Tomochan Ramen Express, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Sometimes, you just want to console your poor tired soul with some hot ramen. The flavorful steaming broth, the firm noodles that you slurp into your mouth and tender soy-seasoned pork chashu all combine to give you a meal that warms both your heart and tummy.

However, with most ramen places charging Php300 to Php700 for a bowl, you would think that your ramen treat would be a once-in-a-blue-moon kind of thing.

Akiko Okomoto, founder and CEO of Tomochan Ramen Express, will have none of that.

“We want to be your daily ramen,” she said to a gathering of food bloggers at the Tomochan outlet at Food Choices in Ayala Fairview Terraces. “We want every individual to consider our ramen as their ultimate comfort food.”

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview

True to her statement, Tomochan’s food offerings are priced affordably, starting with the Shoyu Basic bowl at only Php99. With this bowl, you can already slake your hunger in flavorful soy-based broth, half of a marinated soft boiled egg, two slices of tender pork chashu and firm filling noodles.

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Other shoyu ramen variants are just as affordably priced with Shoyu Vegee at Php109, with the addition of vegee to the Shoyu Basic bowl; Spicy Shoyu Tantan bowl at Php129, with the replacement of the pork chashu with a spicier version; and Shoyu Special at Php149, with a whole egg and 4 slices of chashu pork.

Craving for miso-based ramen instead? No need to sweat it with the Miso Basic at Php129, Miso Vegee at Php139, Spicy Miso Tantan at Php159 and Miso Special at Php169.

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

If you’re hankering for a rice meal, check these out, all at only Php79:

Chicken Karaage + Rice + Cabbage

Katsu + Rice + Cabbage

Gyoza + Rice + Cabbage

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Ramen + Rice Meal combos are also available, giving you quite a filling meal:

Half Shoyu + Rice Meal at Php159

Half Miso + Rice Meal at Php179

To get a Whole Ramen + Rice Meal, just add Php69 on the price of any ramen.

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Tomochan, Ayala Fairview Terraces

Additonal items such as Chicken Karaage, Katsu and Gyoza may be ordered ala carte at only Php69.

According to Okamoto, Tomochan’s name denotes a “warm and solid friendship.” By making the warmth and satisfying comfort of Japanese ramen more accessible to more Filipinos, Tomochan is helping to solidify the JaPinoy bonds of friendship and shared love of food.

Want to have that ramen craving satisfied? Head on to Tomochan Ramen Express at Food Choices, 2nd Floor Ayala Fairview Terraces, Quezon City.

If you work in Makati, check out the Tomochan Ramen Express at Food Oddyssey, 11th Floor LKG Tower, Makati City.

Tomochan Ramen Express Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclosure: Together with other food bloggers, I was invited to attend a foodie meet-up held in this restaurant.  All the food items mentioned here were served to allow us to sample the fare and were not paid for by the attendees, including myself

City of Dreams Manila opens a VR Zone and Food Park

City of Dreams Manila is changing the landscape of entertainment and dining as it unveils The Garage.The new attraction is a VR Zone and food park that enables guests to delve into the immersive experience of virtual reality entertainment and delight in a wide range of casual dining choices from the carefully curated selection of food and beverage trucks and trailers set in a comfortable, air-conditioned space.

Bandai Namco Amusement from Japan, one of the world’s leading video digital entertainment development companies, provides the virtual reality experience at the VR Zone.

“The Garage is City of Dreams Manila’s latest attraction featuring unique entertainment activities in partnership with Bandai Namco Amusement. With their creativity and cutting-edge technology, we are honored and delighted to partner with them, and together blaze a trail in delivering extraordinary entertainment experiences that go beyond gaming and recreation in the Philippines,” Kevin Benning, City of Dreams Manila’s Chief Operating Officer said.

The virtual reality experience provided by a leader in video digital entertainment development is complemented by quality food and drink choices offered by 10 of the hippest and contemporary food and beverage partners including the resort’s own talented staff. This concept, curated all in one place, makes The Garage a first of its kind in the country — “setting us apart from the rest,” adds Benning.

