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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kichitora of Tokyo: Shibuya Ramen & More in Glorietta 5

One of my most favorite ramen houses in Manila has been Kichitora of Tokyo which I first got to try late last year. And while I'm fortunate enough that its SM Megamall branch isn't too far from my place, southies are now in luck as this gem has just opened its 2nd branch in Glorietta 5. Coincidentally, it also celebrates its first anniversary this month.
Kichitora of Tokyo Glorietta 5

Unlike its SM Megamall branch, Kichitora of Tokyo in Glorietta 5 boasts of a bigger dining space. Of course, it still has its signature design -- generally of dark-colored furniture, with sleek lines and walls accented with patched-up colorful kimono fabrics.

Kichitora of Tokyo Glorietta 5 Interior
Kichitora of Tokyo Glorietta

The restaurant's dining area is already big, but they also have a function room should you need a private space for meetings and intimate gatherings. There are also seats by the open kitchen, as well as an al fresco dining area. (Told you this branch is big!)

Kichitora of Tokyo Glorietta 5 Tiger Wall

And of course, there's also a wall which epitomizes Kichitora which stands for "lucky tiger" (Kichi means lucky, while tora is tiger in Japanese). If you've been to the SM Megamall branch, a wall with paneled tiger paintings might have also caught your attention. Personally though, I prefer this lighter rendition as it feels more Japanese as opposed to the other branch's seemingly Chinese vibe. /okay enough rambling

The Appetizers

Kichitora of Tokyo's menu was very limited back when I first got to try it. However, they now offer quite a good selection of items -- more ramen choices, rice toppings and even additional small plates for starters or as side dishes.

Gyoza (P150 per 5pcs)
✓ Gyoza (P150 per 5pcs.)
If you've been a long-time and consistent reader, then my love for this ramen shop's Gyoza should be no secret. You might think I'm being OA (over-acting), but I kid you not, I really did have a Cooking Master Boy moment the first time I bit onto this Japanese treat. While this time around the skin wasn't as delicately thin and crisp, it was still as enjoyable. With every bite, you get an explosion of succulent meaty goodness. Yum!

Ban Ban Ji (P195)
✓ Ban Ban Ji (P195)
I don't normally gush over salads, but the Ban Ban Ji is one salad item you shouldn't miss. It's a beautiful plate of greens with crispy wontons, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and super tender chicken chashu slices tossed in sesame dressing. Yup, this seems expensive, but those soft, succulent pieces of chicken are worth the price tag!

Chicken Karaage (Single P150; Family P250)
✓ Chicken Karaage (Single P150; Family P250)
This dish definitely surprised me. I'm not a big fan of Chicken Karaage since it's such a simple dish to make. However, Kichitora of Tokyo managed to impress me with these beautifully executed golden brown chicken pieces fried to crispy perfection. Every bite also unleashes a juicy and savory explosion with delicate notes of ginger. The next time I visit this ramen house, I might just order their Chicken Karaage Rice (P295).

The Nabemono

Another new offering Kichitora of Tokyo managed to roll out is their line of nabemono or hot pots, exclusive to this particular branch. They currently have 4 variants: Hokkaido White Miso Nabe, Hokkaido Red Miso Nabe, Beauty Collagen Nabe, and Chanko Nabe.

Out of these four, I was lucky to have gotten to try two.

Collagen Nabe and Hokkaido White Miso Nabe
✓ Beauty Collagen Nabe (P1,400; Good for 2 to 4)
Hokkaido White Miso Nabe (P1,250; Good for 2 to 4)
The Beauty Collagen Nabe may sound out-of-place, but it really does contain balls of collagen that makes the skin softer and smoother. It comes with meat, mushrooms and veggies which you simmer in a light and comforting Japanese 7-spice broth. I love the fact that I'm not only treating my palate and my tummy with this, but also my skin.

Kichitora of Tokyo Nabemono
An actual serving of the Hokkaido White Miso Nabe; Photo from Kichitora of Tokyo
The Hokkaido White Miso Nabe on the other hand, features a rich and flavorful white miso soup with meat, mushrooms, tofu and veggies. This is definitely a lot heartier than the Beauty Collagen Nabe, but this is another great hotpot should you want something to comfort you on a rainy day. By the way, I think you can even pair this with rice.

Shout out to Cheiz of Kichitora of Tokyo Glorietta 5 for patiently answering my questions regarding the Nabemono offerings! :)

The Ramen

There has been a few changes on the ramen selection since the first time I tried Kichitora of Tokyo in SM Megamall. So to get to try more, my friend Stacy and I shared not one, not two, but three orders of ramen. (I know, I know... We're such gluttons!)

Paitan Shio Ramen (P360)
✓ Paitan Shio Ramen (P360)
This creamy soup made from white chicken which is Kichitora's signature broth now comes available with 2 choices of seasoning: shoyu (soy sauce) or shio (salt). Though I think the latter is the same ramen we had last year, we just had to order it. And we definitely made the right choice. The Paitan Shio Ramen reminded me of why I love Kichitora of Tokyo. The broth itself was light, creamy and oh-so-flavorful with soft, tender and tasty chicken slices. The thin and firm strands of noodles on the other hand, stole the show again. I just love this al dente ramen texture. The best there is for me!

Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se (P420)
✓ Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se (P420)
We then had the Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se which is a ramen in a league of its own. I guess this is what Kichitora replaced for its macho ramen which we can't find on their menu anymore. It comes with the same white chicken broth but is infused with savory flavors of fried garlic oil. It also comes with uber-smoky pork chashu slices which adds more meaty goodness, and ajitsuke tamago which adds more creaminess to the bowl.

Tan Tan Mien (P395)
Tan Tan Mien (P395)
Another ramen variant we tried was the Tan Tan Mien. Using the signature paitan broth, it was infused with pure sesame paste which added a distinct nutty flavor, and dashes of spicy and fried garlic oil for heat and more savor. Although it's unfortunate that the toppings: minced pork, spring onions, bokchoy and sesame seeds, are nothing special unlike the Paitan Ramen's chicken slices, and the Zenbu no Se's chasu, this bowl undoubtedly makes its flavorful broth and chewy ramen noodles stand out.

The Desserts

One thing we regretted back then, was skipping the desserts at Kichitora. So to make up for that mistake, we tried the two available sweet endings on their menu.

Coconut Pudding with Matcha and Azuki (P150) and Almond Jelly (P150)
✓ Coconut Pudding with Matcha and Azuki (P150) and Almond Jelly (P150)
The Coconut Pudding with Matcha and Azuki is pretty much what its name stands for. It has a light, silky and creamy texture which oozes with subtle coconut-y goodness. The matcha powder albeit in small quantity, gives it a distinct matcha bitter note that blends really nicely with the sweet azuki beans. It's far from being overly sweet too which makes it a perfect palate cleanser at the end of a flavorful ramen meal.

The Almond Jelly on the other hand, is another light and far-from-sweet dessert. Despite eating a ton, we didn't have problems finishing this. I think we can actually down a dozen more of these in one go! The almond jelly itself is smooth, slightly damp and oozes with creamy goodness. It's also topped with slices of mango and strawberry.

THE VERDICT

Kichitora of Tokyo has made me fall in love with it again. Everything we had that day was nothing short of great. I can't believe that almost every one of the dishes we had is something I consider a favorite. I'm also impressed with how Kichitora has improved its menu. From serving only a few kinds of ramen, it now carries almost ten varieties, all with the same firm and chewy, thin ramen noodles that I oh-so-love.

While SM Megamall is still the nearer branch for me, I think I'll have to consider visiting the Glorietta 5 restaurant more often as I simply love how the place feels. With great food, relaxing and spacious ambiance, and prompt and courteous service, I'm happy to say that Kichitora of Tokyo still remains as one of my ultimate favorite restaurants.

Check out my first visit at Kichitora of Tokyo here!

Taste - 5/5
Ambiance - 4.5/5
Service - 4/5
Price - 3.5/5
Overall Value - 4/5


Kichitora of Tokyo, Glorietta 5
2/F Glorietta 5, Palm Dr.,
San Lorenzo, Makati City
Metro Manila, Philippines
(02) 555-1288
Official Website
Facebook Page
Twitter

Kichitora of Tokyo, SM Megamall
2/F SM Megamall, Mega Atrium, Julia Vargas Ave.,
Wack-Wack, Mandaluyong City
(02) 775-1100


13 comments :

  1. Good food plus the tiger wall print is perfect! Ramen craze it is!

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  2. Nagutom ako bigla, hindi pa ko nakakain ng ramen ever. Sana makatikim ako ng ramen and makakain sa Japanese resto habang hindi pa diet.

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  3. And suddenly I'm a fan of Japanese cuisine. Love to check out this place for real and eat without minding my effed up diet. Great post!! Everything well-said. xoxo

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  4. I want to try their dessert especially the coconut pudding with matcha and azuki! I always have room for dessert and I always look forward to that at the end of my meal.

    xoxo
    MrsMartinez

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  5. Wooow! Every food looks absolutely appetizing! I must say that the presentation is quite perfect! ♥♥♥

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  6. Love the kimono prints on the walls! Will visit this place in the future. I wanna try that Chicken Karaage, too. :)

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  7. And so we'll try the Gyoza here! Haha! The Paitan Ramen Zenbu no Se makes me hungry just by its sight. lol


    xoxo,
    Gelleesh.com

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  8. Honestly I haven't tried eating Ramen yet as in! Pero I would really love to try, it really looks delish besides it's my kind of food.hhmmm kakagutom!

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  9. I'm not really a fan of japanese foods but seeing your photos somehow made me change my mind, I love how you showed us the ambiance and it really looks nice I would love to try there Ramen and that Chicken Karaage aahh it really looks delicious. Will check this place soon, Thanks for this post as always very interesting ^^

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  10. hope i can visit megamall again..

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  11. I love the colorful kimono fabrics! So pretty! <3 Btw, I wanted to try the Almond Jelly, looks so yummy with the strawberry and mango on top! ^__^

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  12. nice place..especially kapag may ka date,,,:)

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  13. glad to know that they already have a branch in Makati :) closer to my place haha

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