Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tampopo: kurobuta at its best?

with Kin, Prof. Massi, Prof. Francescca and Kin, Edward on two weekends

I wrote about Tom Ton and its superb kurobutas earlier. Click here for earlier review.

Takagi-san, the owner has to be credited for his bravery as probably the first restaurant in Singapore to introduce kurobuta pork to the public.

The signature spicy kurobuta shabu shabu ramen is still in top form. The Kyushu pork bone soup which enriches this dish is as rich and tasty as ever.

We also had the Kyushu pork bone kurobuta ramen. The cloudy, rich looking broth is typical of Kyushu pork bone ramen. Boiled in constant high heat for two days, it extracts the minerals, collagen, and calcium, into a rich thick broth. The bowl is spiced up, both by colour and taste as it is generously topped with a spoonful of spicy flying fish roe. Within the soup, a chilled flavoured egg resides...outside firm and cooked, insides runny and nearly so.

Typicalof Kyushu ramen, the noodles were thin but not wiry. And complemented the broth very well. It allowed the broth, which is the real star, to shine.

Extra servings or chasu was also available, and this was excellent. The right amount of fat vs lean meat balance and flavourful.

But the main dishes were also as outstanding.

Premium cut of kurobuta pork chop:

This was served on a hot plate. We found the marinate a bit on the salty side, but the cut of pork was gorgeous. Tender yet had some bite, and magnificently flavourful...due to the generous marbling.

But even more spectacular was the katsu.

I had waxed lyrical over Katsukura's katsu, proclaiming it to be the my personal best. But being able to indulge in it frequently is not possible, as Katsukura is in Tokyo. I will gladly settle for Tampopo (and Tom Ton) version any day. The pork served to us that evening was even better than the norm in, fatter and hence more flavourful. But also very tender. The batter was less light and oily than the Katsukura, but it was nonetheless very light and crispy and provided the perfect counterpoint to the rich pork within. Katsukura still has the edge with its superior dipping sauce, barley rice, and batter...but the quality of the meat is at the same level.

Various levels of pork were available...according to marbling. The cut we had pictured, is of the highest grade cut...with most marbling, and beautiful, beautiful flavour.

We also had the occassion to sample the cream puffs from Tampopo deli at the basement of Liang Court. Made fresh every hour on the hour, this cream puff draws the queues like no other. Only 40 pieces are available at the top of the hour, and the queue starts to form at least 20minutes before. When it comes out, it is immediately zapped by the eager queue.

The puff was super light...this was the first indication that it was something special. The crust was crisp, and as you break it open, the smooth, soft, cold custard just oozes out.

The custard was a perfect balance of sweet, savoury and creamy. Just marvellous. The style is like Beard Papa, but this was seventh heaven while BP remained on the ground.

Worth the queue...btw, the other pastry stuff in the Deli is also very good...characteristically light and fluffy.

Tampopo Restaurant
177 River Valley Road #01-23/24
Liang Court Shopping Center
Singapore 179030
Contact no: 6338 3186
Fax no: 6336 2625

Tampopo Deli
177 River Valley Road
#B1-16 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6338 7386
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