Thursday, December 01, 2011

Ippudo Tao @ UE Square, Singapore

You know what's really good on a cloudy, rainy day? Besides my craving for a Bak Kut Teh during this type of weather, the other would actually be a bowl of hot and steaming ramen! Any bowl of ramen is not good enough. It has to be the ramen from the "ramen king" whom is none other than Shigemi Kawahara, the founder of Ippudo in Fukuoka, Japan.

The story of Ippudo dated back in 1985 from its first outlet in Japan with just a seating capacity of 10. Ever since, the name has grown to 49 outlets in Japan, 1 in New York and 2 in Singapore. This outlet here in UE Square is the 2nd outlet in Singapore with the collaboration of Tao, the renowned Japanese Drum Group after its first branch at Mandarin Gallery.

I like the ambiance which transports one's soul to Japan with its play of black, red and wood colours. It evokes a sense of passion, the very same passion that those chefs have to prepare the best bowl of ramen to its customers. For your info, Ippudo was also the first to refer to broth by color, Shiro (white) and Aka (red), which soon became a standard industry practice. And till today, Shiromaru and Akamaru continue to helm as Ippudo’s signature ramen.

For starters, Ervin ordered a plate of Ippudo Pan Fried Gyoza, which he insists that I have to try. At that time, I was thinking to myself wondering what's so special about Gyoza? It's served everywhere at the Japanese restaurants. However, it did turn out to be something special. When the dish came, it looked to me what we called an "Apam balik" where there's a layer of crispy flour and egg batter. When you turn the crispy layer over, there's 6 pieces of chicken meat dumplings attached to it. The dumpling didn't appeared to me as pan fried as it tastes like it has been steamed but the bottom has been lightly pan seared together with the crispy layer. I like the contrasting textures that did not sacrifice the juiciness of the dumplings. MUST-ORDER!

This is also no ordinary agedashi tofu. This is Agedashi Tofu & Karaage No Mizoreni which is the agedashi tofu served with fried chicken karaage and light Japanese sauce. The tofu is no doubt very silky smooth and the fried karaage pairs very well with the subtle flavours of the sauce. Yummy yummy.

I was feeling a little adventurous and decide to try a new way of eating ramen. So, I ordered a bowl of Tsukemen or also known as "dipping noodles". Tsukemen is similar to ramen but the noodles and soup are served separately, where the soup is not added into the noodles. This is one of the traditional ramen styles in Japan where the noodles are served cold, yet the soup is hot. You'll need to dip the noodles into the soup before eating just like how you would eat a bowl of cold soba. I enjoyed this so much that I managed to finish the whole bowl of it all by myself even after the Gyoza and Agedashi Tofu.

The soup for Tsukemen is richer and more concentrated than the usual basic ramen soup so that you get the instant flavours absorbed into the ramen as soon as you dip the thick and smooth noodles into it. Usually the soup will diluted if you soak the noodles in the soup for long. Therefore, this way of eating ensures you get the best broth during the whole process. And to show you're enjoying the ramen, slurp your noodle noisily and don't be afraid that you'll be getting disapproving stares from other patrons. That's the best way to show your appreciation to the chefs.

Ervin had a bowl of Tao Aka Chashu which is actually spicy noodles with simmered pork belly. They used the signature Ippudo tonkotsu broth, which is blended with Japanese fish stock and spicy miso paste. For this ramen, they used the thin curly noodles as opposed to the thick flat noodles which I had for the tsukemen. The soup is very flavourful due to the pork broth but there's no smell of pork here. It's not very spicy and it's definitely the perfect bowl for a rainy day!

I've finally found a place for a good bowl of ramen in Singapore, all thanks to Ervin who brought me here for lunch. The service was efficient, the noodles were cooked just right and the soup is delicious. The bill came up to about SGD$70+ for the both of us. Yes, it's very expensive ramen but I don't mind splurging on tasty ramen once in a while. To me, this place championed the Hokkaido Santouka Ramen in Pavilion KL.


Ippudo Tao
207, River Valley Road
#01-55/56 UE Square
Singapore 238275
Tel: +65 6887 5315


Opening Hours

Mondays to Thursdays
11.30am-3pm (Last order at 2.30pm)
5.30pm to midnight (Last order at 11pm)

Fridays to Saturdays
11.30am-3pm (Last order at 2.30pm)
5.30pm to 2am (Last order at 1am)

11.30am to 11pm (Last order 10pm)


Mun Mun said...

Well you are one lucky lady to try the best things.

The ramen looks tempting plus the side dishes. Yum Yum!! Hungry!!

I am sure many more good food will be coming your way. Sit back and enjoy eh.

Good pictures and description of the food.

KY said...

and I had just read on twitter from natalie fong that this is her fav place too!

Sean said...

i'm crossing my fingers that ippudo will open in KL someday! i'd definitely queue up for it :D

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the way they make gyoza (from what i saw in the open kitchen) is they pan fry it then put water/stock in the pan and cook it till all the water/stock has evaporated, so that it tastes pan fried / steam..

Taufulou said...

everything looks good and after reading what you write..

instant hungry . . *sial!

ulric said...

I will have the Tsukemen any day...cose I love cold somen/soba/udon/noodles :D

Michelle Chin said...

initially wanted to go to the one at new york but passed this for the sake of per se

eiling lim said...

Mun Mun: Hehe.. yes I'm indeed lucky to be trying all these good food. Just love the variety of food that Singapore has.

KY: Oh really? It's naiss...

Sean: me too! I hope they would open a branch here.

Joe: I see. I didn't know as I wasn't sitting at the counter.

Taufulou: Hehe

eiling lim said...

Ulric: I love that too.

Michelle Chin: Next time you should give it a try!

suituapui said...

Oodles of noodles. I love noodles....but not the cold ones.

eiling lim said...

STP: haha but it's nice!

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