[SG] Nantsuttei Singapore (Parco Marina Bay)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

For Japanese food lovers, the Japanese town at Parco would probably be a mini paradise for you. A small area with about 5-6 Japanese food establishments, you get a taste of different sorts of specialties. Deciding to try Nantsuttei as my friend swears by their Chashu-rice, I thought it was worth a shot since it sounded different from the usual ramen places. 

Perhaps as it was a weekday night, we didn't have to join the snaking long queues like what we've read on many reviews. It was a relatively quiet part of town and I don't suppose many would visit unless they happen to be in the area. Once we entered, we were greeted by very friendly staff, and well, be prepared that it's not going to be very spacious nor a place where you can stay for long chats or catch-up sessions. I found the place rather cramped, with small seats and table spaces, and rather short tables at that. It wasn't very comfortable but the food that came after that probably helped to distract quite a bit. 

Buta-manma/ Chashu rice ($6)

The only thing I came in for, and indeed, it didn't disappoint at all. There was a generous serving of Chashu (and spring onions as well :/) with every chunk being soft and tender. Plus, it was definitely well-marinated as you could taste the flavourful sauce exuding from every piece. I liked the balance of fatty parts and the lean meat, so it added to the texture of the dish. The rice tasted very homely actually, it reminded me of home-cooked rice topped with stewed gravy (or 卤汁). It was a very simple and well-executed dish, great for meat lovers! The only thing I didn't like was how the shreds of Chashus tend to get stuck between your teeth.

I ordered the full portion as my main dish and thought it was just right (though reviews have said that this serving is for the 'super hungry ones'). If you're intending to try their ramen and prefer this as a sharing this, I think this portion would be good for 3-4 persons.

Nom Factor: 8.0/10      

Maru-toku Negi Chashu-men ($17)

My friend ordered this, the supposed ramen where you get to enjoy all the toppings they have on their menu in it. We didn't see the mountain of shiraga negi (white part of spring onions) as the photos of most reviews showed, though I thought that was quite alot of bannou negi (green spring onions) already. 

Known for their garlic oil that's the signature icon of Nantsuttei ramen, you can see a layer of it right at the top. According to their guide, this is the way you should eat your ramen: 

(Picture adapted from the Nantsuttei official website)

We were both rather surprised that there's such an eating guide! The first taste of the actual broth impressed me with its unique flavour and rich taste. The broth was thick and smooth, taking time to savour it while it trickles down your throat was a blissful moment. I like the taste of garlic oil mixed in as a contrast to give a slightly different twist to the usual tonkotsu (pork bone) soup. It was more fragrant and flavourful, leaving a nice aftertaste. The ramen was also al dente, a mark of precision as most ramen places I've been to tend to overcook their noodles, becoming too soft as it seats in the hot broth after being served at your table.  

If you're looking for something light, this is definitely not for you. I found it so rich and flavourful it started to get 'je-lat' after that. It was a little too salty and you might need to constantly clear your taste buds to enjoy the dish again. I find that this seems to be the case with most ramen specialty stores and perhaps it's the characteristic of authentic ramen in Japan. If you're a fan of those, I would recommend this as it's definitely different from the rest, with a distinct garlic roast fragrance to whet your appetite. 

Nom Factor: 7.5/10

Gyoza ($6)

Always a great side for sharing, I'm still on the lookout for great gyozas around. This wasn't too bad, with a slight crispy burnt side to it which never fails to please me. I like the mouthful of tender juicy minced meat fillings coupled with the slight crisp and the chewy skin, having a mix of textures all in one. It was a slight pity, though, as the fillings were too little, and after a bite, you could see how the piece of meat was struggling to stay in place. Every mouthful then seemed as though there was too much skin. And of course, from the photos alone you can see, it was a tad too oily for my liking. 

Nom Factor: 6.5/10

The interior of the place, with small tables and not alot of spaces in between tables. 

Welcome to Nantsuttei, a small cosy space for ramen with a different twist. 

I'm not a super fan of ramen but I would say this has managed to impress me slightly. I like the distinct flavour it has, that sets it apart from places like Santouka and Maru-tama. Just be prepared to give your taste buds a flavourful ride and savour the richness of the dishes!

Overall Nom Factor: 7.5/10  
9 Raffles Boulevard
#03-02 Millenia Walk

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