With more restaurants specializing in ramen opening up faster than we imagine, it’s becoming clear that the world of ramen extends far beyond the instant variety we grew up on. Butamaru Ramen in Westgate Center, Alabang is another fitting example where you can expect to seize perfect components from a bowl of ramen. We took our turn to visit the place last Saturday not only to learn more about Butamaru by name (buta means pork) and how the ramen tastes, but also to discover how it serves chasu in round, melt-in-your-mouth slices.

Butamaru Ramen opened last September 2014, with Chef Jerome Lim heading the kitchen backed up with extensive training experience from Sugimura-san of Menko noodle company in Oita, Japan. From his account, we’ve known that achieving the right combination of ramen ingredients plus mastering the timing aren’t too easy. So when a ramen place nails itβ€”and elevates “good ramen” to “great ramen,” foodies would feel thrilled to try it. And great ramen is what we’re after here. πŸ˜›

Review of Butamaru Ramen (Westgate Center, Alabang)

Ambiance: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

Butamaru Ramen in Alabang is built with two floors, with the first floor housing the kitchen and the ramen bar and the second floor covering more of the dining area. The nondescript entryway leads to a wide staircase that whisks you upstairs into a likewise light and open space.

The place was smaller than I pictured, but it’s well-appointed and not at all cramped. The layout is a welcome change from the narrow counter of a traditional ramen shop. Tables and seating can be rearranged for bigger groups. Decors are minimal and I’ve nothing to complain. I’m a fan of minimalistic and simplistic design. Overall, the ambiance was inviting and cozy, ideal for families and a variety of diners who would like to have a quality but relaxed dining experience when in Alabang.

Service: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Servers were courteous and helpful. It was good for them to consider having to station at least one staff on the second floor to accommodate and reach out for customers’ requests and make sure that guests are well taken care of. Attentiveness was also not a problem. The staff was quick to provide recommendations of food on the menu.

Food: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…

Broth of ramen at Butamaru go through 16 hours of cooking, making it thick, sticky, and opaque. Packed with emulsified fats and proteins from the long-boiled bones of the pig, the ramen broth tasted solid and true to the flavor.

I had the Curry Tantanmen (PhP 350) for myself and tried a few sips of the Tantanmen (PhP 350) and the Shoyu Ramen (PhP 320) as well. I loved that the noodles are firm enough at standard (tip: you can ask for the noodles to be served firm or soft). After tasting the three, I had a mental note awarding Curry Tantanmen as the winner.

Made with spicy peanut and sesame, the Curry Tantanmen was exuberant and almost creamy in texture. It’s what you can consider an in-your-face food, as it’s extremely delicious, awash with curry powder. The fiery color made the ramen more appetizing! Minced pork was juicy and wholesome. Adding soft-boiled eggs (PhP 50) is optional but you’ll be happy you did.

Tantanmen tasted almost like Curry Tantanmenβ€”only without the curry, literally and figuratively. Delicious in all its glory, this ramen variant made my taste buds feel bombarded with fireworks of intense spice. The taste of peanut was more evident, ending with heat at the back of my throat. It can be requested to be moderately spicy, but we liked it hot! πŸ˜› It all comes down to your personal preference.

The soy sauce-based tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen was also a joyful bowl of food that when mixed with chasu had a smoky complexity to the already excellent soup.

If there’s one item on the menu that’s vegetarian-friendly, I guess it would be the Ramen Salad (PhP 280). It was fresh-tasting, with noodles and an assortment of vegetables tossed in black sesame dressing. Cut into manageable lengths, the noodles were silky, cold, and toothsome, and a little bit sweet. After mixing the ingredients together, the resulting blend was good, kinda counteracting the lingering tastes of the ramen broth and resetting our palates back to a refreshingly neutral state. πŸ™‚

With a decent amount of fat, Chashu (PhP 150) has to be the prime highlight of our visit. It was moist, sweet, and tender. This can be ordered as a side dish separate to your main. Each order comes with three slices of Butamaru roast pork.

If you’re more of a “rice person,” consider pairing the short order of chashu with Takana Chahan (PhP 200), which itself can be very filling. Think of it as a comforting respite with bits and slices of chashu and egg in between bold and full-bodied tastes of ramen, and eat with a leisurely pace.

