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Reviews: Mama-Ya ramen at Rome, a microcosm in a bowl

Opened just two months, at the end of 2016, but already has a loyal, willing to cross Rome to go at number 166 on via Ostiense: is Mama-Ya, a ramen bar in ' rose’ that, under the guidance of chef Kotaro Noda (Bistro 64), proposes ramen "that's good", without glutamate, no additives, in a few versions prepared daily: from the broth until vegetables, strictly seasonal. The ramen is fashion: I have already for some years in Milan (always at the forefront) and I have become quite recently in Rome. Chinese restaurants, Japanese and Oriental typically have already adjusted to propose, but the philosophy of Mama-Ya Ramen wants to stand out from others: few, very few dishes, where the ramen are the protagonists, to tell the philosophy of Italian food, How do they explain the holders, represents "a microcosm in a bowl".

To drive the local, tiny, thirty places really minimal tables and eight seats at the counter overlooking the kitchen, There are argentina Mariana Catellani, personal chef, and Marguerite Savarese, Romana who studied and lived in Japan. The Michelin-starred chef Kotaro Noda has only studied and worked out the menu of this restaurant, but he also made the formation to kitchen staff (chosen by owners) and continues to closely monitor the local, It is open for lunch – even with an offer of take-away lunchbox – and dinner (reservations required as there are limited places). In the kitchen, the skilled hands of two chefs, the first Japanese sources that mainly handles some ramen, and another lady in the kitchen that focuses exclusively on ravioli and desserts, that change according to the season of raw materials.

The menu includes three basic ramen (with chicken, with vegetables and beef) In addition to the ramen of the month. Broths, chicken, beef vegetable or – I did for choice pork broth, to differentiate themselves from the rest of the capital – are prepared daily in large pots, with vegetables and meats that arrive daily from local suppliers are carefully selected. A clear choice, to prepare all daily (and, for some specials, even in limited quantities), that includes the local philosophy and also collects a need, to consume during the day what you prepare as the kitchen, orderly and spotless, is very small (16 square meters) and there is no place to store quantities of merchandise or surplus stock. The noodles are handmade and thicker than usual and are cooked quite al dente, in delightful contrast with the majority of the capital's ramen. Also the meat is cooked every day: Braised chicken and pork belly there are always, While the oxtail is found only at certain times and in very limited quantities.

We come to the menu: in addition to the ramen there are the "onigiri", a sort of "arancino’ white rice stuffing, garnished with Nori. I tried the trio of onigiri (5 euros) rice with kombu seaweed and pickled vegetables, salmon (blunt) and umeboshi, Japanese pickled plums. The onigiri are also available individually at 2 euro per piece and I recommend to taste absolutely one with plums, I found it excellent.

Then, find the "gyoza” (seven euros for six pieces), Grilled ravioli stuffed with pork and vegetables. I have tasted that to pig, I love very much and that I prepare often at home, and found them to be excellent, with a filling tasty and balanced, penalized only by a small excess oil in the pot, cancelled however by accompanying traditional sauce, very well balanced.

Before talking about the ramen, let's talk about the "gohanmono": bowls of white rice, with spicy pork belly and scallops, with spring onions (8 euro); or the gohanmono with Braised chicken, spring onions, nori and soy sauce (9 euro). I ordered the latter dish: the chicken was really good, cut thin, tender and soft, with a sauce tending towards sweetness, mitigated, however, by a good quality soy sauce. Tasty.

Now lets talk about some ramen: in the menu there are always the ones to chicken (13 euros), What vegetarian (12 euros), the one with pork stew (14 euros), and the dish of the day, in my case, was a ramen "gyu tail", with broth of oxtail and tail roulade (16 euros). At the core of all ramen, There are chicken broths, beef and vegetables which are prepared daily. The noodles are handmade. Broths are tasty but contained in the amount of salt, much more like a broth is Italian’ Ginger-flavored not load, soya and miso, often overly salty, almost become the rule in Asian cuisines in Italy. The noodles are cooked al dente, Here, too, almost Italian style. Then there are the fresh vegetables and a variety of ' topping ', present in menu with price per part than the portion of ramen, You can choose to add ingredients and flavor to the dish: boiled egg and marinated (1 euro), seasonal vegetables (1,5 euros), nori (1 euro), Special soy sauce, served with a dropper (1 euro). For ' big ' appetites, You can double the dose of pork stew or Braised chicken (2 euro) and also have a double portion of noodle (3 euro). I have tasted the ramen with stewed pork and Bacon beef broth, with turnip, Savoy cabbage, leeks, spring onions and, Obviously, double dose of egg, nori seaweed and vegetables. Hot, fragrant, really delicious.

To end the evening, I suggest you try the "daifuku", the cakes of glutinous rice noodles that are served in two variants (5 euros): White Bean and red bean jam and citrus. Delicious, especially those with a fresh scent of Mandarin.

Alternatively, You can try the seasonal desserts, that obviously vary: When I visit you could choose between cheesecake with khaki and bright green tea tiramisu (Matcha, 6 euro). Matcha tiramisu I liked it so much I wanted to do it again at home.

On face drinks, in the paper there are several Eastern beers (4-4,5 euros), but I recommend to dine with a sake (as azuma tsuyahime or akita kaori, obtained by fine varieties of rice: price 6 euros) or with a hot infusion of Japanese green tea (2 euro), in my opinion the accompanying more neutral and better with these dishes. Highly recommended.

(visited in January 2017)

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