Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Sizzling Ramen at Kureji, Malakas Street in Quezon City

If there's one thing that excites me is when I get to dine at a restaurant that retains the good ol' tradition in terms of their quality and taste yet one that is also bold enough to break the stereotype and continues to surprise their patrons with "something new."

Take the Japanese cuisine for example.

Immediately, visions of delicious and comforting bowls of ramen would come to mind, right? How about if I tell you that recently, I tried one that's served in a sizzling bowl. Yup! It's one thing that probably not a lot of people would imagine to have in a traditional Japanese restaurant setting. Thus, this is precisely what sets Kureji apart.

Situated along Malakas street in Quezon City, I immediately fell in love with the beautiful interiors of this restaurant. It has kept the structure of an old traditional Filipino bungalow-style home with rooms in split-levels and an old-school bodega (storage room) situated at the back of the house with a few steps heading down to this. While you won't be greeted with the typical screams of irrashamasei yet you'll surely still feel the warm welcome and enjoy the good service from the wait staff.

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Our lunch began with the Chicken Manila Gyoza (Php. 200) and boy, oh boy was this delicious! I love gyoza as this is my usual order every time I dine at a Japanese restaurant and this one gives a good Pinoy twist with the chicken filling and the annatto sauce which makes this a great starter. There's literally no need to dip this in any sauce as the gyoza itself was bursting with so much flavor. I loved it! I highly recommend this.

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Moving on, we have an interesting starter called the Tuna Tataki Taco (Php. 320). It's comes with a bowl of freshly chopped tuna sashimi mixed with avocados tossed in tuna sauce and served with nori tempura salsa on the side. One good tip that I got was to generously top the nori tempura sheet with the tuna, avocado and salsa. I guess it was also my fault that the photo taking session took longer than it should that the nori tempura wasn't as crisp as I think it should be. The tuna mix was quite mild thus be sure to add in the salsa for more flavor. Perhaps with a crunchier nori sheet, this would have made a better impact.



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No meal at any Japanese restaurant would ever be complete without tempura. Agree? Kids will love the Mixed Tempura (Php. 490) which consists of 2 huge prawns, 2 fish (kisu), deep-fried soft shell crab and an assortment of vegetable tempura.

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Now here's the star of the show, Kureji's sizzling ramen bowls. First was the Sizzling Tomato Seafood Ramen (Php. 420) which was Paul's favorite. It has a good spicy kick thereby giving the tomato broth a very full flavor. I love how they don't scrimp on their ingredients. One order gives you a good assortment of seafood such as salmon, squid, shrimp and kani as well as a generous portion of ramen noodles that's cooked in their spicy tomato chicken broth.

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My personal favorite was the Sizzling Carbonara Udon (Php. 420). I love it so much that I'll definitely go back for this. This was indeed a good east meets west creation where you get Japanese udon cooked in traditional carbonara sauce and topped with fresh egg, mushrooms and bacon bits. I love how serving it on a sizzling bowl gives the noodles a bit of a toasty, robust taste. As soon as it's served in front of you, quickly break the egg and give the noodles a good toss. I really loved this!

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Anonther favorite of mine was the Cheese Ramen (Php. 390). Oh how I wish more restaurants would be this creative! Served on a regular ramen bowl, what makes this so good is how the noodles are well coated in Kureji's special creamy cheddar broth and not that it's not cheesy enough, it's then further topped with more parmesan cheese and two huge slices of pork chashu.

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If rice is still life for you, you then have to try the Mushroom and Pumpkin Kamameshi (Php. 350). Cooked in their special kamameshi stock which I suspect to be made of dashi broth, we love the fragrant Japanese rice with bits of mushroom and pumpkin. In essence, this pretty much a meat-free dish and perhaps one way to get your little ones to eat some veggies.

For our drink, we each had a refreshing glass of Honey Citrus Soda (Php. 130) which I initially found to be a bit too sweet but as I allowed the ice to melt, then I got to enjoy this more. I love how generous they, once again, were even with the honey citron which we all enjoyed even after our hearty meal.

I got to admit that I was quite impressed with our meal at Kureji. Everything was pretty good and I love how they gave so much thought and details to each dish. My top picks would definitely be the Chicken Manila Gyoza as well as the Sizzling Carbonara Udon. I hope they'd soon expand to more areas in the metro. For now, these dishes alone are good motivations for us to take that drive back north hopefully soon.

*photos by Paul Ang

Check out Kureji at 78 Malakas street, Diliman, Quezon City. Call them at 729-4909. They also have a branch at Vertis North. 
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