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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Dinner at Ippudo

All right, here we are again, another favorite haunt of mine at Mandarin Gallery - Ippudo Ramen Restaurant. They have another outlet at UE Square, but I only visit the one at Mandarin Gallery - located at 333A Orchard Road #04-02 / 03 / 04 Mandarin Gallery Singapore 238897, the contact number is 6235 2797.

Before I visited, I heard many good reviews about them. After my first visit - which I was impressed  - I have been back at least thrice, bringing different friends to introduce them to the delicious ramen served here. This outlet does not allow reservations, and it is not uncommon to see long queues outside the popular restaurant, especially during lunch and dinner hours. The good thing is that the lines are usually cleared very fast.

The interior of this Japanese restaurant is done in an eclectic blend of Japanese and modern-contemporary style - shades of gray and brown, with a huge chandelier in the middle of the ceiling. This provides a very laid-back environment for diners to enjoy good, quality food over catching up or easy conversations. While not overly hospitable, the service staff were rather efficient.

Food is often served very quickly, which is a good thing, especially for those with rumbling stomachs.

For appetizers, I have tried the Goma Q - fresh Japanese cucumber with sesame, cut beautifully like a Dragon Maki. Lovely, fresh, crunchy and sweet cucumber slices dotted with the fragrance of fried sesame seeds - a very refreshing starter.

Then the Spicy Buta Shabu and Tofu Salad -  tendrils of pork with silky, soft beancurd with fresh greens (rocket salad style) drizzled with homemade spicy dressing. The portion was a little larger than we had expected, and I thought the pork was a little tough in texture. Nonetheless, the entire dish was delicious.

Next, the Smoked Salmon Salad - tasty, fresh, succulent pieces of smoked salmon on fresh greens, crispy croutons, mini tomatoes and special homemade dressing. This is a healthy and refreshing dish that I loved absolutely.

I have tried several types of Ramen here before, but let me share the two most memorable ones. The wonderful thing about their noodles is that it consists of fine strands, springy, and the service crew would ask for "Doneness" of noodles - hard or soft. Yes, this is the unique point of Ippudo's ramen - usually I opt for harder noodles.

First, the Shiromaru Special - original tonkotsu (pork) broth served with thin noodles, pork loins, cabbage, kikurage and spring onions - on the side are flavored egg, tender pork cube and bamboo shoots. I absolutely love their soups, regardless of which type of ramen I eventually end up ordering. They are always in-your-face delicious, flavored at full blasts, and non-greasy. Being a fan of flavored eggs (their "braised egg" is rather different from the other Japanese restaurants' - the inside is tenderly raw while the outside is hard-boiled) and bamboo shoots, the entire combination makes for a really hearty meal.

I also love their Spicy Black Pork Ramen -I would add the flavored egg as this does not come with it. Another blend of scrumptious soup base, quality thin noodles, bamboo shoot and best of all, black pork. Somehow, black pork has a luscious, delectable taste in additional to its extreme tenderness. I am usually not a fan of pork, but I do enjoy black pork. The tastiness of black pork cooked with delicious broth and noodles, makes for a very gratifying meal.

I spend SGD$35.00 on average during each visit - every dime is well spent. I will be back for more!

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