Review on Ramen Nagi at SM Aura

Sunday, January 19, 2014

#sundayfoodie 

If there is one thing I love aside from cosmetics and makeup artistry, it's eating and cooking. So welcome to my NEW section: FOOD! I have an existing food blog but I want to keep everything in this blog. I will paste a link to my old food blog later.

Ramen Nagi. The ramen house that has Manila eating out of the palm of its hand is now open to the public in SM Aura. The ramen house that was brought to you by Plains and Prints owners along with new partners.

Ramen Nagi at 5th Floor SM Aura
Note: I am not being paid to write this review.

Typical, this place is the ramen place to be only because it is new and the fact that it is from Hong Kong, everyone from far south and north came flocking to SM Aura (finally!) to try Ramen Nagi.

Ramen Nagi opened last December 16, on dry run. They officially opened to the public on the 20th. I was there with 6 of my friends and we all tried different soup bases since we wanted to try everything. Our first impression of the food was so-so. It was definitely different (absolutely exciting since it was thrilling that Ramen Nagi has finally reached the shores of Manila).



This is how they roll: They give you a sheet of paper and you mark how you like your ramen. I specially love the fact that you can choose the firmness of the noodles. Butao King is the most basic soup base. Whatever soup base you order from the list (even the Red King), it doesn't contain any spice so you have to indicate the level of spiciness you want.


Condiments to spruce up your ramen is readily available on each table. On some tables, you need to share with the others. They maximize the seating so you can be seated with another party in one table. I can live with this because this is how they do it in Hong Kong, and in other ramen places in New York.


My most favorite condiment is the raw garlic. They give you a garlic crusher (which you share also with the other people on the same table as you) where you can crush as much garlic as you like. I add about 3 or 4 -I like 'em garlic-y!


My hubby ordered a Level 3 for his ramen, he says that this is the most spicy he can go! The 2 extras that I love ordering with the ramen is the Tamago, which is the marinated hard boiled egg, and the Kikurage which are mushrooms that are already included in the ramen. It has been over cooked the past couple of visits so it doesn't look appetizing.
Tamago
Kikurage
Before anything else, I would like to tell you that the first time we tried this place in December, one bowl can be shared by two people. I could hardly finish one bowl because they put in so much noodles and soup. The pork slice was bigger and thicker too! You won't mind paying PhP 390 bucks for this huge bowl of ramen.


Back then, ramen specifications were followed to a T and you can really taste the difference with the other ramens that my friends ordered. The richness of the soup varied. And now, just shy of a month later...


Everything decreased by at least 20%, actually, more like 30%. And you can see that the soup is now watered down. I was so disappointed. I flagged down one of the many busy waiters that are running around and asked for more soup. His reply? "Hindi pwede ma'am."

Let's talk customer service. This restaurant is a NO-CAN-DO place. Whatever you request? The staff's default reply is always "NO". Even when they first opened, their staff lacks in training and honestly, Filipinos have to change their "mahiyain " trait and start looking at service and customer rights like the Americans. Us Filipinos deserve what we pay for too and therefore we should always get what we pay for.

But to be fair to Ramen Nagi, the staff and the manager on duty will eventually give-in to your simple request but after they have tested your patience, and you already have steam coming out of your ears. I called the manager and told her that all I asked for is a little more soup to be added and she told me that the Japanese chef doesn't like giving more soup (??!). She also told me a bunch of excuses that I won't get into detail anymore but in the end, she tells me "Sige na ma'am, bibigyan na lang kita ng sabaw" in a tone that seemed to say "just to shut you up" -But I shouldn't have to ask for this in the first place right?

The first time I tried this place, I predicted that in less than 6 months, this place will reduce its quantity to about 50% and the quality will also go down but I was wrong, it only took less than a month.


HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS:


PROS
  • Seating is only available to parties that are complete. No reserved seating.
  • Properly lit establishment.
  • Good temperature.
  • Fast turnover.
  • Level of spiciness is still followed according to how the customer wants it.
  • Good choices of condiments.


CONS
  • Even though you customize your soup, the taste is already all the same in terms of richness and special sauce.
  • Soup is watered down. You can see the difference between the first and second ramen photo.
  • Chopsticks are reusable. I am kinda iffy about that. You don't know if they are thoroughly cleaned.
  • Staff are unfriendly. If you make a request that is a little out of their usual, their favorite word is "no" that is accompanied with a frown (or a scowl, whichever is available).
  • Everything is reduced by 20-30% or maybe more (noodles, meat, spring onions, mushrooms, soup).
  • Price is no longer worth it.
  • Pricey.
  • My friend's kid (about 5 years old) can finish a bowl by herself, (plus an extra order of noodles) which means their portion really did decrease.
  • Poor customer service.
  • Takes a long time to settle the bill.
  • I had to ask several times for the manager. She didn't have any sense of urgency. A waiter was the one who tried to settle the problem.
  • When I expressed that the quantity has been reduced, she replied "banyan po talaga". It didn't matter to her that I have been in this establishment 6 times before.
  • Richness used to vary, but now they are all the same. My husband and I had different levels of richness but they both taste the same.
  • Tamago used to be cooked to perfection, but the past 2 visits, the egg is undercooked.
  • Pork slices are now smaller and thinner as compared to my first, second and third visit.
  • Soup now tastes a little watered down.
  • This location is not easily accessible.
  • Used to be fast service, not it takes 20 minutes for the ramen to be served.


Will I visit again? Not anytime soon.
Will I recommend it? No.



MY OVERALL RATING: ★★☆☆☆



You can find more restaurant reviews here: 

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3 comments

  1. That sucks! Not only did their servings lessened, but they have bad customer service. Whenever I eat out, one of the things that make up (sort of) for bad food is great customer service. So going to a place with bad customer service is a huge turn off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! That is precisely my point! Offer excellent customer service and it will make up for the other wrong things that went on... Sigh... Too bad too though because their ramen WAS good the first time I tried it! It was actually #3 on my list after Ukokkei in Pasay Road, and Hide-Chan in New York!

      Delete
  2. Very helpful post. I will try to look out for these pros and cons when I get to try the place. As a paying cutomer, we all have to get our money's worth and while reading your more recent experience, I'm not much looking forward to trying it anytime soon.

    http://thisislovelee.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete

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