Although I was skeptical at first, I fell in love with the Hakata-Style that Butamaru offers when we visted their first branch in Alabang earlier this year. Their thick but soft noodles and lighter 16-hour broth offers a unique experience compared to other ramen places here in manila.
With their new branch in Ortigas, they want to offer an Izayaka experience which was inspired by the very festive Japanese gastropub atmosphere. The Izayaka style for the uninitiated is a type of Japanese restaurant bar where in they offer relatively inexpensive dishes and snacks coupled with some liquor.
CURRY GYOZA, PHP 150 (or USD 2.92)
I’ve always liked their gyoza because they make these everyday to preserve the freshness of it and they were able to nail the way it’s cooked. It has a cotton soft texture on top and a crispy bottom. I like this version more than the original because of the added rich curry flavor.
KATSU GYOZAYAKI, PHP 160 (or USD 3.12)
This is something I don’t see or try everyday in a Japanese restaurant. At its core is actually the gyoza filling. However, it is covered with the takoyaki base and deep fried in Katsu breading. They then topped it off with some cheese sauce, nori, and bonito flakes.
That might sound like a complete mashup but it actually looks nice. More importantly, it tastes good too. I guess my only problem with takoyakis in general, when it’s served right away after it’s cooked, it’s too hot. This sometimes prevents me from tasting it well without getting my tongue burnt and that is what happened when I ate this. So should you try this too, make sure to wait for a few minutes to be able to eat it at the right warm temperature.
TSUKEMEN, PHP 260 (or USD 5.06)
For my ramen, I went with this. This is the kind of ramen where the broth is served separately from the noodles. Indeed, it is also called as dipping noodles.
Butamaru’s Tsukemen has pork chashu, nori strips, bamboo shoots, a slice of tamago, and spring onions as toppings. Meanwhile, for the broth, it is a salt base which is really concentrated so it is really just meant to be dipped on. The added layer of nori on it adds a little crunch.
I rarely order this kind of ramen because I like the fact that the ingredients are swimming in the broth. This is a welcome change for me as I found this really good too. The noodles are excellent as always and the pork chashu may be fatty for others but it is just right for me. If there is one thing that may be too much for me, it is the salt in the broth. I couldn’t enjoy sipping the broth.
Butamaru Ortigas, as mentioned, now has dishes that will give you an Izayaka experience.
SPICY TUNA TACO (no price yet)
It is a fusion between the Mexican soft taco tortilla and the Japanese diced spicy tunas. This is probably one of my favorite bar chows in their menu. It is because, aside from the fact that it is convenient to eat, the interplay of all the flavors from the sauce, nori strips to the fresh tuna is quite tasty. The spicy tuna itself also reminds me of Hawaii’s Pokébowl.
KIMCHI CHASHU (no price yet)
If raw fish isn’t up to your standards and want something that your oppa would like, they also offer this which is basically the kimchi-fied version of it. Just don’t expect an authentic Kimchi as theirs is milder in heat and has a creamy consistency due to the mayonnaise.
Although I rarely go to Izayaka style pubs very often, I know that Kushiyaki is a very good barchow and I also got to try some of them here.
GYU KUSHI (no price yet)
These are grilled beef cubes on skewers. The beef cubes aren’t to die for maybe because it still needs further grilling for me. Nevertheless, others will still find this satisfying for its soft and nicely seasoned taste.
YAKITORI (no price yet)
If I were to choose between Butamaru Ortigas Gyu Kushi or Yakitori, I’ll easily pick this one. The chicken is juicy and is lightly spiced that is definitely perfect when paired with a bottle of beer or two.
This new branch of Butamaru has managed not only to maintain the level of craft they have when it comes to their core lineup of dishes. They also successfully added a few new dishes that are ideal in their new location. Thus, those who are working nearby can easily spend a wonderful evening with colleagues here.
I give Butamaru my two thumbs up and I highly recommend you visit their branch to give it a try as well.
Location: Ground Floor, Techno Point Building, Julia Vargas Avenue, Ugong, Pasig City.
Operating hours: 11 AM to 12 midnight, Sun. to Thurs. and 11AM to 1 AM, Fri. and Sat.