Disappointing Became Surprising Lunch

Ippudo full with long line at 1030am on a holiday

Ippudo full with long line at 1030am on a holiday

Ate in Linguini Fini instead

Ate in Linguini Fini instead

Yesterday I wrote about a disappointing lunch I had in the Jupiter St area. Since today is a holiday, we decided to leave Makati and head to MegaMall to check out the new Fashion Mall and try out Ippudo. For the record, the new Fashion Mall looks nice and now more enjoyable since many unique stores are open. We got there by 1030am and noticed that there were people waiting in line already in TimHoWan. Then I looked up to the third floor and I estimated thirty people waiting in line in Ippudo. Oh shoot, Plans A bad B looked bleak. Had to think of Plan C…which was Linguini Fini, an Italian resto franchise from HK. Since there was no line yet in the other restos, we decided to look around the new mall.

I’m the type of person who wants to beat the crowd so I decided to eat in Linguini Fini by 1130am. Good thing for us coz there was a line outside by 1215pm. The waiter was telling us to try the pizza but since it’s a Linguini place, we must try the Linguini! My wife wanted Al Olio while I was in a puttanesca mood. Both pastas were very good. My wife is a dessert person but we weren’t sold on their description of their tiramisu so we settled for the blueberry cheesecake. Good choice! The graham topping was a good twist. So eating in Linguini Fini was a surprisingly good dining experience. And reasonably priced too!

I teased the manager that maybe for now food is good coz they were using imported ingredients. Maybe 6 months from now, local ingredients na. Manager said they are a franchise and they have standards to live up to. Ok, we enjoyed the food and promised to return. Maybe next time I will try the porcheta. Looked good but deadly!

Come to think of it, with the many new stores and restos in MegaMall Fashion Hall, my wife will be frequenting this place more often now. Still a couple of restos to try like TimHoWan, Ippudo and Vikings. Plus Crate and Barrel and H & M will open before the year ends. Looking Good MegaMall!


My Ippudo Experience In Tokyo



I read recently in that Ippudo is coming to the Philippines on September 10 and opening its first branch in MegaMall Fashion Hall. That’s great news! I loved the Ramen and Gyoza which I tried in their Tokyo branch and I would like to narrate how I got there.

On one Saturday afternoon, my wife, Ken and I decided to have a late lunch somewhere in Harajuku. So we took the Yamanote train from Shinjuku, went down in Harajuku, and walked down for about a kilometer to a still-developing, American-looking part of Tokyo. Ken’sĀ first choice of restaurant was a Gyoza place but there was a long line outside which surprised me because it was already 2:30pm. Maybe it was a weekend so people eat a late breakfast and also a late lunch. Then we went to an American BBQ place which was packed with expats having a party. At that point I was willing to eat anywhere. Normally I eat between 12-1pm and I could feel myself getting hungry…and cranky! image

So my son tells me, “There is an Ippudo nearby. Just walk up the hill a bit.” At that point I was sold! So we walk up the hill. Yeah, nearby meaning another kilometer uphill! We walk up the Omotesando shopping mall – thank God we didn’t even stop to look because stores were super high-end! Every corner we passed I would look left and right and ask, “Where’s Ippudo?” When we finally hit the main road, we turned left and walked another 200 meters. Finally we made it . . . but it looked closed! No one seemed to be inside. Anyway, I was so hungry since it was already 3pm, I go in and there were waiters and cooks waiting. Ok, let’s see what the hype is all about.

Since I love Tantanmen, my son ordered for me and him a relatively spicy Ramen. My wife had the usual Tonkotsu Ramen. We also ordered the Gyoza and it was excellent! We ordered one more. It was my first time to see garlic, sesame seed and pickles to add taste to the Ramen. In my hunger, I ate the pickles already while they were still ordering and I even ate the raw garlic (since I love garlic) and this made my family laugh. “Why? What did I do?” I asked. “You are supposed to crush the garlic on top of the Ramen, not eat it raw!” Oh well, you learn something everyday.

Ramen came and it didn’t disappoint. Everything was excellent! Broth, noodles, pork. I don’t remember being asked choices to customize my Ramen but what I ate tasted good. I told my family I wanted to eat here again on our next trip to Tokyo but next time, we should go down the nearest train station. If people used to walk a mile for a Camel, I can walk a mile for Ippudo if I really have to. Hehe

So I’m eagerly awaiting the opening of Ippudo in MegaMall. Well, not really eagerly because I don’t want to wait in line. Let’s see how it goes. When Ippudo comes in, the food has to be impressive because Ramen Nagi has just set the bar for Ramen chains. Having tried both, I can give my two cents worth but I will reserve further comments until I try the local Ippudo.