With so many Ramen places popping up all around Singapore, things can get very confusing… I have reviewed so many Ramen Joints that if you mentioned a Ramen Restaurant that I have been to, I might just give you a “really, I did?” Embarrassing and funny that might be, there will be one Ramen joint I will never forget, Ippudo at Shaw Centre. Not because of the taste, but because my parents went back there over 2 consecutive weekends, I went with them on the second visit.
If you plan to come here, be prepared to stand in a long queue, which really highlights how busy and popular Ippudo is. But, you shouldn’t wait for too long, the turnover of customers at a Ramen place is very high, with most patrons just eating and leaving. Like a lot of Ramen Joints like this, this is a big open kitchen with plenty of staff manning the front and back of the Restaurant. But despite that, the food doesn’t exactly come out very fast. Well, I wasn’t in a rush or impatient anyway…
But, there might be a nice trick to skip the queue and long wait. Opposite the Ramen Joint, is the Bar Ippudo, which is also owned by them, where they stock quite a fair bit of Sake. So, if you are planning to both indulge on both Ramen and Sake, you can do it on the high table at the bar instead of the busy restaurant. Another advantage of the Bar would be that you can have a slow conversation there without ‘being in the way’ of other customers waiting to eat Ramen.
Unlike other places that serve Ramen, Ippudo has quite a big menu, it offers quite a few hot and cold appetisers and desserts. Most other Ramen Restaurant serve just Ramen, and you can pretty much squeeze everything from their tiny menu, into an even tinier slip of paper. Ippudo also offers many different flavours for their Ramen, from Classic Black Garlic, to a Singapore flavour (I still can’t figure out what is so special about that).
This is the Beef Tataki ($15.00). Served cold and with soy sauce, the Beef was lightly seared, leaving the inside rare. It was a little more chewy and bland than I expected, but the onions below gave each bite some sweetness and crunch.
This is the Gyoza, 10pcs ($16.00). I would recommended eating it with the mixture of Soy sauce and Vinegar. But if you want, you can ask for pure white Vinegar. Not as crispy as I would have liked, but the skin wasn’t too thick and the filling was tasty. But, my main criticism would be that the pan frying on the Gyoza looks quite inconsistent, as shown by the colour on some of them.
This is the Goboten Salad ($12.00). Served with a light soy sauce dressing, the Salad was chilled and crisp, and had vibrant colours from the carrots and capsicums thrown in. I really enjoyed the fried strips of Spring Onion which gave a crispiness that I really look for in a Salad. I still prefer Croutons though…
This is the Nasumiso ($7.00) which is Miso-glazed Eggplant. I found it quite tasty and the skin was crispy, but I couldn’t really taste any miso though… I guess, for me, the nicest thing about this dish, is the presentation, very well-plated and photogenic.
This is the Tsukune Rice ($8.00). Now, to eat it, you have to break the minced pork patty and mix it in with all the other ingredients. Ok, it was tasty, but the little dollop of mayo turned out to be really overpowering. The ‘Onsen-style’ egg was fine, the runny yolk gave the rice bowl a smoother texture.
Ahhh, now the main dish, the Ramen! I ordered the Special Akamaru (Black Garlic) Ramen ($23.00). Now, it is called special because it had an egg, seaweed and additional Char Shu (Pork Belly). There was a little Garlic flavour in the broth, but it was definitely lacking a Pork bone taste, which is suppose to be the base of the soup. By the way, you can ask for additional raw Garlic, which you can crush into your soup if you want. Also, the Char Shu was quite tough and dry, and the noodle was too soft for my liking (I did specifically ask for hard noodles).
Oh one more thing, they had this offer going on when I visited, where you can order Kaedama for just $1. Kaedama is asking for additional Ramen after you finish yours, if there is still sufficient broth left over. It is a good deal, but I was quite full after I finished my bowl of Ramen, so, I gave it a miss…
Surprisingly, I still had some space left over for Dessert! This is their Matcha Tiramisu ($7.00). It was tasty with a strong Green Tea flavour, but there was a grainy texture from the Green Tea Powder. In terms of calling it a Tiramisu, I would find it lacking in terms of traditional elements in a proper Tiramisu. Maybe Matcha Cake would be a better title for it.
In conclusion, Ippudo, to me… Is just another Ramen Joint with relatively nice Ramen. Don’t get me wrong, I did say I won’t forget about Ippudo… But after sampling so many Ramens, it gets quite monotonous after a while and you soon can’t taste any difference between the bowls. Maybe those people doing all the new flavours like cheese and lobster Ramen are onto something…
1 Scotts Road
Shaw Centre #04-22