Ippudo Launches New Tantanmen, Find Out How it Measures Up!

IPPUDO Philippines has announced the arrival of their very own version of the tantanmen! Just like any ramen-obsessed foodie, I was thrilled! Let me give you a blow-by-blow of the experience:

TANTANMEN (PHP 495): Let’s start with the broth. The base of this ramen is Ippudo’s signature tonkotsu broth. I have to mention that I am not a huge fan of their tonkotsu versus other ramen restaurants. Because of this, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I really liked the way that their tantanmen broth came together. The combination of the base broth plus the deep, rich flavors of parmesan cheese and their aromatic tantanmen oil resulted in a complex, flavorful ramen.

The torched chashu deserves a special mention. Its smoky aroma added another layer of complexity to this dish. Having ground pork apart from the chashu was a nice bonus but I could easily have done without.

Other things in the bowl that I could have done without is the generous amount of raw red onions. The flavor was sharp and overpowering. Perhaps some spring onions or leeks would have been a better choice. These didn’t add freshness but instead were an assault to the palate. Apart from the raw onions, there was also a fairly large bunch of cilantro on top. I’m a huge fan of cilantro, so I welcomed the refreshing herb. However, there was a bit too much in my bowl. Coupled with the onions, it was a bit chaotic in my mouth. A smaller amount would have been better, as it would have served the purpose of cutting through the richness of the bowl.

A closer look at the raw onions and cliantro on top of the bowl of ramen.

After a few bites, I decided to take out some of the onions and cilantro to balance out the flavors.

The wavy noodles were thick and firm, just the way I like it in my ramen. These are definitely better than the straight ones they use in their core menu. When it comes to the spice level, I like how they went for heat in your mouth, but just enough to get your blood flowing. It was spicy, but not so much so that you can’t taste the other flavors.

I’m on the fence about the tantanmen but I think that I would have it again. I would have them leave out the red onions next time and put in a bit less cilantro. That way, I think I would truly enjoy this dish.

Moving on to the other new items on the menu, I have to point out that I’m happy that Ippudo has a selection of side dishes that are being offered aside from the ramen. I know there are ramen bar purists out there who would say that ramen bars must only serve ramen. Realistically speaking, you sometimes need other items on the menu. These come in useful when there are kids or there are people in the group who are not fond of ramen (God bless them). Perhaps someone just wants a light snack instead of a full bowl of ramen.

SPICY TUNA ROLL (PHP295): These rolls were generously topped with dollops of spicy tuna salad. Each roll has seasoned cucumber and avocadoes inside. The flavors were spot on and the serving was ample for its price.

Spicy Tuna Roll

TORCHED SALMON ROLL (PHP295): Someone in the development kitchen clearly got a new blowtorch and decided to use it extensively. That’s a good thing though, because these torched salmon rolls were the biggest hit on our table. The lightly seared salmon was still soft and moist. The fish blended well with the creamy Mentaiko mayo on top.
Torched Salmon Roll

NAGOYA STYLE CHICKEN WINGS (PHP230): These remind me a little bit of Korean soy-garlic glazed chicken. If you like those, I’m sure you would love these as well. Each wing was fried until crispy and the sweet, savory teriyaki glaze made me wonder how many of these I can eat in one sitting.
Nagoya Style Chicken Wings

It’s been mostly rainbows and butterflies in this review, so let me explain why I am only giving the restaurant 3.5 stars. First, I already said that I’m not particularly fond of their signature tonkotsu ramen. Next, the tantanmen was good but it had some major flaws (that can be rectified fairly easily). While the side dishes all passed with flying colors, it’s the ramen that should be the star. Lastly, if I’m paying Php495 for a bowl of ramen, it better be damn well near perfect.
See Ippudo’s full menu and other reviews on Zomato:
Ippudo Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato