New Restaurant Alert: Uma Uma Ramen at S Maison, Pasay
Plus, there's a secret at the far end of the restaurant.
Uma Uma Ramen
2/F S Maison, Seaside Boulevard corner Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay City
Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
(SPOT.ph) The recently opened Uma Uma Ramen is both old and new. New because it's Manila's first introduction to this ramen house; old because their ramen recipe has been around for more than 60 years.
Uma Uma is a contemporary ramen shop first established in Fukuoka, Japan in 1953. The unique ramen joint-izakaya was originally called "Wu Maru" until Masahiko Teshima took over for his father in 1994. Masahiko renamed it "Uma Uma" and expanded the brand to Singapore, Bangkok, and now—together with Singapore's Iki Concepts—the Philippines.
Uma Uma is proud of the fact that their ramen is MSG-free, the pure umami flavor derived from a no-shortcuts approach. “Our broth is made from pork bones, slow-cooking for 16 to 20 hours over high heat to achieve the distinct and robust flavor infused through hours of cooking,” explains Russell Yu, director of Iki Concepts. Ingredients are both local and imported—Uma Uma preferring to put the emphasis on freshness.
The Uma Uma Ramen (P360) is the restaurant's signature dish. It's a combination of charsiu, spring onions, black fungus, spicy miso, and egg. Unlike other Japanese noodle soups, the broth is light and milky, with the flavors subtle but deeply integrated from the hours of cooking.
For those who can’t get enough of fiery food, Uma Uma also offers the Spicy Chasiu Ramen (P360). The spring onions, black fungus, and egg really pop thanks to the barbecued pork cooked in a spicy marinade. If you're into punchy flavors without the slap of heat, it's the Garlic Ramen (P360) you're looking for. Garlic, garlic oil, white onions, and shallots come together to create an intense but not overpowering garlicky masterpiece.
Another one of Uma Uma's signature dishes is the Mazesoba (P360), a dry ramen that was made for the Singapore franchise until it became so famous, they had to bring it to Japan, too. Not quite unlike our pancit, the noodles are tossed with spring onions, bamboo shoots, chili oil, beansprouts, sesame seed, and a perfect onsen egg that doubles as an extra sauce. A secret recipe is used to make the noodles, which take well to the hearty and aromatic tonkotsu stock.
Uma Uma looks like a typical ramen joint upon entry, but your eyes will be drawn towards a billowing curtain at the far end. The high-ceilinged, elegant space complete with lovely lights and a view of the bay is a pleasant surprise. It's the Horse's Mouth, a speakeasy-izakaya by Iki Concepts that specializes in classic cocktails, sake, whisky, and beer. (Happy Hour is from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily).
While cross-ordering between the two establishments is allowed, the Horse's Mouth has its own delectable menu. Guests can enjoy their drinks with the Yaki Chasiu (P160) or pork belly grilled to perfection with just the right amount of char. The Chicken Karaage (P160), a culinary work of art by Chef Nakamura Satoshi, is a once-you-pop-you-can't-stop situation, thanks to the crisp and slightly tart flavor.
The food at Horse's Mouth is so light that you'll probably have room for the One-Bite Gyozas (P140). Fresh and premium wonton wrappers are stuffed with pork and cabbage that are wonderful with the salty dipping sauce.
There’s always something to be said for years of tradition and Uma Uma has that in spades. But we like that, with the Horse's Mouth, they're offering something new, too.
Photos by Criselda Carreon