[SG] Ippudo at Shaw Centre | serving more than just ramenSunday, April 05, 2015
With Singapore and Hong Kong surrounded with quality ramen places such as Sanpoutei and Ichiran, we have cultivated quite a demanding palate for "the bowl of ramen". As shared by founder of Ippudo, Shigemi Kawahara san, ramen is indeed cosmos served in a bowl with a delicate balance of ingredients, broth and finely crafted noodles while the chef brings everything alive in the kitchen.
"Just another ramen place" was the usual connotation we have when we pass by a newly opened stall and while we were about to label Ippudo in the same fashion, our perception changed after a sumptuous dinner paired by dedicated service from the serving crew.
While many would be familiar with the recently revamped Shaw Centre (located adjacent to the more renowned Shaw House that has Isetan), it would require quite a fair amount of exploration before we arrived at level 4 to the doorsteps of Ippudo! Being the fifth addition to the group, the outlet at Shaw Centre only opened doors in March 2015. Designed with a slightly casual touch, this outlet was meant to be a place for friends and families alike to gather in a comfortable environment.
Crispy corn | S$6/++
Available only at Ippudo's Singapore outlets, this was highly recommended and there was no reason to say no! The lightly battered deep-fried corn on the cob, sprinkled with smoked paprika powder is a must-try for those who enjoy texture in each mouthful. The crisp and crunch from the batter surely added another dimension to the otherwise simple sweet corn. The natural sweetness from the corn also complemented the smoked paprika powder, giving a nice balance of sweet and savoury flavours.
Beef Tataki | S$6/++
Well-marbled prime beef slices were delicately constructed, overlying some finely sliced onions. Served with a refreshing citrus soy sauce, there was a nice balance of acidity and salinity to the lightly pan-seared red meat, retaining just the desired amount of pinkness to the beautiful cut. Almost melt-in-your-mouth delicate, the sesame seeds added a layer of fragrance to the appetiser.
Ippudo original buns - pork | S$4/++
The famed international best-seller, we enjoyed the beautiful marinade and seared chashu that was melt-in-your-mouth delicate. Sandwiched between a soft and chewy bun, it surely made our calories count with just one complaint, the pork slice could be slightly thicker so that one can enjoy the juiciness of the meat better than the bun.
Umakara Ton Toro Pork | S$12/++
Available only from 5pm onwards, the teppan dishes are almost guaranteed to win one over with the irresistible aroma upon service. We had the mildly spicy premium pork-cheek slices pan-fried with cabbage and served on the sizzling hot plate. While we enjoyed the juiciness that oozed from the layers of fat on the pork cheek, the dish lacked a punch in flavours to make it a memorable dish.
Akamaru Shin-Aji (Small) | S$13/++
The red bowl containing the original tonkotsu broth represents enhanced flavours to the luscious bowl of goodness while a white bowl is the original creamy version. With specially blended miso paste and garlic oil that intensified the flavours, we certainly preferred the red bowl.
Served with thin noodles, pork belly black fungus and spring onions, the rich flavours of the broth was undeniably the champion. One could also choose the hardness of noodles from soft to very hard to ensure that you have the desired texture to match. Despite the robustness of the broth, it was not overpowering and certainly did not leave us scouring for a drink to wash it down.
The beautifully marinated pork belly slices were also hard to resist as it was delicate and almost melt-in-your-mouth that made us digging in for just the next slice.
Tan Tan Tonkotsu | S$16/++
For those looking for some heat in their bowl of ramen, do try out their Singapore's twist to the ramen served, available exclusively at the various outlets here. With the original Tonkotsu broth as the base, spicy minced pork miso together with Japanese sesame paste are added to elevate the flavours. While the spice level might impress some, it was hardly enough to make us break into a sweat! We however enjoyed the nice twist to the creamy broth as the acidity from the wedge of lemon introduced an element of surprise with each spoonful.
Matcha ice cream with shiratama | S$5/++
After some savoury dishes that pleased our palate, we had to seek some sweet treats to end on a high note, somewhat literally too! While the recommended dessert was the strawberry parfait, it might have been too much for us to share and we opted for the classic matcha ice cream.
The matcha ice cream was a touch too sweet for my liking but the lightly warm Azuki bean paste was done just nice. Tasting the rugged edges of the Azuki beans gave a nice texture to the otherwise velvety ice cream. What really differentiated this simple dessert was the added effort to serve the Azuki bean paste warm so you have a divine combination with ice cream when consumed together.
Being able to watch the chefs at work is always a delight for me as you witness the transformation of various ingredients coming alive in his or her hands into a piping hot dish!
If you are familiar with Ippudo, you would have noticed the similarity in design with their other outlets worldwide. Lined with illustrations and decorations on the wall, it set a perfect ambience for casual dining with family and friends, just the way it was intended.
Apart from the nice and comfortable setting, the service was impeccable. Guests can expect to be greeted in Japanese by the entire restaurant upon entering and similarly being bid farewell in an equally courteous fashion.
Overall, it was a really enjoyable experience and we will definitely return to try some of their other ramen and even rice dishes!
Overall verdict: 8.0/10
1 Scotts Road,
Tel: (65) 6235 2547
P.S: Special thanks to Vivien for the invite and Kate for hosting us!