Monday, July 5, 2010

Search for Ramen 8: Ippudo

with Dr. Mycroft

The opening of Ippudo at Mandarin Galleria came with much fanfare late last year.Ippudo is a very famous ramenya in Japan..many bloggers have written volumes of their hakata style noodles. So when it opened in Singapore, long queues formed outside the outlet. This increased the reputation even more...invoking in Singaporeans their kiasu queue sure must be good wan...and making this self fullfilling.

I ventured one lunch in the begining of the year with my office colleagues...we arrived before 1215, and there was no line. But my first visit, I was not very impressed with the tonkotsu - what they call Shimaru Classic. The ramen, in memory tasted good, but not spectacular enough.

My second tasting was better, and the subject of this blog. I tried the Seasonal Ramen...their Kyushu Miso Ramen...with a mild miso mixed into the tonkotsu broth. The waitress explained that the base broth is the same, but the Kyushu Miso is thicker, and probably saltier.

Saltier it is. But still not too salty...for me still right, but at the extreme end of the scale for acceptablilty.

The waitress asked how we wanted our ramen to be...this is the first ramenya that I have ever been asked that...not even in Tokyo have I been asked this question. This intrigued us. Three options are available. Soft, regular and hard. We elected regular, as it was explained to us this is a bit al dente, but not hard.

The noodle arrived in quick time. The visual impact of the ramen was interesting as well...the first thing that struck me was the froth on top of the broth...was this an volute of some kind? Whipped up by the chef, a la Michelin? A whiff told us the broth was fragrant and very well made. A sip told us it was indeed salty, but acceptable. And very tasty. The noodles were indeed al dente, firm to the bite, and provides some resistance to chewing. Just nice for me. The chasu was tender, but not as melt in your mouth gorgeous feel that one gets with the pork cheeks at Santouka.

The egg is excellent. However only half an egg was included...a bit miserly if you ask me, especially when the ramen was S$17. But the saving grace for the egg was its taste. Excellent. The insides were almost liquid, and the outside jelly like in texture. Very good. Almost as good as my reference ramen egg served by Tampopo.

Overall, very good. Both Mycroft and I agreed it was probably on par with Nantsuttei...though different...Nantsuttei was heavy in garlic and heavier with the salt. And neither topples my reference standard: Santouka. But Ippudo is worthy of repeat visits.

Ippudo Ramen-ya
Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Mondays to Saturdays 11am-11pm
Sundays 11am-10pm
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