Last week, my college friends and I planned to meet in the weekend for a quick catch-up. We’re all running busy lives now and it has been like a year since we gathered together. Finding a restaurant to dine in still posed as a challenge, but using the Zomato app helped me to choose one that we have not tried before and that’s pretty accessible for us all. Thus the choice: Kenji Tei Ramen House in Greenbelt 5, Makati City.
Kenji Tei Ramen House is a Japanese restaurant which aspires to broaden the Filipinos’ palate through a space where true Japanese flavors are brought in. I haven’t heard a lot about this establishment; there’s not much reviews posted online about its food quality, customer service and the like. So I came with an open mind, filled with enthusiasm and without expectations, just ready to be served with a bowl of Japanese ramen. 😉
Review of Kenji Tei Ramen House (Greenbelt 5, Makati City)
With its high class and modern ambiance, Kenji Tei Ramen House did a good sporting chance at taking a top spot for lunch-outs. It’s got the simple wood styling and straight lines of typical Japanese bistros, minus the loud music and “the attitude (those staff who usually shout the Japanese greetings).” I find it nice to be able to sit in a well-lit space without yelling and trying too hard to hear my dining companions. I especially liked the design of the ceiling matching with the counter. Overall, I’d say the place is refined, clean and well…date-worthy.
When I arrived, the waitstaff immediately handed me the menu and she was calm enough to spend a bit of time talking about ramen suggestions, noting that those with meat are out of my options. Serving time was quite quick. Another remarkable thing was that the waiters refilled our glasses with the house barley tea (mogi cha).
Kenji Tei Ramen House’s menu is straightforward, with only two pages listing Japanese food staples from appetizers to desserts. There was no whacked-out modern version of Japanese dishes so I guess their focus is on executing good versions of the classics. Or I could be wrong.
I ordered the Gomoku Shio Ramen (PHp 264, Regular), one of their best-selling signature dishes, composed of ramen noodles with vegetables, mixed seafood (small prawns and squid), egg and pork. I requested that the cutlets of pork be placed on a separate plate, for me to give away and share to my friends.
Slippery with a tender bounce, the quality of noodles used in Gomoku Shio Ramen was good. I thought the soup broth was supposed to taste crazy salty because of the “shio” word in its name, but it was not salty at all. Rather, in distinct milky color, the soup was characterless and bland. Aw. Other not very admirable comments on top of my head while slurping the bowlful were that the soup lacked in aromatics and the squids were too chewy. In short, I was left there wondering how this became a best-seller ramen. As highly praised as it may be, there is no way this ramen is going to my list of laudable food.
Moving on, I also had a few spoonfuls of their Wakame Ramen (PHp 248, Regular) — soy-based ramen which had a glimmering sheen of fat on top, with seaweed sheets that brought much of the soup’s flavor. The Wakame Ramen was clean-tasting and somewhat richer than the former. Although it hit the spot in a pinch, it’s not the ramen that’s worth traveling for.
Another soy-based ramen we tried was the Curry Ramen (PHp 258, Regular) topped with a mildly spicy curry sauce. It was good that the curry flavor was not super intense, and the spiciness of the soup can be clearly felt. However, I still feel it was neither mind-blowing nor life-changing. The spice was noticeable though, especially if you decide to go above “mild” and put chili powder to dominate the spicy choice on the zero to three alarm spice scale.
We’re done so far with the ramen taste-testing. Next to the “grilling session” was the Crispy Chicken Teriyaki (PHp 228, 8 pieces) — grilled chicken glazed in Teriyaki sauce, which passed our test. The chicken teriyaki was a revelation. You’ll be prompted to grab a bowl of rice (gohan) to balance out and complement the overwhelming, deeply satisfying sweet taste. In addition, the side salad with mayo dressing was refreshing.
Price for Value: ★★★☆☆
If you’re looking for the best ramen in the city, I don’t recommend going to Kenji Tei Ramen House. Sure, the noodles were not limp and I could sense that they were boiled to perfection. But the taste of the broth with the ingredients and the garnish were not enough to win awards for this house to be the next exciting ramen place to visit.
For the food alone, I wanted to give Kenji Tei two stars for “Price for Value.” Then again, aiming to be more considerate here, I give one extra credit for the friendly service and the cozy ambiance that enhanced the dining experience.
Ground Floor, Alabang Town Centre, Filinvest City, Muntinlupa City
For inquiries, contact (02) 5118980