If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I am huge fan of Ramen. This happens to be one of my comfort food because it has a little of everything. Though I’ve had a fair share of trying out the best and the underrated in the Metro, it still comes a surprise to me to hear for the first time about dry ramen. After all, the broth in the ramen is one of its winning components, right?
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptic at first. But what I love about food-tasting events is that they always have something new to teach me that I learn to embrace gracefully, and love later on. I love being surprised with the ever-evolving food styles that are uncommon. Such is the case with Menya Kokoro, the a globally-acclaimed restaurant for its best-selling Mazesoba. Mazesoba is roughly translated as “mixed noodles”. Instead of the flavorful and rich broth, Mazesoba takes its unusual spin from the well-curated sauces, fresh toppings and other ingredients.
About Menya Kokoro
The Kokoro Mazesoba was created by Chef Takuma Ishikawa in 2013. In 2014, it received the Best Mazesoba Award in Japan. It already has franchises in Japan, Canada, Korea, Singapore, Thailand and the first branch in the Philippines just opened this July, in Uptown Mall BGC.
Menya Kokoro is located on the third floor of Uptown Mall, together with the other modern restaurants. The space is rather small, the interiors not overly elaborated. The open kitchen is something that will surely catch your attention as you watch the kitchen crew playfully arrange the ingredients to create your bowl of Mazesoba. Chef Takuma Ishikawa is here in Manila to personally train the kitchen staff and ensure that the global standards are being adapted accurately.
The menu is also limited to a few items that can easily be remembered because it aims to emphasize on the authentic experience, highlighting the Mazesoba as the main star of the restaurant. We’ve had samples of the different variants of Mazesoba, Japanese appetizers and desserts.
In case you are wondering how to eat it, here’s the recommended way: Mix, Slurp, Add Kombu Vinegar and Oimeshi (a portion of rice to be mixed with the remaining sauce). It’s also advisable to eat it first without the vinegar, then try adding a bit later on. For me, it can go well without the vinegar. Contrary to the last step, I managed not to order extra rice. It was already heavy to the tummy.
Playing on the safe side, I ordered the Tokyo Mazesoba (Php 350) in its non-spicy version. This comprises of soba with ground beef, seaweeds and shallots. I forgot the other ingredients but it was nice balance of flavors and textures. It comes with a special sauce that when you mix together with the egg, the combined flavors explode in your mouth. The buckwheat soba noodles was chewy and for me the hardness was just right. I thought the Mazesoba will easily bore me out, but I was wrong. It was filling meal to begin with.
We also ordered the Takoyaki (Php 140). It was also good that it’s one of the best Takoyaki versions I have tried. The batter was cooked well on the inside and it had generous amounts of toppings such as the bonito flakes.
We had the Chicken Karaage (Php 200) too. It was a bit dry for me though. I was looking for that moist-inside-yet-crunchy-on-the-outside type of Karaage, but the mayonnaise and lemon at least complemented it. The chicken skin was notably crispy, if I may add.
For desserts, we had the Matcha Ice Cream and Black Sesame Ice Cream. (Php 90)
Here are the other Mazesoba variants: Cheese Mazesoba, Zenbu Mazesoba, Vegan Mazesoba, and Curry Mazesoba. The Vegan uses Tofu instead of the minced meat. If you want to have an overloaded bowl with all the toppings, I suggest you try the Zenbu. If you are a cheese-lover then you know what to pick.
Menya Kokoro sees itself expanding into more branches in the future. Owner Malvin Ang sees the expansion feasible as the operations are simple and easy to maintain, yet it sells the experience to the customers. A very promising business concept indeed.
Thanks Menya Kokoro for inviting us and Congratulations on your successful launch!