Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ukkokei Ramen Ron = Ramen Heaven

I had been craving for noodles (Ramen/Udon, etc...) this past few days so decided to go back to Ramen Ron. I've eaten there a couple of times, upon Keiichi's recommendation (he is Japanese and swears by this place).

I ordered the a plate of Gyoza (nothing really great but it's something to have while you are waiting for the ramen) and a Bowl of Basic Shio Ramen (with Pork)...can't really remember the name but this was as the girl told me, one of the best sellers.

All I can say was...that I was in Ramen Heaven! Delicious, tasty, hearty broth, slices of pork, lots of noodles. I am normally not a soup person, but this time, I practically finished all the broth I had this with some Chili power and Chili Oil, to give it a good kick. This is really comfort food, something that I could easily have once a week...

Next on my list is to try their special, off the menu: Tantammen. Its a spicy Miso Ramen with Ground Pork (if I'm not mistaken). They only make 10 orders a day and only served after 6 PM...and don't ask me why....but if you want to try it, you will have to be there by 6 PM....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Restaurant Cicou, Makati

Dinner last week was at Cicou. This dinner was organized by Noel for a fellow forum mate of his at Wineberserkers, Clem Nieto and his wife, who were here visiting family. Noel advised me a few days before and I obviously will not say no to an invitation like this. It's always nice to meet new people who share the same passion as you. I had also been wanting to go back to Cicou, as I had not been there in a while.

We started the night with some Bubbly Rose (Rene's bottle) of 1998 Champagne Billecart-Salmon Cuvee Elisabeth Salmon Rose. Very nice bubble, initially a bit closed, but opened up as it spent some time in the glass. Nice way to start our dinner, together with the amuse bouche, the Prawn Croqutte.

Noel had ordered a special dish for that night, one he had tried recently in one of his dinners. I was not going to have this at first since I was sort of on a diet, but I could just not say no to this dish: Marbled Terrine de Foie Gras, Unagi, Teriyaki sauce, Lemon Confit and Red Cabbage Salad. Fantastic, Marbled Foie, glazed with just the right amount of Teriyaki Sauce, The lemon Confit, just the right amount of sweetness with a little sour note, perfect for the Foie.

We had this with Noel's bottle of 1997 Rolly Gassmann Gewurztraminer Oberer Weingarten de Rorschwihr Selection de Grains Nobles I had to copy this name from Noel's blog). Lovely pairing. I'd say this type of wine was the best for this dish. Lots of Lychee notes and not overly sweet.

Then, the line up of the reds:

We had some power house wines, such as the 66 Latour and 93 Mouton (very generously shared by Clem), Noel's 64 Faustino, Rene's 95 Pichon and my 2000 Grand Puy Lacoste, which was spared that night. My WOTN being of course the 66 Latour, probably only the 3rd time I try a Latour. For a wine 44 year old wine, it still had the color and strengh of a young wine. No brick color at all and a lovely nose. Thank you Clem for sharing this wine with us. My second favorite, Rene's 95 Pichon. Very elegant and open. Still has lots of potential to age much much more.

For my main, I had Boudin Noir, which is basically a French Blood Sausage (like the Spanish Morcilla). This was flown in by Chef Cyrille from his home town in France. I love Blood Sausages and this was not an exemption. This sausage was very creamy, full of meat and not as much fat, which was good.

For dessert, a cheese platter to go the 2000 Chateau Dereszla Tokaji AszĂș 6 Puttonyos. A very nice Tokaji, very sweet but very light as well.

Noel also had a Kouing Aman Cake, a typical dessert from Brittany. Translated, it means butter cake. This was delkicious (thanks Noel for sharing some of it with me), topped with home made caramel Ice Cream

(Photo care of Noel)

Last, some Petit Fours courtesy of Chef Cyrille. Lovely Macaroons..some say one of the better ones in Manila. I would probably agree to that.

Lovely dinner over all and great food. I was impressed with the food and wine. Cyrille took time to explain to us many of the special dishes he as on the blackboard. You can see he is very passionate about what he does. I will be back there soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

KOYA - Japanese Udon in London

I love noodles, and lately, have been eating a lot of them. Any chance I can get, I order Soba, Udon or Ramen...or even just plain old pancit. During my last trip to London, my cousin told me we had to try this new place of her friend..called Koya. I asked her what they specialized in and she said Udon! How can I say no?

Koya is located in Soho area of London (the trendy restaurants, Pubs and shops are all located there). We were lucky to get a table quick, as they do not accept reservations and are packed most of the time the whole day. For starters, I had a small bowl of Onsen Tamago (Poached Egg), a cold Dashi soup, served with a small poached egg (Quail Egg I presume). This dish was great, very refreshing.

We then ordered 2 small dishes before hitting the noodles: Fish and Chips (Cod Tempura with Lotus root Chips) and Kakuni (Braised Pork Belly in Cider). The Fish and Chips were excellent small cuts of cod, perfectly cooked tempura style with Lotus Chips. The Lotus chips were very addicting!. The Porke Belly, very ultra soft, stringy pork, with a slightly sweetish sauce. It was served with a little English Mustard, which gave it a little extra heat.

After these excellent dishes, we had the specialty of the house: UDON. Basically they are thicky sticky noodles. All of the noodles are made fresh that day in their underground facilities, with most if not all raw ingredients flown in from Japan.

We ordered 2 dishes: Atsu-Atsu (hot udon on hot broth) and Hiya-Hiya (Zaru Udon - cold noodles on cold broth to dip). Both excellent, although at that time I was in the mood for cold Udon, this was excellent fresh noodles, a very clear broth full of flavor. The broth for the Zaru was cold, with chopped onion leaks, sesame seeds and Ginger

Hot Udon

Cold Udon

I had the chance to meet the owner, who was not Japanese (as I would have expected) but Irish. He traveled to japan to learn how this was made and decided on this restaurant, that really specializes in just noodles. One of my new favorite places to go when I'm in London. I will be back soon... (actually, the same day I had lunch there, I returned for dinner and ordered exactly the same food...go figure)