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RAMEN SHOWDOWN PART 2: Ippudo at Mandarin Gallery

You can never have too much of ramen...

After a promising ramen dinner at Yoshimaru Ramen Bar, I was hooked on discovering more ramen places in Singapore. Ipuddo came highly recommended when I asked for food recommendations and the long queue outside the shop at Mandarin Gallery got me very excited about the ramen I was about to tuck into.

Manga comic on the wall

Posh décor

We sat in a cosy corner overlooking the posh décor of Ippudo – there was a chandelier hanging in the middle of the restaurant, a wall of ramen bowls and manga comics on the wall where we sat. I was told almost everything is fresh and handmade, from long-simmered broths, carefully prepared meats and ramen noodles. While the spicy miso ramen the man at the next table had smelt delicious, I stuck to the original tonkotsu broth for an unadulterated pork broth experience.

Shiromaru Motoaji

The Shiromaru Motoaji (SGD15) – a Hakata-style ramen – came with rosu chashu (pork loin), cabbage, kikurage and spring onions. From a glance, the broth looked promising. Porky and unctuous with a nutty aroma. But unlike the luscious, dense broth at Yoshimaru, this was more callow (hardly creamy) and did not satisfy the pork lust in me.

Thin, springy house-made noodles

I did however appreciate the thin, springy house-made noodles, cooked ‘katame’ or al dente. They were toothsome but had to be eaten quickly to prevent them from becoming too soft. The pork loin was fatty and pleasingly tender; a nice complement to the noodles which had a faint alkaline smell and taste.

Karaka-Men - original tonkotsu with special spicy miso and ground pork

Special spicy miso does the trick!

rif’s Karaka-Men (SGD17) – original tonkotsu with special spicy miso and ground pork – was tastier than mine. The broth was spicy and lively; fire and pork. It was the miso that made our tongues tingle and cheeks flush. If you’re not big on pork broths that are rich, creamy and almost gelatinous, you’ll find this just right.

Sampling the Karaka-Men

I’m not sure if I had set my expectations too high – Shigemi Kawahara is after all the Ramen King – but I found Ippudo overrated and quite expensive. Note that I like my broth very porky so those who don’t might disagree with me.

*My ramen experience at Yoshimaru Ramen Bar

Ambiance: 7/10
Price: 4/10
Food: 6.5/10 (non halal)
Verdict: Toothsome noodles but the broth wasn’t as rich or dense as I liked it to be.

Mandarin Gallery
333A Orchard Road
Singapore 238867
Website: https://www.ippudo.com.sg/

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