If there’s anything I can’t get enough of, it’s a good bowl of ramen and I’m always on the lookout for a nice affordable place to fulfill my cravings. So when Gokinjo first started making noise on their Facebook page sometime mid-year with an intro half-price ramen promo, I knew I had to give them a visit. Alas, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to get their ramen at half price. However, I did manage to dine their with the wife about a month later.
Gokinjo is located along Rainbow Street in Concepcion Dos, Marikina. It’s along a one-way section of the street though, so the only way to get there is to turn into Rainbow Street from Lilac. Parking may be a challenge more often than not as it’s a pretty tight street and there are quite a few restaurants around here. Saint Paul of the Cross Parish Church and the Marikina Integrated Christian School are also just right across from them.
What It’s Like Inside
From the store front, it isn’t obvious but there’s actually quite a lot of seating space inside Gokinjo.
There’s outdoor seating too, in case you smoke or just prefer it there.
The table decor was simple and charming, and we were seated right across from a tastefully done mural.
If it wasn’t obvious from their Facebook page, ramen is Gokinjo’s bread and butter. However, the actual menu shows a bit of diversity, showcasing favorites from other countries as well. For example, you can order Laksa which is a Singaporean dish as well as Pho Hoa, which is from Thailand.
We started off with a side of Angry Wings (Php150), which are essentially fried chicken wings in a spicy glaze, garnished with black sesame seeds and bonito flakes. It certainly looked appetizing enough. Unfortunately, the skin didn’t stay crisp for long as the sauce quickly seeped in and turned it soggy. Also, it’s something you can’t eat as a side as it’s not very appetizing once it’s started to get a bit cold.
Being a fan of Cafe Lidia’s Pasta with Tuna and Bacon, I was hoping for something similar from Gokinjo’s Cheese and Bacon Pasta (Php175). Theirs are linguine in a homemade white pasta sauce garnished with bacon bits, bonito flakes, and black sesame seeds, which Gokinjo seems really fond of. The sauce was nice and creamy and the bonito flakes and bacon bits certainly added different dimensions to the flavor. It’s a reasonably good effort and something I might order again on occasion.
What I really came for though was the ramen and they recommended I try their Tantanmen (Php180), which is supposed to be a rich, heavy ramen with a miso broth, sautéed pork, chili, and sesame paste.
Unfortunately, there were a lot of misses here. The egg noodles were slightly overcooked, the supposedly soft-boiled egg was borderline hard-boiled, and the broth itself turned out to be a bit sweet. Miso broth isn’t generally supposed to be noticeably sweet although I suspect that it had turned out too salty and they had added sugar to compensate.
The Tantanmen wasn’t especially bad. It was decent actually. But it failed at every opportunity where it could have been exceptional.
So Is Gokinjo Worth Coming Back For?
Gokinjo had a lot of promise, especially in their surprisingly diverse selection of Asian favorites on top of their staple of ramen. Unfortunately, they didn’t deliver on a lot of things. Of course, it’s still a new establishment with ownership that’s just as new so it may be worth coming back for to see if they eventually shape up. As it was though, the Cheese and Bacon Pasta was the only thing really worth coming back for.