The second time rendezvous with Gading Food for food tasting was a delightful experience. This time, Marutama Ramen became the host at its earliest outlet at Sentral Senayan, just an inch from Plaza Senayan. Alongside my fellow food bloggers, it’s another monumental stepping stone of shaping our knowledge and to venture deeper into the savory world of ramen!
Jammed with invitations! That’s what really happens to me in Ramadhan this year. I remember that last year wasn’t like this and it’s a good sign. A good sign where hosts nowadays – restaurants and hotels alike – are more aware of publications by implementing intense cooperation with online-based parties, particularly us as food bloggers. Our presence, while not yet standardized, is a proof of passion – especially for the part-timers, a never-ending learning process, a productive society and an exciting forum full of food discussions! More and more people let themselves attracted with all the mouth-watering posts, enticing tweets, and alluring food pictures. The food bloggers in Indonesia, particularly Jakarta, have never been this solid before.
Gading Food is one of those hosts that understand well about this advantage. The last session back at Fish and Co. at Plaza Indonesia was a success. Though as a name Fish and Co. would probably something that many Jakartans already familiar with but a solid refresh would be necessary once in a while. Again, it’s the role of the food bloggers that helps to promote again, to make the crowd remember how the fish tastes, and to update it all. While on the other hand, the benefit for the food bloggers would be from the publications – more creatively involved and higher productivity, or any other elements that will one day make them either as writers, photographers, restaurateurs, chefs, or anything. Wonderful prospects are coming and it’s getting more exciting as time goes by!
It’s ramen time!
So, enough chitchat about the bloggers and let’s just dig deeper about Marutama Ramen. The rendezvous point was at Sentral Senayan instead of Plaza Senayan. Why Sentral Senayan you might ask. Their representative, Ms. Juliwina explained that Marutama Ramen initial positioning was intended to cater office workers a.k.a Japanese expats. Sentral Senayan is a building with many Japanese tenants and as one of the owner/head chef of Marutama Ramen, Mr Tetsuya Kudo decided to simply start from there. After more than a year of success, Marutama Ramen now caters also for public and introducing their authentic ramen at malls all over Jakarta.
I gathered around with some of my closest food bloggers companions such as Selba, Aline, Inez, Sara, Julia, Dino, Ellyna, and the soon-to-be blogger Mia for an Iftar there. For the opener, Marutama Ramen presented us with assortments of chicken karaage, tamagoyaki/dashimaki, and a chicken gyoza. These alone really improved my appetite, especially the karaage that really hit the best part when served freshly fried.
Then came the signature ramen from Marutama. If you look at the price tag you might ask, ‘Why so expensive?’ People often ask such thing because we can easily achieve the desirable level of goodness even by eating good instant noodles or just buy one from your favorite hawkers.
The answer would be the soup!
Since Marutama Ramen in Indonesia doesn’t serve tonkotsu soup then only the chicken-based soup, or known as toripaitai, available but that doesn’t mean that the soup couldn’t reach the quality that Mr Kudo had wanted. Marutama uses 30 kgs of chicken bones for the soup and it’s only for serving 100 people. The process took five hours and Mr Kudo himself inspects personally to ensure the right taste. If it’s wrong then they have to create it again from zero even if that means the store closed until all ready! This is the perfection spirit or known as kaizen in Japanese, implemented in any field and it’s a vital thing for restaurant business. Thanks to my Japanese banking background so that I can understand a bit better on how the Japanese behaves for this sake.
The result was surprising. I really enjoyed my time digging the cloudy, thick, and milky soup. It was very hearty and savory, but some people may find it too heavy. In the spirit of the original tonkotsu, that’s probably why the soup has to appear like that and that becomes the trademark of Marutama Ramen. No alternative soups provided such as shio, miso or shoyu, so you’d best prepare to get yourself ecstatic with the goodness of it.
The toppings were also quite straightforward and interesting. Aside from the delicious chicken chasiu, Marutama also uses aosa instead of the usual nori. Aosa is used because it’s basically neutral and won’t interfere with the taste of the soup, while nori as we know it, produced strong smell. Another Marutama’s specialty that becomes the topping is also the half-boiled seasoned egg. It appears like a real boiled egg from the facade but when you dig a bit inside, the yolk’s still running and all soft inside. It all culminated into a very formidable ramen with a distinctive style indeed!
Still a long way to go
Not stopping there, Marutama still presented us with more of their dishes. It was lucky that all of us were grown accustomed with surprises like these and our stomaches maintain to hold on until the very end. The next one was another featured dish at Marutama, the nabe. It’s a hot pot full of vegetables and meat but still using the toripaitai soup. The thickness of the soup, however, was reduced a bit with the presence of white radish. Even though that makes the nabe less heavy but it becomes suitable if paired with any assortments of vegetables and meat.
Before we finished with a dorayaki ice cream or ice cream in a pancake that resembles the snack that Doraemon really fond of, we savored also a small portion of zosui or the Japanese porridge. Marutama uses Japanese rice, eggs, and scallions and these ingredients are usually mixed with the remaining soup from the nabe. Although we have gone this far, but we still have a room for more because the zosui was just nice. A little bit savory and strong owing to the egg but the scallions neutralize it and it all became a good balance.
While perhaps the toripaitai soup for the ramen may not be suitable for anyone, I was actually quite fond of it but so far I was still amazed with the one at Yamagoya Ramen. Truly, every ramen shop should have their specialties and in this case, the soup would be the true ammo for each store. What I really like from Marutama Raman are the fact that they serve halal food and serve it separately from the porky dorky side. It’s a shame that they could not get the certification but very understandable because ramen is a dish originally built from pork stuffs. It’s a good move nonetheless and thanks also to strict standardization from Mr Tetsuya Kudo as the Japanese owner. Now I can see that Marutama Ramen will always become one of my choices for good ramen in Jakarta.
MARUTAMA RAMEN (INDONESIA)
Halal-friendly (soup made from chicken only but pork toppings are optionally available)
Some menu suitable for vegetarians
Address and RSVP:
- Sentral Senayan 1 Building, BF #10 BC – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.572.4050
- eX Plaza Indonesia, 2nd floor #eX-20, Jl. MH Thamrin Kav 28 – 30 – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.316.0705
- Jl. Pluit Putra Raya No. 15 A – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.669.1199
- Puri Indah Mall, SF- 240 Lt. 2, Jl. Puri Agung Puri Indah – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.582.3193
- Living World Alam Sutera, GF Unit 32 – Jakarta, Indonesia – Ph: +62.21.2923.9450
Opening Hours: Daily, mall opening hours
BB Pin: N/A
Pricing: Around IDR 100,000 – IDR 150,000 for two.
Unsigned images are courtesy of Marutama Ramen (Gading Food)