Some time last year I wrote about the Ramen Bar, the shop which took not-so-expensive ramen in Manila up by a notch.
Just very recently we tried something fairly similar at Makati’s Greenbelt 5. Kenji Tei at the third floor comes very close to looking like a branch of the Ramen Bar, it would not be impossible to mistake it for one if you take down the sign. You could be forgiven for thinking its a copycat. The menu of Kenji Tei does look similar to the Ramen Bar’s in many ways as well. Both carry the ramen as the centerpiece, and price-wise they are about equal as well, though Kenji Tei’s has more to offer to people who don’t really have ramen in mind. Unlike the Ramen Bar which has a “token” selection of non-ramen dishes, in Kenji Tei you can get things like Tonkatsu, Tempura and even Sushi.
It took some time before we tried Kenji Tei, but as we found out, it wasn’t bad at all. I am comparing Kenji Tei to Ramen Bar, since I was able to try the latter first, though I wouldn’t claim to be knowledgeable about who came up with the concept first. Still, regardless of who copied whom, Kenji Tei is definitely worthwhile to try out – and in our case, it’s one we would not mind coming back to, again and again, in the future.
Between the two, noodle-by-noodle, I think Ramen Bar would still get my vote, but Kenji Tei would not be a far second. And on days when I would want something other than just a bowl full of ramen, Kenji Tei might actually be the more sensible option.
* Tip: They give complementary cold tea, made from Barley…and you can have as many refills as you would like. It may be acquired taste, but I enjoyed it a lot (but then again, I’m the type who likes drinks with “unique” taste).
* Photos taken August 2012, with Panasonic Lumix LX5.