To combine both chashu and rice in one dish, you’d better look toward getting Chashu Don (PhP 280) instead and appreciate more of the chashu served over steamed Japanese rice with soft-boiled egg. With a good balance of saltiness and sourness from preserved/pickled mustard cabbage (kiam chai in Hokkien, or hum choy in Cantonese) and the sweetness of chashu sauce, there comes more excitement!

Once we were done dipping out feet into Butamaru’s crazy-good ramen and chashu, we tried the pork dumplings next. Butamaru’s Gyozas (PhP 130) were like little pockets of heaven. All were cooked well and far from frozen bags you get at the grocery store. The regular gyoza came with thin pliant wrapper which embraced ground pork filling that’s light and juicy.

Arriving at the table upside down, the Cheese Hane Gyoza (PhP 150) showed a delicately crisp lace of starch formed at the bottom of the pan. When cut through fork, a layer delivered a pleasant crackle and the taste was exceptional. Too lovely! πŸ˜€

Filled in with aburi chasyu with special curry paste, the Curry Gyoza (PhP 150) was a more unique and interesting version that appeared more yellowish than the regular kind. The cheese hane gyoza may be better received than the regular gyoza, but the curry gyoza will also give a run for your money.

Price for Value: β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜…β˜†

The first-rate noodles served at Butamaru Ramen can make you totally forget about the instant ramen you used to cook and prepare at home. This ramen place can become a local favorite quickly, since prices are sensible for the good quality of dishes. My only qualm is the location because it’s far away from Manila. If you’re willing to drive to the south and spend maybe an hour or two on the road (and toll fee if you’re entering via the Skyway), then be ready for a seat at Butamaru Ramen, where you will be rewarded with slurp-ilicious bowls of ramen goodnessβ€”and more. πŸ™‚

Β 

CE405 Westgate Center, Commerce Avenue cor. Filinvest Avenue Alabang, Muntinlupa City
For inquiries, contact (02) 887-4255
Date Published: 03/12/2015
18 / 20 stars

About 

Digital marketing strategist. Health and technology freak. Food and lifestyle blogger with a large appetite for food and travel.

Related Posts

59 Responses

  1. marichu

    the place looks cozy and very nice to visit. gyoza looks yummy! bad thing the place is far from us..( sad face)

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      I guess it would be most ideal if you can plan a staycation getaway with your family in Alabang so you can visit the establishments that are placed side by side in Westgate Center without the hassle. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Yup! Try the Curry Tantanmen and Tantanmen. Both are super delicious. With flavorful meat, good mix of veggies, and a broth that isn’t too heavy, it will be hard to find something you won’t like. πŸ˜‰

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Everything we had was good, but if you ask me which to get in your first visit, I’d recommend for you to try out the ramen and one variant of gyoza. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  2. Otakore Literantadodist

    My mouth is already watering with just looking at the pictures you’ve taken from their restaurant. I go to Alabang rarely for some of my projects. Surely, when i visit the place again, I’ll pay a visit to this restaurant.

    Reply
  3. Marina

    I love restaurants that are bright and have a minimalist approach to decor and clean. This restaurant looks like just the place I need to visit especially as the food looks delish! The rice dish would be one of my first picks.

    Reply
  4. Carlo Olano

    Why did I look at your post at this odd hour. I am so craving for Ramen! What a thorough and excellent review! Well Done. πŸ˜‰

    Reply
  5. mindy

    This is totally random, but “buta” in Indonesian language means “blind” and i always find it a bit hilarious whenever i heard the words “butaramen” heh heh *silly me*. Everything looks so appetizing! Not a big fan of ramen or gyoza myself (although my hubby would go nutz!) so i would probably choose the Chashu don, i’m definitely a rice person >.<!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh wow I appreciate learning a new Indonesian word. Thanks, Mindy! Try the chashu don or takana chahan. The ramen salad is also surprisingly good. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  6. Caroline @ The Caro Diaries

    OMG! I should not have read this post on an empty stomach because now I’m drooling! The decor looks fantastic and the food looks even better! So glad you had such a great experience there.. I’m craving it now <3

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha. The same thing happens to me every time I read a food blog post or browse pictures on Instagram. πŸ™‚ Butamaru hHits the spot as a quick in and out to get your ramen fix. Check it out soon, Carol!

