Friday, February 16, 2018

Crazy Sizzling Ramen at Kureji

Ramen on a sizzling hot stone bowl...sounds crazy. It's ramen served the way it's not supposed to be, sizzling and bubbly hot in a stone bowl. Then again, you're at Kureji...

Kureji, which means "crazy" in Japanese, is the newest restaurant at Ayala Malls Vertis North's Japan Town offering their unique sizzling take on ramen. It's all about the sizzle for a refreshingly new and "kureji" ramen experience...

Located at the newest wing of Ayala Malls Vertis North called Japan Town, visitors to the new mall up north can enjoy some of the metro's popular names in Japanese cuisine all in one place. But there's only one spot in Japan Town where you can experience the one and only sizzling ramen. Crazy? You bet. That's Kureji...

The first of its kind in the country, Kureji is a new homegrown brand managed by the same group and family behind Cocina Peruvia. Inspired by their love for sizzling plates and ramen, Kureji presents an innovative dining concept combining these two distinctive culinary styles in one crazy yet innovative fusion. The spiral in the brand logo says it all, reflecting a swirling bowl of ramen guaranteed to make your head spin just thinking about that sizzle. Call it crazy, or better yet, "kureji." But it's fun, different and playfully inventive. The sizzling ramen may not be traditional, but Kureji maintains tradition by using the freshest and finest ingredients prepared in the classic manner for its ramen. This tradition is also seen in Kureji's other dishes. Pair your sizzling ramen with Kureji's signature Appetizers, tasty bites with fresh and bold flavors. Kureji offers a variety of salads, dumplings and chicken to complete your sizzling ramen feast. 

Start with the tasty Edamame Shio (P 170), soybeans sprinkled with rock salt. The salt just bring out the subtle nutty, mildly sweet notes of the young beans. Craving for some heat?

Go for the Edamame Kimuchi (P 220) served with spicy Japanese style kimchi, another flavorful starter with a spicy kick.

The light and refreshing Kani Mango Salad (P 220) is a creamy and sweet salad with succulent crab sticks and mangoes with shredded garden-fresh vegetables draped in mayo perfectly tempering the richness of the sizzling mains.

Kureji's Gyoza (P 200) is perfectly executed, with a soft chewy top contrasting with the delicately seared bottom with its light crispness. One bite and the juicy pork filling lines the palate with its savory richness. 

Kureji's crisp and juicy Chicken Karaage (P 250) is another must-try, with richly seasoned chicken deep-fried to crispy perfection. The juicy chicken releases bold and intense flavors followed by the outer layer's crispness for textural contrasts. Served with a creamy dip, you just can't stop once you take that first bite.

And if you want more chicken, try one of three tasty variants of Chicken Wings... the spicy Sriracha Chicken Wings (P 250) with its soothing heat lingering long after that last bite...

...the Salt & Vinegar Chicken Wings (P 250) with its delectable sharpness complementing the delicate notes of the juicy and crisp chicken...

...and the Soy Garlic Yuzu Chicken Wings (P 250) with its comfortingly familiar nutty notes. So go ahead and use your hands. It's hard to pick a favorite among the three dishes, but the Salt & Vinegar variant offered unique flavors not often experienced from the usual wings. The starters alone are just some of the reasons to visit Kureji, each one pairing well with their signature mains. 

All of Kureji's appetizers are best enjoyed with an ice-cold bottle of Asahi Beer (P 180). Have a round or two for some vibes along with your main course at Kureji.

Then, you're just about ready for Kureji's sizzling ramen, like the classic Shoyu Ramen (P 380) served in a scorching hot stone bowl. The sound and aroma of the sizzling ramen is an experience in itself, as the bubbly hot and rich chicken broth is infused with the flavors of the various ingredients as it sizzles. Your order is served along with a tiny hourglass so you can properly track the minutes to let the ramen sizzle and absorb all the flavors with just a hint of smokiness working its way to the broth. You may be tempted to dive right in, just resist the urge and you'll be rewarded in just a few more minutes. But if you disregard the hourglass and wait too long, you risk having soggy noodles. So stay focused.

The broth is slightly reduced concentrated with all the flavors of the various ingredients for even richer notes. You can top off your ramen by pouring more broth that comes with every order. The light broth is loaded with flavor, complementing the savory richness of the pork chashu as the egg, scallions, vegetables and garlic bits add even more layers of flavor.    

The Garlic Miso Ramen (P 380) has a noticeably thicker broth with mild salty hints from the garlic-miso blend. With a creamier texture, the rich flavors punch through with its distinct notes tempered by the soft noodles and the other ingredients.

The richness of the broth coats the noodles delivering bold notes, as you go for another soothing sip and bite. 

The tart Tomato Seafood Ramen (P 420) is refreshingly unique and different. The vibrant red color of the broth immediately tells you this isn't your usual ramen, loaded with fresh and succulent shrimps, squid and salmon.

After letting it sizzle under the prescribed time, the reduced broth thickens draping all the ingredients with its bright red color. The still scorching hot stone releases a fragrant aroma that's different from the pork-based broth of the usual ramen.

Pour on some more tomato broth, and now you have a ramen that's unique to Kureji with the delicate flavors of the seafood kicked up by the lightly sweet and tastefully tart tomato broth. If there's one ramen to try at Kureji, it's the Tomato Seafood Ramen. Definitely different.

The Shio Ramen (P 380) offers pronounced salty notes that work well with the pork chashu and balanced by the egg and vegetables. The shio broth brings out the flavors of the other ingredients in this sizzling ramen. With four different sizzling variants to choose from, you'll have quite a number of tasty options. And the four ramen variants have their own unique flavors. You might be wondering if the sizzle adds any flavor at all, it's there with a gentle whisper of subtle smoky notes from the lightly charred ingredients. And it keeps your ramen nice and warm all the way to the last sip.

That same sizzling treatment is also applied to Kureji's other dishes. Kureji offers Sizzling Rice Bowls like the Gyudon (P 350) with thin and tender strips of beef and vegetables laid on steaming hot rice topped with an egg, a satisfying full meal in itself.

Gently mix it up and enjoy spoonful after spoonful of flavorful rice with beef and egg with the hot stone bowl keeping it warm. Dig deeper and you'll find a tasty layer of lightly crisp charred crust for added texture and flavor. Just like that layer on the bottom of the paellera that everyone loves to scrape.

And if you enjoyed the Tomato Seafood Ramen, you'll get a kick out of Kureji's Tomato Seafood Sizzling Rice (P 350) with all the same tart notes and succulent seafood with rice instead of noodles topped with an egg. The bright notes of the tomatoes will have you going all the way to the bottom of the bowl. With so many ramen options in the metro, here's one with a uniquely different, fun and even crazy spin. And that sizzle just adds to the dining Kureji.  

Kureji is located at Level 4, Japan Town, Ayala Malls Vertis North, Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City or visit their FB Page at  for more information and updates.

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