Yomenya Goemon

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I haven’t really written much about food lately. Not because there’s nothing to write about…there are, in fact, a lot of new places to eat opening up. You can say that restaurants are like a barometer of the Philippines, the more new ones you see, the more bullish the economy. However I just haven’t seen much that “lights my fire”, so to speak. Most of them are rather “more of the same”, though some are better than others, and some are not. But when you come across a place that makes you eat pasta with chopsticks, then you know you have something that breaks the mold. Add to that a name that sounds like that of a samurai warrior, and you have something interesting

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Yomenya Goemon started in Tokyo’s Shinjuku district some time in the 70’s. In essence, they are a pasta and pizza place, despite the samurai warrior name, but they do it in a way like no other. Ever heard of soft-boiled egg and spaghetti? It may sound either weird or intriguing, but trust me, they know what they’re doing and they pull off the combination of unlikely ingredients beautifully.

Their food falls under the definition of “fusion”, but if you ask me what cuisine is being fused, then it gets a little bit blurry. There are Japanese and other Asian elements in their dishes, but I couldn’t call it strictly “Italo-Asian”. It feels more to me like “Italo-something else”, and that “something else” is a combination of stuff that you think wouldn’t work, but does.

We had a combo of salad, miso soup and a large platter of the “Shrimp, Bacon and Onsen Egg Spaghetti”, plus the Margherita Pizza. The spaghetti was among the “safer choices” in their menu, something that we are sure our 3-year-old can take, but there are definitely more interesting stuff on the list. The spaghetti was close to what you’d expect from any tomato based ones, but the shrimps are whole and unshelled, and there’s the egg. Don’t be afraid of the name “Onsen”, it basically looks every bit like soft-boiled eggs. The thought of mixing soft yolk on hot spaghetti sounded interesting to me, and it turned out very nicely. The egg added “creaminess” that you don’t normally expect from tomato based spaghetti, and the tomato sauce, even by itself, was already very good.

The bigger surprise though was the pizza. It was the best pizza dough I’ve tried so far, and I really mean it. It was thin, moist and a bit softer than normal. It was almost like a cross between a pizza crust and a Malay roti bread. I don’t know (and care) if this is the way the traditional pizza crust should really be, but I like it this way.

Salad and Soup
Salad and Soup
Margherita - Just tomato sauce, cheese, small dots of pesto, and the best pizza dough ever.
Margherita – Just tomato sauce, cheese, small dots of pesto, and the best pizza dough ever.
Shrimp, Bacon and Onsen Egg Spaghetti
Shrimp, Bacon and Onsen Egg Spaghetti

And the best thing about this is that if you’re from Manila, you don’t need to go to Shinjuku to get some weird, addictive pasta. Just drop by at Greenbelt 3. And it doesn’t cost more than what the typical GB3 resto would.

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Yomenya Goemon at Greenbelt 3

* Photos taken last April 2013 with Olympus PEN EPM2 and M.Zuiko 14-42 IIR

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