“Bandai Namco Amusement is honored to partner with luxury integrated resort City of Dreams Manila and bring to this exciting destination our first VR Zone entertainment facility in Southeast Asia. We hope to bring outside of Japan an immersive, multi-sensory and fun activities to Filipinos and foreign guests with our unique VR activities at The Garage,” Kunihisa Yagisita, Bandai Namco’s General Manager stated.

Set in a 2,714-square meter cool and comfortable space located at the upper ground floor, The Garage stands out with its modern industrial interiors catering to a 563-seating capacity. Designed by award-winning Paris-based creative design agency, Malherbe Design in collaboration with Westar Architectural Interior Design, a group known for its strong sensitivity to contemporary design aesthetics, The Garage is further given life and vibrancy with graffiti works of two prominent names in the street art scene: Kookoo Ramos and DeeJae Paeste.

View this post on Instagram

#graffiti that graces one of the walls of the newly opened #VRZone and #FoodPark @thegarageatcod. It helps set the mood for enjoyment among gamers and foodies. Wanna chance to check out the VR games available for free! Like and tag a friend in the comments under the giveaway posts here and at @sandundermyfeet, @herlculis, @hungryherl and @foodventuresbyfrapao. Be sure to follow all our accounts to qualify! #TheGarageAtCOD #VRZoneCOD #GamesGastroGalore #cityofdreamsmanila #virtualreality #bandai #bandainamco #VRPark #virtualrealitypark #virtualrealitygames #gaming #gamers #mariokart #skirodeo #philippines #itsmorefuninthephilippines #wheninmanila #wimadventures #virtualrealityworld #virtualrealitygames #virtualrealityexperience #virtualrealitygaming #virtualrealityarcade

A post shared by Jellybeans in the City (@beingjellybeans) on

Game of a lifetime

The Garage’s VR Zone features a new generation entertainment facility that offers an exhilarating and startling experience with top-of-class VR technology.

One of the exciting activities at the VR Zone is the famed Mario Kart Arcade GP VR, which was developed by Bandai Namco Amusement under license from Nintendo. The three-minute Mario Kart Arcade GP VR enables one to choose to play as one of the characters: Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, or Yoshi; step right into the action-packed world of Mario Kart universe; and race until the finish line through a course filled with traps such as giant Piranha Plants and Thwomps or large stone creatures that attempt to crush the players. This highly sought-after game can be played by up to four persons and is open to enthusiasts 13 years old and above.

For those seeking a different kind of thrill, the Hospital Escape Terror, which can be played by up to four participants, is described as a ‘horrifying experience unlike ever before’. This immersive horror room game is open to thrill-seekers ages 13 years old and above. Hospital Escape Terror’s players have the goal to escape and survive altogether the dark, cursed, and abandoned hospital within nine minutes while being restrained on a wheel chair.

The two-minute Ski Rodeo on the other hand, is a steep downhill ski simulator that lets a player ski a vast snowy mountain course with sharp slopes and steep drops at an immense speed with the goal to finish at the fastest time possible or within the allotted time. This heart-dropping game, which can be played in pairs, is open to individuals with a height of 140 cm and up.

Tickets are available on site. Single player ticket price is available at P450 nett; while packages are available for those playing in groups or pairs: P800 nett for two persons playing Ski Rodeo; P1, 200 per person for three activities; and P1, 600 nett for a group of four persons playing Hospital Escape Terror or Mario Kart GP VR.

Gastronomic Galore

Going hand in hand with the one-of-a-kind entertainment experience, The Garage’s VR Zone is offering a selection of 10 food and beverage trucks and trailers: Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, Katsu Sora, Pink’s Hotdog, Little Flour, El Chupacabra, Pizza Grigliata, Farmacy, Chocol8, The Roaster and Juiced. The casual dining experience is also enhanced with the sustainability drive of City of Dreams Manila: only eco-friendly, biodegradable and compostable plates, utensils and take-out bags are used at The Garage.

