Thursday, July 15, 2010
The quality of ramen in Singapore has really gone up in recent years! From the very first mass market Ajisen, to branded boutiques of Santouka and Ippudo, I think its fair to say that its possible to get a decent bowl of noodles without flying all the way to Japan!
Nantsuttei is located at the top floor of Parco Millenia Walk, along with a few other Japanese-themed restaurants (Wanna try them all with me?). Though rather new in the local market, it had already amassed a considerable group of followers, with queues forming even on sleepy weekdays!
Familiar shouts of welcome echoed as you entered the restaurant with bright, clean and fuss-free decor, and you would probably had your orders taken while in the queue. Besides normal tables, there was a row of counter seats which placed you in full view of all the actions from the open kitchen!
Staff were very attentive and responded to your needs almost immediately, making rounds all night filling up your water glasses. I think the Japanese head chef (yes he was there tossing noodles and sampling soups personally) had been very particualr with service standards!
Gyoza ($6.00), Flavoured Tamago ($1.00)
On my first visit, my parents and I shared a plate of gyoza for starters. Perhaps because I'm so used to eating Chinese dumplings (饺子) and the fact that my mom made fantastic ones, I always felt that the fillings of the Japanese counterpart lacked quantity and the base could be a tad more crispy.
On the other hand, the boiled eggs for our noodles were very well done with creamy yolk and bouncy whites. If I had to be dead picky, it would be better if it was just a weeny bit more runny, 5 seconds less!
Ramen ($12.00), Chashu-men ($16.00)
Straight to the point with no fancy names! One slurp of the soup and you could tell that they were serious with the pork bone base with countless hours of brewing! The layer of black garlic oil certainly added much fragrance and further enhanced its rich and creamy flavour. That being said, it did become fairly overkilled and salty towards the end and required sips of water in-between to finish it, even with my heavy personal taste.
Noodles were the thin narrow type, thumbs-up for the generous portion and al-dente texture. Topped with chopped spring onions and beansprouts, the only difference between the two bowls was that the latter came with additional slices of tender pork loins!
Dragon Ramen ($15.00)
My dad craved for something spicy, so he opted for a variant with diced red pepper and minced pork. Good to have if you want your ramen fiery, but personally I felt that the resulting taste was a little complicated, preferring to stick with simple, good ol pork bone base!
Buta-Manma, Half Portion ($4.00)
Returning for a second visit with the girlfriend recently, I ordered a mini serving of the Chashu Rice after hearing a friend raving about it. While I appreciated the appetising mixture and fragrance of sesame seeds, chopped onions and sweet soy sauce in good Japanese short grains, I was slightly disappointed that my bowl had too much lean meat and lacked the fatty bits for a smoother overall texture. A special request to the chef next time perhaps!
Negi Ramen ($15.00)
While I again took the normal Ramen, the girlfriend had the one topped with plenty of chopped and shredded onions, and a quick sample of hers immediately made me realised that was really the best combination: Besides a more refreshing aftertaste, the veggies had actually pleasently diluted the soup, making it more drinkable even when you had finished the noodles. Now you know!
Starting at $12++ a bowl, Nantsuttei offered outstanding ramen at a price cheaper than its competitors, though if I were to judge strictly on taste alone, Ippudo and Santouka would still come out tops. Then again, there's a price to pay for everything, so it would still be on my list for ramen places to go!
#03-02 Parco, Millenia Walk
Tel: 6337 7166
Check out their very informative website!
Taken with Nikon D70