Normally, my idea of having Japanese food is heading to Tokyo Tokyo, or chomping on sushi from a stall in a minimall, or pouring scalding water into Cup Noodles, so you’ll understand when I say I haven’t been to a lot of Japanese restaurants. So when we were at Alabang Town Center craving for something not made of pizza or burgers, I couldn’t really suggest a place. Finally, we spotted Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen and decided to give it a shot.
Outside Ikkoryu was a bulletin announcing its honor of being part of a publication’s list of top restaurants of 2014, so at least that was promising even though we didn’t really know anything about this restaurant. There are more tables outside than in, which probably means you’ll most likely end up eating outside on a busy night. Lucky for us (because I’m not a fan of eating outside where passers by can judge you for what you’re eating and how you’re eating it), that night wasn’t too hectic so getting a table inside was easy.
My brother-in-law ordered a bowl of Spicy Tobanjan Tonkotsu – a bowl of ramen in pork broth – with hard noodles, as recommended by our server. My sister had a hankering for something fried, so getting Ikkoryu Stick Tonkatsu – sticks of pork cutlets – was a no-brainer. We went ahead and got chicken karaage too to add to the crunch party. Because the fried items came solo, we decided to get chashu don, which is a bowl of rice topped with chunks of pork.
The servers were very accommodating and prep time was pretty fast, so it wasn’t long before we found ourselves beginning the meal with an order of gyoza (a first of its kind for me), which was tasty with a nice crunch on one side. The Chashu rice’s pork toppings were tender and just as delicious.
From across the table, my brother-in-law looked like he was enjoying his Tonkotsu, so I decided to get in on the stuff before he slurped the whole thing down. The broth reminded me of shrimp sinigang, not at all a bad thing as it was well seasoned and just spicy enough. Good thing he listened to the server about the noodles; turns out, the hard noodles would keep cooking in the piping hot broth so you end up with nicely al dente ramen.
The fried items were crunchy bits of happiness. Granted the pork tonkatsu lacked a bit of salt, but dipping it in the sauce it was served it actually remedied that.
Before you assume this place is too good to be true, let me lay this out. The tonkatsu and the karaage’s “salad” was shredded cabbage with some sort of creamy sesame dressing. After polishing off this nice concoction from the chicken plate, I moved my fork to the pork’s side, only to find a small strand of hair embedded into the mix. We immediately called the server and asked her to just remove the side. She apologized and brought the dish out.
Later on, the manager herself came up to us and apologized again, presenting us with a fresh side and promising to toss out the offensive batch. Definitely a good move on their part; it didn’t make me forget about the issue, but it did show me they take this kind of thing seriously.
So… I thought most of the food we had was delicious and service was good. And while I did find the hair unappetizing, that ramen was too damn good to be foreshadowed by a strand of an issue. I’d love to have a bowl all to myself, but please hold the, um, extra ingredients next time.
Overall rating: ★★★✭☆
Ikkoryo Fukuoka Ramen
Lower Ground Floor, Alabang Town Center, Alabang, Muntinlupa City
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