Hailing from Japan, Hokkaido Ramen Santouka’s well-loved ramen is characterized by its mild, pearl-colored Tonkotsu soup which is carefully prepared by taking the time to simmer the pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and other special ingredients. This exceptional soup with thin-noodle ramen, and perfectly topped with mouthwatering slices of Char-siu pork and pickled plums is meant to be savored to the last spoonful.

Another food truck specializing in Japanese cuisine is Katsu Sora. A household name in the metro for good tonkatsu or Japanese deep-fried pork cutlet, Katsu Sora’s  secret to their naturally tender, marbled, and flavorful tonkatsu is the use of only premium pork meat. The restaurant is known for serving dishes that use four kinds of world-class pork that are of the highest quality: Iberico, Kurobuta, Shimofuri, and Sakura. Their Iberico and Kurobuta Tonkatsu sets are served with their famed Juugokokumai rice, a premium rice blend that includes white rice, corn, barley, millet, sesame seeds, and black beans.

Los Angeles’ most popular hot dog stand, Pink’s Hot Dogs has been hailed by multiple publications as the number one hot dog in America. A staple in Hollywood since 1939, their lip-smacking hot dogs especially the iconic “The Hollywood Legend,” which is a medley of Pink’s eponymous hotdogs with chili, cheddar cheese, mustard, and chopped onions, are sought after by everyone. This legend continues in Manila since opening their first store in 2016, and is offered together with other American favorites such as burgers, fries, nachos, and more.

Little Flour Café by the highly successful Wildflour Café + Bakery, is known for its well-loved and locally-inspired Filipino rice bowls, delicacies and grilled items.

El Chupacabra is a casual street taco bar serving a delectable array of Mexican-influenced dishes for lunch and dinner, as well as uniquely tweaked versions of popular local plates. Apart from Mexican-style street tacos, El Chupacabra is also known for burritos, enchiladas, and grilled chicken sticks.

Pizza Grigliata serves nothing but hot, freshly-made artisanal pizza to deliver a different kind of pizza experience that stands out from the rest. Uniquely prepared, Pizza Grigliata’s pizzas are handmade from scratch everyday using thin crust dough topped with the freshest ingredients which are torched and grilled.

Farmacy takes us back to the time of classic turn-of-the-century ice cream parlors. Satisfying the sweet tooth of guests, Farmacy is known for serving fresh homemade ice cream “the right way,” and for serving an extensive array of comforting treats such as milkshakes, sodas, coffee, and pastries.

Alongside the well-curated food and beverage outlets at The Garage are City of Dreams Manila’s own exceptional outlets: Chocol8, Juiced and The Roaster.

Chocol8 features handcrafted chocolates in a number of shapes and forms, and are enhanced with special ingredients such as fruits, nuts, and spices.

For those into healthy concoctions, Juiced offers a variety of freshly squeezed smoothies, slushies, and juices daily; while The Roaster is the go-to outlet for an array of gourmet coffee creations made from freshly roasted Philippine beans. In keeping with the resort’s sustainability campaign, the beans are sourced from coffee growers and farmers in various communities supported by the Philippine Coffee Board, Inc.

The Detox, Smoothies, and Sluhes

The bar at The Garage offers a wide selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages for guests to pair their choice of food from the trucks and trailers.

JASMINE RED SIGNATURE ICED TEA

The Garage is open daily from 10 AM to 2 AM. For more information, call (+63 2) 800-8080 or email guestservices@cod-manila.com or visit www.cityofdreamsmanila.com.

Details provided by The Garage in a recent press release.

Ramen for a Rainy Day at Ramen Kuroda, SM Marikina

The recent bouts of heavy rain and colder weather gave rise to a craving for a bowl of hot, steaming and hearty ramen.  There really is something about slurping on some thick hot broth that drives the rainy day blues away.

