We’ve been a fan of the creamy, delicate taste of pork-based ramen broth since the dish was first invented. So when we found out Japan’s famous ramen emporium Ippudo had recently opened its doors at the newly-renovated Mandarin Gallery, we rushed to make a reservation only to find out that they didn’t take reservations. What else was there to do but to brave the queue of excitable ramen lovers?
After whining a little about our table, (right smack in the centre of the tiny 57-seat restaurant), we dug into our appetizers. We did expect the Aburi Edamame, lightly grilled soy green beans with soya sauce, to only be nibble-worthy but the Spicy Chicken, described as lightly deep-fried chicken in three original spicy flavors, was abysmal in spite of its inspired batter and spices.
But all was saved when the main courses arrived. We ordered the Shiromaru Tamago, an original Tonkatsu soup with the ubiquitous crystal surface topped with cabbage kirukage and spring onion in classic Hakata style. The noodles were silky smooth and bouncy, perfect for noisy slurping. We also tried the spicy ramen, in a bolder red broth seasoned with garlic oil.
But while we found the whole ramen experience pretty fine and dandy, what was really bang for our buck was the Gateau Chocolat and the Cherry Blossom ice-cream. Yes, Ramen King Shigemi Kawahara outdid himself with the desserts, we think. The ice-cream was slightly tangy with a refreshing aftertaste while the chocolate cake cut like a breeze and melted on our tongue.
All in all, Ippudo is not the best place for meaningful conversation but a perfect place for you to hide out after work with good ramen and of course, delish desserts—but only if you think it’s worth paying over $30 for, like we did.
Your best bet at Ippudo: Order the Akamaru Shin-aji ramen. Check out our favorite ramen at Singapore’s best ramen-ya.