I've realised, that when it comes to ramen virgins, they tend to hate the heavy cloying richness of tonkotsu broths. To ease such ramen newbies into the world of ramen, your best bet lies with chicken-based ramens, which steer towards the light and clear. Ramen Kagetsu Arashi, one of the most established and extensive ramen chains in Japan, is a good starting point for those averse or new to ramen. They specialise in delightfully light chicken stock-based ramen simply seasoned with salt.
We had lunch here at their first ever shop at Star Vista, where we were spectators to a manifestation of the current labour crunch: There was just 1 staff zipping around on the floor, cramming all of the responsibilities of a waitress, cleaner and cashier. And just 1 cook helming the kitchen. So you can just imagine how slow and flustered the service was.
That said, they offer one of the most value-for-money set lunches around, Arashi's Lunch Set ($10.80), comprises your choice of a downsized ramen with a side dish, dessert and unlimited cups of green tea.
The Junior Arashi Genkotsu Sio Ramen, their signature specialty, gets my vote for a clear broth that's rich in depth but manages a delicate clarity that's slurpilicious to the last drop. The cha siu was tender and flavourful, but the egg (hard, not soft boiled) was staid and lackadaisical. An insider tip is to sprinkle, liberally, the French-Japanese black pepper condiment available at every table, its incredible fragrance lent an amazing punch.
My favourite side was the Buta Moyashi, beansprouts stir-fried with minced pork, a refreshing balance to the ramen.
The singular prawn Ebi Fry side didn't fare too badly either. Crisp breaded crust and juicy insides.
The Kaki Fry, a duo of plump oysters similarly breaded and crisped, would likely be the side of choice for seafood lovers.
They only had Apple and Lychee Konnyaku jellies for dessert that day. Run-of-the-mill but a cool light finish to the meal.
Ramen Kagetsu Arashi
#01-41 The Star Vista
1 Vista Exchange Green
Tel: 6339 0335
Open Mondays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm
Fridays and Saturdays from 11.30am to 11pm
Sundays from 11.30am to 10pm