During a recent back-to-school shopping trip at SM City Marikina, the fam joined me in giving in to my ramen craving when we decided to have lunch at the newly opened branch of Ramen Kuroda.

The place seems to be a hit as there was a line of people waiting to get in.  To help facilitate faster service, the hostess already facilitated the orders of the waiting patrons so that waiting will be minimal once the diners are seated in the dining area.

This restaurant’s mantra is to “make Real Ramen part of your everyday.”  This is central to its promise to its customers to provide:

  • carefully selected ingredients such as home-made noodles, soup and seasoned garlic oil that provide their distinctive flavor
  • speedy service to satisfy busy people
  • ramen that is affordable enough that you can enjoy it everyday
  • culinary supervision by an expert ramen chef
  • Japanese-quality ramen made accessible to more Filipinos

For the family’s lunch, we ordered:

  •  Ramen Chahan sets that already include ramen, rice and fruits such as:
    • Katsudon (Php380) with Aka Ramen. As Hubby likes spicy food, he ordered the ramen with a spicy bent.
    • Gyoza (Php320) with Shiro Ramen. I ended up splitting the gyoza with my daughter and giving my rice to my son as the ramen was hearty and filling enough, albeit a little bit too garlicky.
    • Karaage (Php360) with Shiro Ramen.  My daughter found the chicken pieces a bit small but she was able to get her fill of the ramen.
  • Tonkatsu (Php240) plus Rice (Php40) for my son.

A post shared by Jellybeans in the City (@beingjellybeans) on We found the meal as a whole filling and affordably priced, and the service staff friendly and accommodating, though a bit overwhelmed at the influx of diners.

Still, we found the resto’s mantra to have its fair share of overpromising. The resto would do well to settle on one or two propositions (such as affordability and fresh ingredients) and build from those, rather than have such lofty goals and be found lacking in some of them.

This branch is located at Ground Floor, SM City Marikina, Marcos Highway, Calumpang, Marikina City. For reservations and other queries, call + 63 2 7772839.

Other branches of Ramen Kuroda are located at:

  • SM FAIRVIEW: Annex 2 Lower Ground Floor Quirino Highway Cor.Regalado Avenue Quezon City
  • TV5: LaunchPad Reliance Corner Sherdian St. Mandaluyong City (Tel: + 63 2 6370220)
  • SM MANILA: 2/F SM Manila Conception Street Corner Arroceros and San Marcelino Streets, Manila (Tel: + 63 2 2438665)
  • CYBER & FASHION MALL EASTWOOD: 3/F Cyber and Fashion Mall Eastwood City Bagumbayan, Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 5343414)
  • MEZZA RESIDENCES STA MESA: G/F The Strip at Mezza, Aurora Blvd. Araneta Avenue Quezon City (Tel: + 63 2 2417449)
  • VENICE GRAND CANAL MALL: 2/F Venice Grand Canal Mall, McKinley Hill, Upper McKinley Road Taguig City (Tel: + 63 2 5521170)
  • LUCKY CHINA TOWN MALL: 3/F Lucky China Town Mall, Reina Regente corner Dela Reina Streets, Binondo, Manila (Tel: + 63 2 2418157)
  • ASEANA II: Ground Floor Aseana II BRADCO Avenue Aseana City Paranaque City (Tel: + 63 2 8326246)
  • RCBC PLAZA MAKATI: 3/F RCBC PLAZA 6819 Ayala Avenue Makati (Tel: + 63 2 8326216)
  • BF HOMES: #96 Aguirre Avenue, Phase 2 BF Homes Paranaque City (Tel: + 63 2 5536824)

Ramen Kuroda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Learn more about Japanese cuisine by checking out these books from Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

A vastly improved dining experience at Teriyaki Boy, SM East Ortigas

My first and second dining experiences in the SM East Ortigas branch of Teriyaki Boy with my family were less than stellar as detailed in my previous post.  I was therefore quite pleasantly surprised when I received an invitation from the management to dine again at the same branch for free.

