Is Kokoro Ramenya the new Shinjuku Ramen House?

Kokoro Ramenya (Japanese Restaurant) along Roxas Boulevard
Kokoro Ramenya (Japanese Restaurant) along Roxas Boulevard
My dad once shared with me that we should try Kokoro Ramenya, since he found out that the Japanese chef here was the mind behind and the original chef of the famous Shinjuku Ramen House in Makati. Well, holding onto what he promised me, my dad treated the entire family to this Japanese restaurant days after I just passed the CPA board exam. Well, of course it was for the purpose of celebrating my success. *wink*

Anyway, here in this blog post, I'm going to share with you how our dining experience went here in this somewhat "hidden" place along Roxas Boulevard. We'll also evaluate if this place would pass as the new "Shinjuku Ramen House", considering that chef behind Shinjuku left and opened his own restaurant.

Before we head on to that, let us briefly talk about the place.

Kokoro Ramenya in Roxas Boulevard
Spacious yet not-so-elegant interior of Kokoro Ramenya
Situated in a not-so-prominent places along Roxas Boulevard, Kokoro Ramenya is located on the 2nd floor of the Avenue of the Arts Building. It has a relatively simple yet spacious interior (which I would have appreciate if the design was either more elegant or Japanese-inspired). With a large seating capacity, Yumi can accommodate approximately 50 to 60 customers.

Now, let's start exploring some of the dishes here in Kokoro!

Salmon (Sake) Sashimi || P235
Thick slices of Salmon Sashimi in Kokoro Japanese Restaurant
Thick slices of Salmon Sashimi in Kokoro Japanese Restaurant
The first dish to arrive was this Salmon Sashimi, and I have to be honest, I got impressed by how generous the serving was (considering the price). The cuts were generously thick, and the fish itself was delectably fresh.

Since, I was craving for Green Tea Milk Shake that week, I felt so euphoric finding one here in Kokoro!

Matcha Green Tea Milk Shake || P95 
Matcha Green Tea Milk Shake by Kokoro Ramenya
A sweet yet refreshing Matcha Green Tea Milk Shake
My cravings for this drink wouldn't have been satisfied if this Match Green Tea Milk Shake by Kokoro wasn't great. Luckily, it was! I just admired the way they eased up on the sugar. However, you need to note that this is milk shake, thus heavy on the tummy.

Beef Shoyu Ramen || P285
Beef Shoyu Ramen by Kokoro Ramenya
Beef Shoyu Ramen by Kokoro Ramenya
Since I have almost the same comment with this ramen and the other one we had (i.e. Hakata), I'll just reserved my comment for later. Of course, if you are really curious, you may scroll down and read about it.

Kokoro Wakame Salad || P195
Kokoro Japanese Wakame Salad
Wakame Salad - made out of Japanese seaweed! 
I don't know if the salad should have come second from the sashimi, but anyway, I enjoyed this Kokoro Wakame Salad because of its uniqueness (i.e. usage of seaweed instead of the usual greens). As for the taste, it wasn't as exquisite as I expected it to be, but it still managed to be interesting with its buoyant Japanese mayo taste.

Tofu Steak || P185 
Non-photogenic but great-tasting Tofu steak of Kokoro Ramenya
Non-photogenic but great-tasting Tofu steak of Kokoro
This Tofu Steak indeed lacked some presentation, and judging by its appearance, it seemed like it wasn't good enough to eat. Hence, I was tremendously surprised when I had a taste of the tofu! It was really silky smooth with its savory potent sauce that was both sweet and tasty (with some highlights of mushroom)!

Japanese Gyoza || P155 
The lovable Japanese Gyoza of Kokoro Ramenya
The lovable Japanese Gyoza of Kokoro Ramenya
I have established before in my previous posts that I usually am not fond of gyoza, but you'll be surprised (because I myself was) that I'm starting to like it after eating this particular gyoza of Kokoro Ramenya!

Crunchy on one side, the Gyoza of Kokoro was very much tasty and not to mention juicy. It had an interesting blend of flavors coming from the meat, the spices and the herbs! In some way, it reminded me of the Shanghai Fried Siopao in Ongpin, Binondo.

Dynamite Roll || P195 
The Dynamite Rolls of Kokoro Ramenya in Roxas Boulevard
The Dynamite Rolls of Kokoro Ramenya in Roxas Boulevard
Coming in slightly late, these Dynamite Rolls was also notably good and affordable. I chose them to be "mildly spicy", and I found the rolls interesting and delicious at the same time!

Hakata Ramen || P325 - Classic Bowl || P575 - Sumo Bowl
Wonderfully presented Hakata Ramen of Kokoro Ramenya
Wonderfully presented Hakata Ramen of Kokoro Ramenya
First thing that hit me when I had a sip of the soup was its "linamnam" or tastiness; however, when I start minding the components of the ramen, I realized that there wasn't a generous serving of meat. Also, there were more noodles than the soup. Depending on your preference, you might like (or not) the sogginess and the thickness of the noodles.

Overall, the noodles were okay, but not memorable enough. In fact, it was Ramen Cool that I remembered.

Chahan (Fried Rice) || P95
Chahan of Kokoro Ramenya
The Chahan - Japanese fried rice to pair with the tofu!

Gyudon || P235
Gyudon by Kokoro Ramenya - Japanese Restaurant
The lackluster of the night - Gyudon
This gyudon was deemed the lackluster dish of the night because of its dull presentation and appearance, negatively affecting our perception of this donburi. Admittedly, the beef had a great sweet and savory taste; however, its texture wasn't as tender as it could have been.

It might be important to note that the rice used was not the sticky one, and instead of using raw egg for the gyudon, a cooked egg was used.

Beef Teppanyaki || P335
Tenderly cooked Beef Teppanyaki by Kokoro Ramenya
The Beef Teppanyaki, despite the non-magnificence of the presentation, was really both tender, when it comes to the texture, and light, when it comes to the flavor. Also, due to the tenderness of the meat, all the garlicky and savory flavor from the sauce, seeped well into the meat fibers!

Before I conclude the post, permit me to share this memorable night of celebration! I want to thank my family for being so supportive for all the things I do!
A Not-So-Popular Kid (me) with the family here in Kokoro Ramenya
A Not-So-Popular Kid (me) with the family here in Kokoro Ramenya

Kokoro Ramenya - Ratings

Note: Unshaded stars are equivalents of half-stars. The ratings apply solely to this dining experience.
Place ★★★☆
Taste  ★★
Service ★★
Value for Money ★★
Budget needed: at least P450 per person (coming in at least by pair) for some shared ramen and other dishes (depending on the size of your group)

Give your own rating to Kokoro Ramenya - Japanese Restaurant

After our dining experience here in Kokoro Ramenya, I saw a flicker of potential, but honesty compels me to say that it may take a while before the restaurant comes to par with the Shinjuku Ramen House.

Yes, I enjoyed some of the dish here in the resto, but there was something I was looking for that wasn't there (well, except for the Gyoza, which I really fell in love with!). In spite of this, I am still encouraging you to try it out, since I may be wrong with my assessment. :)

Kokoro Ramenya
Location: Second Floor, Avenue of the Arts Building, Sta Monica Corner Roxas Boulevard, Ermita, Manila

Reservation No.: (02) 254-9716 [retrieved from Zomato]
Service Charge: 10% before VAT

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