Sanpoutei Ramen was a superb recommendation by Lips, and one of the better ramen I've eaten in some time. Taking over the spot previously tenanted by the dreadfully crummy Ramenplay, Sanpoutei Ramen is one of the more distinguished dining options in the Holland Village enclave.
My pick of the soup-based options, the Rich Tori-Spicy Miso ($20.80) was a silky chicken broth buoyed by punchy spicy accents. The up-sized version was loaded with 5 slices of grilled pork belly chashu that was meltingly delicious, ajitsuke tamago of soy-marinated soft-boiled egg, braised cabbage, and minced chicken. Particularly noteworthy was the noodles, delightfully springy and chewy; and none of that soft mushy crap favoured by the local palate. This is, in my opinion, one of the best chicken soup-based ramen.
The pork-bone soup base, Tonkotsu Ramen ($17) was velvety and thick, topped with 2 slices of chashu, soft-boiled egg, kelp, and crunchy black fungus. This passed muster, and I liked that it didn't have leave that annoyingly cloying milky film on the tongue, but I still thought it was rather stodgy.
Its hyped signature, Niigata Shoyu Ramen ($15) of shoyu base was overrated. The shoyu had traces of a bitter-fishy undertone, due to the ground sardines blended into the soup. So where the sardines was supposed to lend a umami appeal, the pairing clashed badly and was off-putting. This was exacerbated by the alkaline rawness of the bamboo shoots. Suffice it to say, most of the soup and bamboo shoots were left untouched.
Another must-try was the Japanese version of the local dry mee pok, Maze Soba Aburi Chashu ($14). Slicked in a spicy sardine oil-shoyu sauce, the noodles had a lovely springy and chewy texture. Here, the sardines fused well with the sauce. The noodles would have been excellent on its own, but there was a side of chicken broth, probably for those who prefer their ramen soupy.The aburi-ed chashu was shredded here, for easier blending into the noodles.
We supplemented the noodles with a Butariki Niigata Rice Mini Don ($5), a modest rice-bowl flush with decadent strips of charred pork belly, crisp nori, and a raw egg yolk. Well-executed but unmemorable.
The Edamame ($6) was outstanding. I know this seems like the most regular of appetizers to rave about, but the beans were sizeable, not like those anemic ones served by many a ramen shop, exceptionally flavoursome, and salted to perfection.
253 Holland Ave #01-01
Tel: 6463 7277
Open 11.30am to 11pm