonkotsu. I like the Ajitama for its original hearty tonkotsu broth with a big slice of chashu, some bamboo shoots, wood ear, a large piece of dried seaweed, and especially that droolworthy ajitama, a Japanese half-boiled egg marinated with a special blended soy sauce base, that can cause your eyes to roll back in bliss. Albeit the Black Garlic isn't without its own endearing trait: a special roast garlic oil that can convert garlic haters into loving what this spice brings to the table.
There are other intriguing variants on the menu, some spicy while others with extra ingredients thrown in. A bowl is good enough for two people, unless you're really hungry and feel like you can down a large bowl in one sitting. Whatever you end up choosing, make sure you get an extra order of that ajitama. You won't regret it.
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
Spot: 2/F SM Aura Premier 26th St. cor. McKinley Parkway, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Contact Nos.: 478.0333 or 478.8333