I’m more of a noodle person rather than rice person unless we are talking about chicken rice or banana leaf rice. And when it comes to Japanese noodles, I prefer to have udon than ramen/soba. Maybe it’s due to texture of the noodles, I’d always go for the former without a second thought.
Having that said, I’m willing to order a bowl of ramen if it’s a good one. And I did just that when my friend and I visited this particular restaurant located inside Mandarin Gallery along Orchard Road. Prior to this visit, I read nothing but good reviews about Ippudo SG for its awesome bowl of ramen. Some even crowned it as the best ramen in Singapore! That’s pretty bold statement I would say but it had me looking forward for it. And of course, there’s a part about the long waiting queue. But that didn’t matter much to me since I’ve got nothing much to do in Singapore. Hence, ramen it was for our dinner on one particular evening.
We arrived at the scene early about 615PM on a weekday and there’s already a long queue of customers waiting patiently outside the restaurant. The queue never grew any shorter even after we were done with our meal. It took us about 15 to 20 minutes of standing and waiting before we were shown to our table. While waiting, we were given the menu to glance thru… just so to quicken the ordering process.
The menu was pretty simple and straight forward. Appetisers, rice, desserts and a variety of alcohols were all in there for selection. But our primary reason was to try their famed ramen, hence we ordered two types of ramen and an appetiser to be shared.
It didn’t take long for the dishes to arrive. First up was Ippudo Gyutataki (SGD$13). It is essentially a pan-seared beef with ponzu dipping sauce on the side. The beef was alright with reddish pink in the center. Not exactly melt-in-the-mouth texture but the beef was good on its own. It also went well with the ponzu sauce which has slight tart to it.
Then, the main dish arrived promptly one after another. I opted for their Akamaru Chashu (SGD$18). Murky, creamy broth, it is said that the tontuksu broth involves “a process of cooking pork bones for somewhat more than 20 hours before blending it from three cooking stages to achieve” such gorgeous result. On top that, a special blend of miso paste and fragrant garlic oil are added for Akamaru.
First sip of the broth and I fell for it. Slightly salty yet hearty, it was robust yet savoury; packed with porky-licious (if there’s a word for it) goodness. I guess the additional ingredients did their job well. The thin springy ramen was just nice – al-dente – although we did ask for it to be cooked regular instead of soft or hard and the fork-tender texture of the pork belly was equally good too.
My friend ordered Shiromaru Kakuni (SGD$19.50) It came with simmered tender pork cubes. The broth wasn’t as murky and strong in flavour as Akamaru but it was still good; light and delicate. Nothing much can be said about the pork cubes though.
Overall, I preferred mine (Akamaru) over the Shiromaru. So did my friend. The broth itself was so good that it took the center stage instead of the ramen. Now, the question; is this the best ramen in Singapore? Well, it’s hard to judge since this was my first and only ramen meal I had in Singapore. But it definitely is the best ramen I had in my life… for the moment at least. I do hope that they do consider opening one in Malaysia. Nevermind about the premium price as they’ll set the benchmark on how or what a good bowl of ramen should taste like. Whether it is worth the wait (the queue), well… it’s up to you to decide after you have tried it for yourself.
The bill came up to SGD$66.50 including two drinks (SGD$6 for a Coke and green tea). Although it was rather noisy when we were there, the ambiance was just nice and comfortable with dimlights lighting up the restaurant. The staff were fast and efficient to the point of cleaning the table once we were done with our food. A good or bad thing, I’ll let you decide. Would I be going back again? Definitely, if I have the time or patience to queue up.
333A, Orchard Road,
#04-02/03/04 Mandarin Gallery,
Telephone Number : +65 6235 2797