Let me preface this review by paraphrasing what I’ve tweeted weeks ago: Haven’t you grown tired of the Manila restaurant scene, specifically, its steadily rising menu prices? An entrée now costs upwards of P250.
Last weekend at Nolita, a pizza slice I ordered was priced at P280. A cup of watermelon mojito, more fruit juice than cocktail, is P150.
Even fast food chains haven’t been spared: a satisfying Jollibee/McDonald’s meal now set me back P150; closer to P200 if I upsize my drink and fries. At Max’s, a single serving of rice costs P40, which is the price of a kilo of a respectable grain variety.
It would be easy to attribute all this to inflation (or to Manila’s cosmopolitan aspirations?), but then fortunately, Wooden Spoon, which is in a pricy real estate, is proof it can be done. The soon-to-open Tim Ho Wan is another.
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I had two dates last week, and in both instances, they mentioned Mitsuyado Sei-Men as a favorite ramen place in the city. On my way home yesterday, Pam texted to ask if I wanted to join her and Jill for dinner at where else? and so I thought three mentions of the restaurant in five days did indeed merit a visit.
The restaurant beautifully recreated a Japanese street scene in its modest space—there are food carts, paper lanterns, vintage-looking posters and signs. Japanese expats don’t seem out of place.
This is a question I’ve asked myself many times and which I’ve never been able to answer: since when did I not get shocked by a P300 ramen? I’m beginning to think we are slowly being programmed to accept such a price as fine and normal. At Mitsuyado Sei-Men, prices for regular-size dishes are generally P20 shy of breaching this mark. And since customers are forced to buy bottled water because they do not have service water (but serve complimentary house tea if asked), I can imagine how this may be even more an issue to the budget-conscious customer.
Now, the ramen:
The shoyu ramen is okay good. (And you’ll also note in the photo, the ramen is oily.) I finished the entire bowl, licked it clean, slurped every noodle strand.
However, I’m no ramen connoisseur to tell the difference between this dish and those others I’ve had priced either lower or higher than this. To a ramen-illiterate like myself, I feel that they all taste practically and comfortingly the same.
Mitsuyado Sei-Men is not bad—I’d be happy to be back. I’m really just growing tired of the Manila food scene in general. I guess I’m pining for restaurants that are homey and down to earth.
22 Jupiter Street
Brgy Bel Air, Makati City
+632 511 1390