4/F Top of the Glo, Japan Town, Glorietta 2, Makati City
Open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Sunday to Thursday) and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Friday to Saturday)
(SPOT.ph) Do you believe in love at first sight? We believe in falling in love with a restaurant as soon as you step inside, especially when it’s a place as bright and happy as ramen joint Hakata Ton-ichi.
Hakata Ton-ichi in Makati City
Brightly lit with colorful murals of Japanese cartoons and vintage Japanese magazine collages providing the perfect ‘Gram-worthy backdrop, Hakata Ton-ichi is immediately inviting. The modern industrial fixtures blend nicely with the colorful décor all over the place. The dining space is open enough for big groups but still intimate enough for couples out on a date to savor their time together in the little pockets of the restaurant.
But of course, what really matters is the food. Hakata Ton-ichi’s specialty is modern Japanese cuisine at prices that won’t hurt your wallet—in fact, you'd get your money's worth in terms of heft and flavor.
It’s not often that you can get ramen for less than 200 bucks. Not only is Hakata’s Ton-ichi Ramen only P180 but it’s a fantastic bowl, too, with a mix of their signature Ton-ichi broth, oil and chashu, topped with onion leeks, kikurage mushrooms, and a soft-boiled egg. One slurp of their steaming umami-filled broth and you’ll understand why this is the foundation for all their in-house ramen flavors.
Hakata Ton-ichi riffs off this base bowl to create other variants like the Red Ramen (P220), which has a special red oil added to the Ton-ichi broth for those who like their ramen hotter. It's also served with chashu, onion leeks, kikurage and tamago. If you enjoy briny flavors, have the Black Ramen (P220), which has squid ink mixed in the Ton-ichi broth base. The Miso-ichi Ramen (P220) has miso tare (a blend of miso and tare, a Japanese dipping sauce) mixed in with the Ton-ichi broth for a savory burst of flavor with each sip.
Aside from ramen, Hakata Ton-ichi also offers some Japanese staples, like the Hakata Karaage (P250). This side dish is best enjoyed freshly served from the kitchen as the crunchy salty-sweet crispy breading gives way to the juicy chicken inside. This goes perfectly with the Hakata Fried Rice (P170), with each bite perfectly enhancing your chosen viand.
Not in the mood for noodles? Choose from a variety of rice bowls like the Teriyaki Pork Don (P190). This bowl satisfies your chasu cravings, with juicy pork cutlets drizzled with sweet teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayo, and served over shredded cabbage and steaming Japanese rice.
For beef lovers, there is also the ever-reliable classic Gyu Don (P250) with beef loin strips simmered with sweet and fragrant onions, soy, mirin, and oyako sauce then topped over Japanese rice and garnished with red ginger. Each bite is sweet-salty and immensely comforting.
For Japanese curry lovers, Hakata Ton-ichi also has several options like the Cheeseburg Curry Rice (P280), a cheese-lovers’ dream with a hamburger pork patty blanketed with a creamy cheese sauce and Hakata Ton-Ichi’s special curry over Japanese rice. The curry sauce has just the right amount of spice to not overpower the burger-and-cheese love affair with every bite.
Crunchy-pork lovers would like the Pork Katsu Curry Rice (P260), which has golden-fried tonkatsu covered with Hakata Ton-ichi’s special Japanese curry sauce over rice. There’s also something for ebi tempura lovers: the Ebi Katsu Curry Rice (P290), which has crispy panko-breaded shrimp and curry sauce over Japanese rice.
Extra hungry? Eat like a king with the Hakata King’s Set (P500). This value-for-money set includes all the specialty items and heavy hitters from the wide menu selection: ramen, Hakata Fried Rice, salad or sushi (Potato or Hakata Salad and Sunny California Roll or Teriyaki Pork Roll), a side dish (Gyoza or Chicken Karaage), iced tea and a dessert of mixed fruits.
With the sea of Japanese restaurants all over the Metro, it's never easy to choose where to eat next. Hakata Ton-ichi pulls you in with fun pop art but it's the flavorful, budget-friendly ramen that will make you stay.
Photos by Jericho San Miguel