There were surprisingly a lot of people spending their afternoon at the malls, including SM Aura Premier. Many of them decided to have lunch at Ramen Nagi, and the place was packed! At first, we didn’t think we could get a table. Luckily, we were seated in less than five minutes.
I knew that the place looked expensive, but I never thought that their ramen bowls would be priced at Php 390 – 410 each! Even the prices of the drinks are steep.
We were handed our Omotenashi Sheets and a red sharpie before being seated. Omotenashi in Japanese simply means hospitality. I would have to guess that the Omotenashi Sheet, which features a checklist of your preference, shows the extent of the restaurant’s hospitality to their guests: the perfect bowl of ramen just the way you like it. Kind of reminds me of Starbucks, and how people flock to the said coffee shop because of the kind of customer service they give. In Japan, hospitality is probably on the same level as customer service.
I originally picked Butao King for myself, but the boyfriend wanted the same, and I wanted two different ramen, so I decided to go with the Red King. There were only five choices on the menu, but everything about the ramen is customizable, including the Soup Base, Toppings, and the Butao Fire Sauce. You get to choose how hard or soft your noodles are, and you can also request extra toppings (for a fee, of course).
For both ramen bowls, we chose Rich Taste, Normal Sauce, Light Garlic, Belly over the Shoulder (because we wanted some fat), and Cabbage over Green Onions. For the Red King, since the soup itself is already spicy, we chose 2 Spicy (or second level of spiciness). For the Butao King, we chose 3 Spicy. Customers can choose the level of spiciness from zero to ten. For first timers, Ramen Nagi recommends guests to start at 1 Spicy.
In five minutes, our hot bowls of ramen was served! I was so surprised at how fast they served our orders, and how fresh everything is. I had to take photos fast because we couldn’t keep ourselves from digging in anymore!
Ramen Nagi’s award-winning signature tonkotsu (pork stock) pork broth made me fall in love with our bowl of Original King. I’ve never tasted any ramen soup base as rich and as flavorful as this. I normally don’t like the soup base of ramen because most of the time, it tastes oily and watered down. But the Original King makes me want to down everything on my bowl, soup and all. At level 3 Spicy, it was moderately spicy, tolerable and adds genuine flavor to the bowl of ramen.
We chose the Pork Belly over the Shoulder because usually, the fat holds more flavor than the shoulder, which is lean meat. The ramen bowls had generous servings of pork belly slices, and won’t leave you unsatisfied.
The Red King packed a lot of spice! Even though I loved it, I couldn’t consume the soup without being overwhelmed by its spiciness. At Level 2 Spicy, it became too spicy for me. I’m normally the kind who drizzles tabasco over her pizza, but having to chow down the whole bowl of spicy soup was something I couldn’t do. Too spicy! Maybe it would be best to have No Spice next time.
So far, Ramen Nagi has the best bowl of ramen I’ve ever tasted. I’m ecstatic to try out the rest of their ramen flavors, especially the Black King, which has a black soup base because of squid ink.
I loved everything about my Ramen Nagi experience except for one: our server. She wasn’t as enthusiastic about customer service and hospitality unlike the other attendants. The establishment looks so bright and fun, and she stood there with a gloomy aura that did not reflect a semblance of the hospitality the establishment wanted to show its guests. Here’s to hoping that she was probably just having a bad day and that she’d be cheerier the next time we meet.
Lastly, for those who are planning to take out their left-overs, or even take out their orders to eat them someplace else, please be advised that Ramen Nagi do not allow Take Out orders. Their goal is to serve fresh ramen to their customers, and taking out ramen and eating it at a later time might affect the quality of the ramen. We were seated next to a family who wanted to take it their untouched bowl of ramen because one of them was too full to eat. The management did not allow take outs even when the family insisted that it would be a waste to leave the ramen uneaten, and would like to eat it at a later time, since they’re going to pay for it. In the end, they decided to not waste good ramen and eat it there.
Price Range: Php 390-410 per bowl of ramen
Even though it’s undeniably expensive, I am definitely going to come back and try the other ramen flavors! For a bowl of superior gourmet ramen and the quality of hospitality they provide, Php 410 per bowl is a small price to pay. This is authentic Japanese ramen, and the finest one I’ve ever had. -HANA