Kamo Soba Keisuke

The unofficial ramen king Keisuke Takeda can add another notch to his impressive belt of Japanese dining establishments. His 13th is Kamo Soba Keisuke, a cozy 32-seater shophouse space in Holland Village, specializing in duck ramen.

After eight years in Singapore, Keisuke has certainly made a name for himself—with now iconic favorites Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King, Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, Ginza Tendon Itsuki and Teppanyaki Hamburg Nihonbashi Keisuke Bettei rounding out his portfolio. His ninth ramen concept, Kamo Soba Keisuke (full name Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke) literally translates to “Duck Ramen Keisuke”. One thing to note is the duck in question is no ordinary bird—Chef Keisuke utilizes a special Irish hybrid duck, cross-bred for maximum fattiness.

Hence it’s the star attraction that comes with every dish on the small but succinct menu. There are only five ramen bowls on offer, but with something for everyone. The Hybrid Duck Broth Ramen comes in your choice of clear soup or rich soup (both $14.90), served with tender duck slices, duck balls, and the option to add a soft, gooey egg. If you’re just here to try Chef Keisuke’s duck, the clear soup will suffice; but fans of gamey duck should opt for the rich broth, which comes bursting with an extra strong flavor thanks to the extra addition of duck bones into the stock.

If you enjoy richer soups, but crave a more classic miso soup base, there’s the Spicy Miso Hybrid Duck Broth Ramen ($16.50); pretty straightforward. Ironically, the soup actually builds on the clear soup base, but mixes in seven types of miso and a dollop of homemade minced chilli. The last two items on the menu are dry noodles—between the Soba ($14.90) and Tsukemen dipping noodles ($14.90), we’d recommend the latter purely for the accompanying bowl of rich duck soup. Enhanced with bonito flakes, it’s textured more like a gravy than a soup, but makes the perfect dip for moistening and flavoring your dry ramen to your desired extent. Dragged against your will to a ramen joint? No fear; there’s the Kamo Ju ($29.90) rice bento with 10 pieces of lovely fatty duck, for those who still prefer the rice life.

On the second floor of a shophouse, the restaurant’s decor is an ode to traditional Japanese teahouses. There are the wooden tables, woven tatami mats, and cushy blue bolster furnishings; a miniature torii (or Japanese gate) on the first floor welcomes you in to head upstairs for some hearty food. With plans for a rooftop garden bar on the top floor underway, Kamo Soba Keisuke makes for a fun (and decently affordable) addition to the Holland Village enclave.