I finally tried Ippudo, the famed ramen joint with the infamous snaking lines. It's been a couple of years since the lauded ramen king landed on our shores and they now have 3 outlets. So while the notorious queues have subsided, their hearty and robust ramen ensures a steady flow, and on occasion, flash flood, of diners.
An observation we made over dinner last Thursday was that the restaurant isn't catered to date nights. It's more a place to dine and dash, with payment of the bill made first, of course. The din of the crowded restaurant makes hearing your dining companion(s) a feat, and the overt clearing of dishes in order to turn over the diners efficiently deters any lingering.
The Shiromaru Motoaji ($15), Ippudo's original tonkotsu broth is what made them famous. I thought the full-bodied, albeit oily, soup base was decent, with hardly a sticky film present in most substandard tonkotsu broths. We chose the popular medium texture for the noodles (there's soft, medium, hard and extra hard to choose from), and it was a nice contrast to the still-crunchy cabbage, radish and black fungus. The cha shu is tender enough but not particularly spectacular.
However, the standout was their seasonal ramen, the Spicy Black ($18), a "zeng-ed" up version of the original tonkotsu, with spicy niku miso, black pepper, and spicy koyu oil. I loved loved LOVED this. The black pepper lent a nuanced kick to the broth and balanced the tonkotsu base. I was still daydreaming and salivating over this days after.
We added a Soy Egg ($3) to our dishes, and this was perfectly done, if a little pricey. Cooked through but still wobbly and soft inside.
333A Orchard Road
Mandarin Gallery #04-02
Tel: 6235 2797
Open Mondays to Saturdays from 11am to 11pm
Sundays from 11am to 10pm