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Sunday, 14 December 2014

[Media Invite]: Lunch At Ramen Isshi @ One Raffles Place

One Raffles Place #04-29, Singapore 048616

Tel: 6438 1350 

This was an invited tasting along with representatives from Openrice alongside other reviewers such as Wenxi, etc.

The interior of the restaurant is tastefully decorated with Chinese-Japanese fusion styles, almost reflecting Ramen Isshi's fusion cuisine that comes with an exotic blend of Chinese and Japanese. The pretty bags and tupperwares on display are also for sale.

Even the ceiling is decorated with intricate looking lights and designs. What a sleek, chic place to dine in.

There is a Salad Bar (available during lunchtime) and this is the counter seat. Ramen Isshi focuses alot on freshness and flavors in all its food items.

The menus are hidden in the drawer compartment of the dining tables, making it both convenient and neat. The A la Carte menu is literally a thick notebook with glossy photos listing the restaurant's offering, and customers can write their feedback onto it, like a Guestbook!

They make their own ramen noodles here hence the freshness and bouncy-factor was guaranteed. We watched the process. The chef would be hard at work for about an hour, and that would generate about 120 servings of ramen.

That said, have a look at our Food Tasting Menu.

We started with the Tofu with Century Egg (SGD$8.00) - tender, smooth and tasty, a simple dish infused with lots of ingredients besides just the century egg - note the parsley, onion slivers, shallots and sesame etc, all contributing to the unique flavor of this cold appetiser.

Next, we had the Carrot Cake with Saffron (SGD$8.00), they came in the cutest mini-carrots shape imaginable! Made with Japanese mochi and infused with XO sauce, one could not help but marvel at the surge of flavors of this simple, chewy, sticky delicacy. The further surprise was a bit of bouncy shrimp found within the carrot cake, enhancing flavor and texture.

We tried the Chicken Wings Fritto (SGD$6.00) next - very crispy but tiny chicken wings fried to golden perfection. The highlight was also that dark, suspicious looking ball next to the chicken wings - that is none other than the Shichimi (Japanese 7-spices chilli powder) except this is rolled into a ball. We enjoyed the explosive flavor on our palate.

The next item was a hit with most of us from first bite - the Tuna Sashimi & Avocado Salad (SGD$12.00). It was served in a miniature tower with the avocado patty as the base, topped with egg yolk and tuna sashimi; the glass of seaweed sheets was by the side. One has to scoop the ingredients and roll them into sushi - it was simply tantalising in taste!

Following the above was the mysterious Homemade Kua Pao (SGD$8.00) - turned out to be Japanese-style Kung Bak Pau, consisting of Chashu with vegetables. The bun was fluffy and slightly sweet the way I like it, and the chashu succulent. We tried the original flavor; they have 6 flavors in all - Sesame, Matcha, Prune, Tamarind, Original and Beet(root).

The next item was the Homemade Pan-Fried Gyoza (SGD$5.00)- what was better than dumplings with crispy skin? Flavor was right, to be further enhanced by the sesame dip and vinegar dip served on the side. The tasty meat stuffing could have been more solid / firm though.

Finally we got to the Ramen itself. We started with the Shiro Ramen (SGD$12.00) - the conventional Tonkotsu soup base ramen. The soup was luscious and not too rich, and the chashu juicy. The noodle was awesome - very, very springy; it was so lovely to chew on these bouncy strands.

Then we tried the Tonkotsu Kuro Ramen (SGD$13.00) - pork bone soup base as well as infusion of black sesame oil and refried garlic + shallots, to give it a strong and sumptuous flavor. The noodles were still as springy and chewy, the chashu still as tender; but the soup base was a tad oily due to the way it was prepared.

Finally, we had the Tonkotsu Aka Ramen (SGD$13.00) - yes, it tasted as spicy as it looked. The first ring hit me after a few bites, but a couple of them could not take it after the first bite. This fiery concoction was a must-try for those who love spicy food, however the only downside was that the "seafood" consisted only of a few small scallops.

Last but not least, time for desserts. We were served the Almond Jelly with Framboise (SGD$5.00), giving us a touch of French now. This refreshing, silky sweet dessert consisted of almond, raspberry and passionfruit. Ironically the flavor of the usually salient almond was obliterated by the sourness of the raspberry; and the dessert reminded us of panna cotta.

If one wants to challenge the belief that Ramen cannot be "taken away" , they are wrong now, because at Ramen Isshi, this is very do-able. The ramen would be packed beautifully in one of the restaurant's takeout container (yes, the one on display!) , with the hot soup on a separate compartment. So one could pour the soup into the ingredients or dip the ingredients slowly into the soup, ensuring a hot and tasty meal anytime now.

We also had a little bit of Drinks Tasting in the process, their drinks are very interesting fresh fruit soda and prices vary depending on whether one chooses pure juice, pure soy, total juice smoothie or total soy smoothie bases.

Starting with the Lemon Yellow - a fruit juice cocktail consisting of soursop and pineapple, a very refreshing drink with a citrusy twist.

Next, we had the Yellow, concocted using mango and passionfruit in a soy base, making this drink extremely creamy, smooth and delicious.

Moving on to alcoholic drinks, we tried the Strawberry Makgeolli, tossing a hint of Korean to us now. I have always loved fruity alcoholic drinks, so this suited me just fine.

Lastly, we tried the Pineapple Makgeolli, another flavorful fruity alcoholic drink that we sipped delightfully.

This is Nick, the Boss, who has been very helpfully explaining the history of the restaurant and every dish's information in great detail. Come by anytime for a bowl of affordable and tasty ramen along with some sides and drinks!

Thank you Ramen Isshi and OpenRice for the fabulous food feast at this interesting restaurant!

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