Out of fun and creativity come excellence, and the food at Go-En, The Japanese Ramen Shoppe is a case in point. The venue may be “hidden” somewhere near Livestock, ABS-CBN, and El Cangrejo in Jardin de Zenaida, but when it comes to craving for real Japanese food and playing kendama, this is the restaurant to hunt down. Go-En does not tweak their menu for Filipino tastes but serves the best Japanese flavors to match the Filipino palate.
Now offering a lighter version of the full ramen bowl, Go-En ramen’s wow factor is down to high-class ingredients making up to a portion that’s only enough to keep you satisfied. This is following their realization that the regular-size bowl of ramen seems to be too large for one to finish. With the light version, there’s less noodles but with the same amount of soup as the regular, so one can finish a bowl without being so full that it’s hard to breathe.
The name “Go-En” takes its roots from the five yen coin in Japan. This coin is believed to bring good luck to any business and relationships. In the same manner, Go-En the restaurant looks forward to create and maintain closer ties with patrons through their cuisine and experience.
John Geron, Go-En Owner
We had lunch here right before our flight to Vietnam and we had a great time. 🙂
Review of Go-En, The Japanese Ramen Shoppe (Jardin de Zenaida, Quezon City)
Forming an artistic assembly near the entrance, manga, kendama, masks, and other toy displays are available for customers to get entertained. The most striking thing among all has to be the kendama, and it was interesting to learn that Go-En sells Japanese kendama and US kendama of all sorts and also distributes this unique traditional Japanese toy all over the Philippines.
Staffs can assist and teach you if you want to know some kendama tricks, but there’s also a looped video playing on the LCD TV that makes most passersby be drawn in by curiosity. This part of the dining room makes the ambiance feel more casual and animated. It’s also nice to try something a little different than just dining in a restaurant.
Go-En can seat 40 people at a time. Everything looked clean and neat, and the Japanese-themed paintings on the walls were a sight to behold. Polished floors and wooden fixtures complete a relaxing and intimate classical setting overall. The open kitchen at the back was also set up to attract an admiring crowd. Wi-Fi is available in the restaurant, but guests are encouraged to enjoy their stay while eating, playing with the toys, or reading manga.
The people here make you feel welcome. John, the owner, and the rest of the staff was very accommodating and friendly. He shared so many stories of his life experiences together with his partner for twenty years, the co-owner of Go-En, Marilyn. His love for his craft obviously showed and made us more intrigued about the things he’s passionate about. Orders came out fast as they should.
First things first: the ramen noodles (imported from Japan) were awesome. But that’s no big surprise. Go-En cooks the ramen upon order and serves them with no delay so they come out perfectly springy with just the right amount of chew. We had a consistent type of thick and curly noodles on all four bases, and it’s worthy to note that they’re markedly better than any dehydrated ramen on the market.
Kogashi Shoyu Ramen Delight is a soy-sauce based ramen with dark smoky flavor, thanks to the black peppercorn that gave it a more comforting roasted taste. The pepper gave it mostly a nice kick and compote for a delicate, warm spiciness. The aroma was remarkable as well, but there’s no substitute for the fragrance of freshly ground pepper.
Wonton Tomato Ramen Delight was not as exciting but edible nonetheless. Its broth was tasty and not too “nakakaumay,” but I’m just not a fan of tomato taste when it comes to ramen. It felt less OMG and more just merely like OK.
Cheese on ramen? Yes, please. The great thing about the Cheese Ramen is that the cheese strings were not stretchy and once melted as part of the broth, they assemble the flavors in your mouth. Bam! 😛 With corn and a mound of minced pork, and moyashi, the miso-based soup is soul-warming, definitely a hit for first-timers in Go-En.
The Tantanmen Ramen was made with local pork and organic eggs. It had an exquisite richness of sesame I expected from a really good bowl of tantanmen. With a little bit of spiciness, this ramen will knock your socks off.
If you’re a fan of plenty of heat, Mabo Ramen must be right up your alley. This is the flavor to grab when the weather takes a dip. When red pepper on mabo dried up, the soup got redder and looked scarier. I could never slurp it fast enough because it was extremely hot for me. For a few minutes, I thought my mouth was on fire! :O
At Go-En, you have the liberty to adjust or increase the heat as needed with these condiments on the table.
Japanese-style Karaage (boneless chicken), the perfect snack to eat with sake or beer, was super crispy, juicy, and just crazy delicious even without the dip. Eat it with or without rice, and you can’t go wrong.
For the meat-shy, Go-En Ramen also offers a number of pleasing alternatives. One of which we tried was the Sakana Donburi, which is simply fried fish fillet and rice. It’s a decent choice but not something that I could have more than a couple bites.
For the desserts, we had the Matcha Mochi whose center was made up of vanilla ice cream and the homemade Matcha ice cream (by the scoop). Both were sweet, dense, and creamy, with a subtle green tea taste. These were very refreshing and ideal treats to complete an awesome meal at Go-En. Thumbs up! 🙂
Price for Value: ★★★★☆
Go-En is not your ordinary Japanese restaurant. The setting is done up with an old charm and there’s a sense of gameplay in the air. Go-En can be heaven for ramen lovers, as it presents really good bowls of ramen that can almost make you cry tears of joy. This is one of those notable Japanese restaurants in Quezon City where you’ll have a memorable experience from the moment you sit down and not faint when the bill arrives. It’s not upscale and price aren’t too expensive but just fair. 😉 Budget is PhP 200-300 per head.