Authentic Japanese ramen
Picked this for a family dinner on a Friday night, although Friday nights are never good for any place mildly popular. But we decided to brave it :)
I reached at 6:45pm and the snaking queue was easy to spot. Terrible humid weather but everyone seemed to be patient - good! I was finally seated at 7:30pm for a table for 4pax so I was hoping the 45mins wait will be worth it.
A few things that struck me:
- this tiny place only sits 18pax.
- they serve only their signature ramen, nothing else (except a few soft drinks).
- they provide water and magazine for people in the queue. How nice.
- (I've heard) they frown upon customers who stay too long after finishing their food, which makes perfect biz sense of course. A table of 4 is already almost a quarter of their total seating.
The 18 pax are really cramped - what true Jap style. I was fortunate enough to get a table right at the end of the hole, and that means no bodies passing behind you every now and then.
The menu is kept really simple.
Choose your soup:
- normal - prawn based
- red - chilli oil
- black - black pepper
Choose your 'type':
- just the ramen
- with flavoured egg
- with seaweed
- the special ie. to have them all.
Since I'm not fan of spicy stuff, I picked the normal soup base, with all toppings.
In addition you can also choose from light, normal or strong / soft the taste of the soup, the amount of chicken oil, texture of noodles. Slips of paper to indicate these choices are passed to you to write on so you get your food quick after you are seated.
There's also a very strange ritual of pounding your own mixture of black and white sesame seeds to mix into your ramen. I think its a gimmick that makes the short waiting time for food even shorter.
Tonkotsu Ramen Special ($14.80) with everything 'normal' - food came within 15mins of us being seated. It was a moderate bowl: the soup was murky milky, and the seaweed was a huge huge piece. There were 2 big pieces of chasu, plus a flavoured egg. The soup was really good, but it got a little salty after a while. The chasu was nice but a little too fatty for me.
But the star of the evening had to be the flavoured egg. I usually dont quite like how most places do it soft but flavourless but this was just spot on! Its like a pre-mixed half boiled egg - taste and texture all came up tops.
I didnt try the other 2 soups but I got feedback from the rest of the guys that the chilli nor pepper was very evident.
Interestingly, they have complimentary hard boiled eggs in baskets on each table - you can eat as many as your cholesterol allows you to. But the flavoured egg beats them hands down. A container of cold marinated tao *** is also placed on each table, and these are seriously addictive and very good on their own. Suspect its marinated in some sesame dressing, and they maintained the crunch very well.
Service was hurried but nothing to complain about. Everything you need is basically on the table and you just help yourself to it. And its useful to note that there is practically no air con inside so it is also quite hot and stuffy, after being hot and stuffy while in the queue.
Admittedly, I was expected to be wow-ed but didnt quite get that although the food was good. And I'm not sure if I'd want to queue for 45mins again for it. But tastes are subjective after all, so I'd encourage you to try for your own~
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