Together with Hubby and the kids, I set out to give this branch another chance.

Well, what can I say? The service and kitchen team set out to wow our group and they did!

As instructed, I looked for the manager-on-duty, Acee, when we arrived.  The service crew immediately ushered us to our seats and handed us the menu until Acee came out to greet us.

She clarified a lot of my misgivings during my earlier visits in this branch.  For one thing, our first visit here was during the first week of the branch’s opening and the group was still ironing out some kinks in the system while dealing with the first rush of people.  Another was on how we can better enjoy the steaks we cross-ordered from Teriyaki Boy’s sister-restaurant Sizzlin’ Steak (more on that in this post).

From Teriyaki Boy’s menu, we ordered most of what we got during our first visit such as:

  • Tempura Tuna Tartare (Php165) – This spicy mix of tuna sashimi, Japanese mayo and tempura flakes is a great appetizer as the slight spicy kick of the wasabi-seasoned sashimi is counterbalanced by the creamy mayo and the texture of the tempura flakes.
  • Gyoza (Php155 for 5 pieces) – Another of my daughter’s favorite appetizers, these steamed and seared pork dumplings were juicy and flavorful on the inside and has a slight crisp on the outside.
  • Dynamite Roll (Php185 for 8 pieces)– I found this sushi roll composed of fresh tuna, chili oil, Japanese mayo and Japanese chili pepper togarashi too spicy for my taste but Hubby loves it and orders practically all the time.
  • Tonkatsu (Php280) – This breaded and deep-fried pork is actually my son’s favorite dish.  We just ordered a Gohan (Php65), or steamed Japanese rice, to go with this viand. We are happy to note that this time, the breading does not fall apart from the meat unlike in our previous visit.
  • Katsu Ju (Php345)– Pork tonkatsu that has also been simmered in sweet soy sauce, diced onions and sliced leeks, and served with a beaten egg on top of steamed Japanese rice, and whose blend of flavors and textures appealed to my daughter.
  • Teriyaki Boy Cotton Cheesecake (Php115)– This cross between a rich cheesecake and an airy souffle is one of Japan’s most popular desserts.  Next time, though, I’ll request to have the chocolate syrup on the side rather than drizzled on the cake.

This much more enjoyable time at Teriyaki Boy was also brought about by the attention and assistance of servers Rhea and JR who immediately fulfilled, and even anticipated, our requests.

The week after this visit, Hubby and I dined at Sizzlin’ Steak and we cross-ordered Endamame (Php90) for our appetizer, two orders of Tonkatsu and Yakimeshi Rice (Php75).

I’m glad I was able to have the opportunity to change my mind about this resto.

By the way, with the Max’s Group’s All You Can Wednesdays Promo, you can eat all the Ebi Tempura you want at Teriyaki Boy from 2pm to closing time at only Php349, available all the Wednesdays in June.  More details are available in this blog post.

Teriyaki Boy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Lunch at Teriyaki Boy, SM East Ortigas

Update: I patched things up with this resto (so to speak). Check out my updated review here.

I used to really enjoy dining at Teriyaki Boy.  This is the place that developed my family’s love for ebi tempura. My special go-to order would also be the Wafu Steak and Yakimeshi Rice; I found the blend of flavors rich and satisfying.

This is why we cross-ordered some items from the Teriyaki Boy menu when my family dined at its sister-store Sizzlin’ Steak.  For appetizers, we got a Dynamite Roll (Php185) and a Tuna Tempura Tartare (Php165).  Both were pretty good.

For our mains, I wanted to order my favorites Wafu Steak and a Yakimeshi Rice (Php75).  However, for some reason, the Wafu Steak is no longer in their menu! We then ended up getting two orders of Tonkatsu (Php280 each) for the kids.

Later that same week, I went back with my daughter for a late lunch.  We ordered a Chashu Ramen Shoyu (Php245) which fell short in comparison to the other ramen I have tasted.