      Reply
  7. Beth

    I’m a huge sucker for anything ramen related… but it’s been so hard to find good ramen outside of Japan! So far I’ve found one place in Hong Kong that was pretty good– and no where in the US yet! I especially love the chasiu ramen too πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Ohh that’s sad to hear. Anyway, if ever you find yourself in Alabang and bump into the Westgate Center area, do visit Butamaru so you can identify a good bowl of ramen in the Philippines. πŸ˜€

      Reply
  8. mr_jeng

    ANG SARAPPPP!!! Now I’m missing our little food trip down south.

    I enjoyed the freaking chashu on rice.
    Believe it or not, I am so willing to go on a little road trip for that..

    Have a good one dear πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€
    see you soon :D:D:D

    Reply
  9. Jeanine

    Wow this looks like quite a nice place! Looks really nice and relaxing too! I’ve never tried any good like this. I need To branch out and try something new! Especially in a place like this. Who wouldn’t enjoy? Great review!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Thanks, Jeanine! Butamaru’s ramen noodles have good texture, chewy and tender all at the same time. If you love spicy food, the Tantanmen will serve you well. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  10. Jojo Vito

    i haven’t tried this resto yet… I like that collage of black and white photos. It creates a nice contrast on their wooden counter

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Oh yes, that collage instantly warrants attention of every visitor. I guess this is one good example of a classy interior theme which features not only a variety of color but also monochrome. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  11. Chubskulit Rose

    I love ramen if just about any kind. Those looks delicious! I remember when my husband and I first got together, a friend of mine teased my husband that the only thing I know how to prepare is ramen lol.

    Reply
  12. Cara (@StylishGeek)

    Darn I just had dinner and now I should have coaxed my family into having ramen! Your photos are so mouthwatering that I am craving that now. Oh well. There’s always tomorrow. πŸ™‚

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha right! Butamaru is a good choice to dine in when thinking about ramen. This is a win in my books and probably one of my favorite go-to ramen shops now. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  13. Marjorie

    I am so thankful for the GC I have more reason to come back hahaha… I am already planning to return, maybe next month with my friend. I couldn’t wait to share with her this fantastic ramen experience.

    Reply
  14. Amanda

    My goodness that ramen looks like art! I too, am a big fan of ramen, and I’m so glad it has become such a popular cuisine in Chicago. My boys love it too, so it is a fun dinner out. The restaurant you reviewed looks beautiful and delicious!

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      It’s a local restaurant that gives you a taste of what a freshly made ramen noodle soup will taste like. I bet your family will love the ramen as well as the broth! The soup alone is worth tasting. πŸ™‚

      Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Haha, for sure. πŸ™‚ Butamaru in Alabang definitely hits the spot if you’re craving some ramen and you won’t find anything else this close to the real thing anywhere in the city.

      Reply
  15. Karen

    I wanted to try the Curry Tantanmen however, I live far from the Alabang. Any branch near the north of M. Mla?

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Not now, wala pa. πŸ™ There was a hint given away that the owners are eying to open their next branch somewhere in Quezon City / Greenhills area.

      Reply
  16. Ron Leyba

    This place looks really relaxing. About the food, yes they are surely delicious but I think it’s quite pricey?

    Reply
  17. Natalie

    First thought when I saw the title was ramen noodles.. But i love the decor and that wallpaper collage is awesome. This food looks more like art than actually food for you to eat. Looks really great the noodles look so good right now.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      People can argue the price is expensive, but I think a regular bowl of ramen here is pretty average priced and the portions are satisfying. πŸ™‚

      Reply
  18. Algene

    OMG! I want to get a bowl of that Shoyu Ramen. It looks so delish! Sad to say, we don’t have a good Ramen place here in Davao.

    Reply
    • Rochkirstin Santos

      Give it a few more years and maybe they will open more branches across the country. If that doesn’t happen soon, consider booking a visit to Alabang so you can also try out other food/restaurants that tickle your fancy. πŸ˜›

      Reply
  19. Myrabev

    I love ramen, a friend of mine introduced it to me a while back and I am always up for trying new ones. The restaurant looks really calm, clean and inviting and the food absolutely delicious

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.