Have I already said that the architecture of Orchard Central is the worst? With its haphazard layout and maze of a carpark, it's little wonder that mall traffic is so low. It's already frustrating trying to navigate the nightmare of a carpark, but when compounded with the inaccessibility of the mall from the carpark, morphs into a massively thumping headache just to patronise the mall. BUT, we wanted to check out this ramen place, Nantsuttei. The self-touted ramen champ had apparently disappointed quite the following when it'd wound the shutters down its first shop space when its landlord Parco Marina exited Millenia Walk sometime last year. So when Nantsuttei re-surfaced at Orchard Central a few months ago, I thought a visit was in order.
Nantsuttei is known for slicking their ramen with a layer of inky-black roasted garlic oil, and tampering their rich tonkotsu broth with chicken stock. The deeply aromatic but delicate ramen is what made fans of its customers, and I was no different. I found the flavour incredibly unique and addictive and actually started craving Nantsuttei a couple days after our dinner here.
The must-try is their signature Chashu Men ($16), stacked with a shoyu-marinated pork loin simmered to a plastic fork-tender texture, crisp beansprouts, seaweed and an added Egg ($1.50). The towering bowl was full-bodied but well-balanced and never cloying. The smoky accents of the garlic oil gave the creamy broth a lively edge and kept it slurpilicious to the last drop.
For those who thrive on spice, the Kara-miso Ramen Mouretsu Tanmen Hana-ji Boo ($16), a spicy miso-ed ramen speckled with ground pork fried with hot Japanese pepper, at the penultimate spice level of 3, may be more your thing. Turns out, level 3 was a very manageable spicy even for moderates like me. So if you really like the heat, get the level 4. This possessed a more complex flavour dimension, but I preferred the chashu men. There was just too much going on in this bowl, and got a little heavy towards the end.
Orchard Central #07-12
181 Orchard Road
Tel: 6337 7166
Open daily from 11am to 10.30pm