Butamaru Ramen is the newest home grown ramen chain to join the ramen wars in Manila. They quietly opened last September in Westgate Center, Alabang under Chef Jerome Lim who trained under Sugimura-san of Menko noodle company in Oita, Japan. The ramen shop is a bit hidden from the main road inside Westgate but just look for Zong and you’ll find Butamaru behind it.
The restaurant is situated in a bi-level structure with the ground floor dominated by a large photo wall with the kitchen behind it. There is a ramen bar for the quick, solitary diners to do an eat, slurp and run.
I’ve visited the place 3 times already and the ramen gets better after each visit until I was satisfied to write about it after the 3rd one.
They have a small menu with 5 kinds of ramen (shio, shoyu, miso, tantanmen, curry tantanmen) and a couple of side dishes. I’ve so far tried 4 of them, skipping the shio which I only eat at Santouka. All their ramen use a proprietary 16 hour tonkotsu broth inspired by their many meals throughout the Kyushu region.
Miso Ramen (P350). First thing I noticed was the heftier and curly noodles they use, I dislike those stick thin noodles used by Ramen Nagi and Ippudo. They topped the ramen with two pieces of their special aburi (seared) chasyu, egg is an extra P50 while extra noodles cost P80. You’ll also notice lots of sesame seeds in their broth, they add this to give it a nutty flavor dimension.
The noodles are firm and have a good bite while the broth is not heavy so you can readily slurp it all away. You can request for a richer broth if you so desire but the regular is perfect for me already. The chashu was a nice surprise as I was expecting it to have a little bite but it just literally melts in your mouth with the nice charred and smoky flavor.
I also sneaked a try of the shoyu from Irene’s bowl but I still prefer the shoyu from Ramen Yushoken.
TanTanMen (P350). I’ve had this in a few places already, some are too spicy that you’d be sweating buckets finishing off the bowl. Butamaru’s spice level is something I can handle with a bit of help from cold tea and water. The broth is rich and spicy with a nutty peanut flavor evident throughout. I’d like for a little bit more minced pork but as is, this is one of the best bowls of tantanmen in the city.
Curry Tantanmen (P350). This is my favorite bowl at Butamaru, it’s tantanmen on curry steroids. This is so much better than the tantanmen, the spiciness is enhanced with the creamy and earthy flavors of the curry powder.
I’m not too impressed with their regular gyoza but you will regret it if you miss ordering the Curry Gyoza (P150). Aburi chasyu and curry paste is added to cabbage and encased in a thin flour wrapper. The gyoza leak a bit of yellowish sauce onto the plate so you know it’s juicy. The flavors burst out and envelop your taste buds but be careful though as the filling is quite hot.
Cheese Hane Gyoza (P150). This was on the menu in my earlier visits but they’ve since made it off menu and secret since it’s a bit harder to do especially when there’s a crowd. It’s called hane because of the wing like tips and each of the five pieces are all connected together. The wings are crispy and where the cheese flavor is, so don’t forget to attack them first. Though good, I’d still order the curry gyoza over this one.
Chashu Don (P280). If you don’t like noodles and prefer the taste and company of rice then you should get this rice topping. Plain Japanese rice with chashu, soft boiled egg, takana, sesame seeds and spring onion. This will definitely satiate your rice craving while still enjoying their excellent chashu.
Takana Chahan (P200). Not your usual ramen joint fried rice, they’ve added takana (pickled mustard greens) and their chopped chasyu. I had thought this was nothing special but the takana add a nice texture and contrast in flavors that complements the fried rice quite well.
I suggest adding an extra order of Chasyu (P150/3 pieces) to your chahan to make it a more filling meal.
The ambiance is enjoyable especially if you sit across that mesmerizing black and white photowall in front of the kitchen. Butamaru is still new and the food they serve will get better as evidenced by my three progressively enjoyable visits. Butamaru gives southern people another ramen option that is flavor packed but not cloying.
Butamaru RamenCE405 Westgate Center Commerce Avenue cor. Filinvest Avenue Alabang, Muntinlupa City Contact No.: (632) 887-4255 Operating Hours: 11:30 am to 10 pm daily
Facebook Page: ButaMaruPH
Instagram : @ButaMaruPH
Website: Butamaru PH
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