Before I start, let me just say how amazing things can change in the span of a year…or not.
Back in October 2014 after I first told CJ my true feelings for her, we decided to have our first “date” at Hanamaruken Ramen in Trinoma. It was a relatively new Japanese restaurant back then, featuring a limited menu. That was when we were still at the mutual understanding phase of our relationship. Fast forward to November 2015, and as fate would have it—we went back there after 13 months! Right after a job interview that finished early, we returned to the place to celebrate our first anniversary as a couple. Just the same as our first date and the most recent instance, CJ and I left Hanamaruken Ramen full of happiness and contentment.
Even though we’ve changed a lot 365 days after we first told each other our true feelings, some things will always remain the same. The time we spend in each other’s company, coupled with the fact that we still enjoy discovering new dining spots; those two things will never change. Never mind the fact that we no longer see each other at work; ironic since we first met over lunch. I love her no matter what, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. If Alden Richards and Maine Mendoza had “Tamang Panahon” (the right time), we had “One Day At A Time”. And look how fast time flies when taken day by day!
Okay, going back. Hanamaruken Ramen’s Trinoma branch is the Osaka, Japan-based franchise’s first location here in Manila. Two more branches—one located at The Grove by Rockwell in Pasig, and another at Muntinlupa’s Alabang Town Center—are already open for business. Expect the homey ambiance of Osaka as soon as you enter, with a clock to even remind you of the time over there (they are one hour ahead of Manila). There are tables for groups, and also counter-style chairs and a common table if you’re going solo. Random knick-knacks are hung on a glass case at the end of the room, juxtaposed with some ukiyo-e prints; one print got my attention, however.
Hanamaruken has a limited menu compared to other Japanese restaurants in the mall, as they chose to specialize in only a few items. Their signature offerings (ramen and rice bowls) feature pork procured from the Arakawa Pork Company, also from the town. Led by Takaku Arakawa and driven by his more than 30 years of experience in the business, Hanamaruken really delivers happiness in every bowl. According to a poster in the restaurant, Arakawa-san personally trains the chefs to a high standard. We were able to taste this high standard through our orders: the Drunk Man Rice Bowl for me, and the Chasyu Ramen for her.
I’ll let these pictures tell you more about Hanamaruken Ramen, at this point in time. Do visit their Facebook page and hit the Like button to stay connected. Until the next review, bon appetit everyone.
#2087, 2/F Garden Restaurants,
Trinoma Mall, North Avenue cor. EDSA,
Brgy. Bagong Pag-Asa, Quezon City 1105