I might still be feeling miffed at the removal of Wafu Steak from the menu.  Hopefully, the next time I dine here, I will be in a better frame of mind to enjoy the store’s offerings.

Why not try your hand at preparing Japanese cuisine at home?  Check out these recipe books from Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.

Katsu Teishoku at Zipang, Tomas Morato

My daughter (aka #ExhibitA) has been hankering for Japanese food since her work immersion in Quezon City started. On our way home from her last day of work immersion, I decided to take her to Zipang.

Located at the corner of 11th Jamboree and Scout Fuentebella in Quezon City, this Japanese restaurant features a cozy seating area with modern Asian aesthetic that gives the place a Zen vibe. It also has an open kitchen where you can see the resto’s Japanese chef in his domain, working on his food creations. The servers are polite and attentive to the diners, as well as deferential to the chef.

Upon entering, we were greeted by the staff in Japanese and ushered into a nearby table. We were given warm oshibori (wet towels) to cleans our hands.

Zipang is an antiquated name for Japan. In a way, it contrasts with the resto’s food concept, as its offerings are stripped down to the basic and the modern.

As we were both quite ravenous by the time we got there, #ExhibitA and I decided to order Teishoku Meal Sets: mine was of Pork Tonkatsu (Php230) while hers was of Chicken Katsu (Php220). The centerpiece of these dishes were the tender and juicy meats covered with flavored batter and panko breading, then deep-fried to a crisp golden brown. They were accompanied by a mashed sweet potato appetizer, a subtly-flavored miso soup, and refillable rice.

With both of us having well-sated appetites at less than Php500, I wouldn’t mind returning with a more adventurous set of orders.

Zipang Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Katsu Adventure at Katsu Sora, Trinoma

I have long been a fan of the katsu.

There’s quite a gastronomic appeal to a juicy piece of pork, breaded and fried such that the outside is crispy while the inside is tender and flavorful.

So here lies the reason why I found myself, along with some of my coworkers (the usual suspects when it comes to foodie lunch adventures, to be honest), traveling quite some distance from the office to Trinoma Mall to dine at Katsu Sora.

I have frequented this Japanese resto’s branches in Greenhills and Eastwood, but it’s my first time to eat at its Trinoma branch.

I booked a table for four using the Zomato app’s online booking function.  Five of us actually arrived but the hostess was able to accommodate all of us.  Katsu Sora is in the same section as MochiCream and Hokkaido Ramen Santouka but has a distinct separate space, marked by a spacious and well-lit dining area.

The wait staff are attentive and helpful in assisting our group with our requests and queries about the menu.

My go-to order is the Mille Feuille Set (Php360).  The star of the show for this meal is the lean but tender and savory Canadian pork, sliced ultra-thin, layered together, covered with panko then deep-fried to a crispy golden brown, superbly complemented by sweet tonkatsu sauce.  It’s cast of supporting flavors consist of unlimited Japanese rice, a salad bar (from which I can eat a combination of egg and potato salad, shredded cabbage and corn kernels doused with creamy wasabi and sesame dressing to my heart’s content) and refillable miso soup.

All these make for a wonderful fusion of flavors that leave me thankful for simple pleasures such as this.

This branch of Katsu Sora is located at Fourth Floor, Trinoma Mall, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City.

Check out my reviews of other Japanese restaurants in this blog:

Katsu Sora Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Why not try your hand at preparing Japanese cuisine at home?  Check out these recipe books from Amazon.com!

Want to try some recipes today? There’s no need to leave home to shop for ingredients.  With Honestbee, just order your groceries online and you’ll get them delivered right at your doorstep at your preferred time. Use this referral link and get Php500 off for a minimum spend of Php2,500.  You can download the Honestbee app on iTunes or Google Play.

If you’re in the US and an Amazon Prime member, sign up for a free trial of Amazon Fresh to get your groceries delivered to you.