Singapore: Ippudo Tao

13 Jun

Ramen like wine, is extremely subjective. I’ve had numerous debates with friends on which is the best ramen in Singapore and chances are everyone likes a different place/type/flavour. I love Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen with thin wiry noodles, and Ippudo is probably my favourite ramen place in Singapore. I’ve tried the original branch in Tokyo before and to be honest I don’t think there’s a discernible difference in the quality we get here. Recently, I checked out the UE Square branch called Ippudo Tao (addition of the word ‘Tao’ because of some collaboration with a Japanese drum group – uh huh) and I think it’s actually better than the Mandarin Gallery branch. Plus they take reservations, open till pretty late and have a bigger menu too! What’s not to like?

We arrived before happy hour was up and couldn’t resist getting some of their curious sounding Japanese cocktails. These were some of my favourites. The oolong cassis (shochu base) was so interesting and delicious. Never knew berries and oolong tea went so well together.

My first time trying a ginger ale highball, and all I can say is that I’ve been missing out on this ginger ale + whiskey combination. The Japanese sure know how to drink their whiskey! Wonder if they really used Suntory?

Another totally delicious cocktail was the yuzu umeshu, a must for all yuzu or umeshu fans! The umeshu they use here was very smooth.

For appetiser, we tried their signature steamed bun with braised pork and Ippudo’s original sauce ($3/per piece). While the meat was tender, this was a little disappointing as it was such a thin and small slice I could barely taste it. Hope ours was just an outlier as I’ve only heard good things about this dish.

Moving on to the ramen, the following 3 flavours are unique to Ippudo Tao – you can’t find them in the Mandarin Gallery branch. The Tao Aka came with thin curly noodles, tonkotsu broth, bara charshu (pork belly), spicy miso paste, spring onions and fragrant garlic oil. It had notes of curry and was quite spicy after a few mouthfuls that I started sweating! It’s definitely not a flavour you find too rich because of the spiciness. The bara charshu was tender without being too fatty.

The Tao Kuro had thick chewy noodles, shoyu tonkotsu broth, bara charshu (pork belly), special blended miso paste, black fungus and fragrant garlic oil. This tasted richer than the Tao Aka, and the garlic oil provided an aromatic accent to the broth. The additional ajitamago was as expected, molten although not too liquid in the centre.

The Bonito Tonkotsu had thick chewy noodles, tonkotsu broth blended with bonito fish stock, bara charshu (pork belly) bamboo shoots, Japanese leeks and spring onions. It smelt so good (because of the bonito) that it got us very curious, especially with that little random ‘mole’ of miso paste on the side! Upon first sip the extremely umami flavoured broth was hands down a winner, but it got a bit overbearing after a while. It came with really thick yellow noodles (not my favourite type) but I figured they pair the thickness of the noodles according to how rich the broth is.

The Ippudo Shiro is one of the signature Ippudo flavours. Made with the original tonkotsu broth, Hakata-style thin and straight noodles, bara charshu (pork belly), black fungus, cabbage, spring onions – this is probably my favourite out of the lot we tried that night, and my favourite ramen in Singapore for the moment. For me, ramen is all about the broth. This one is so flavourful yet light (unlike the fat and collagen laden types), and has a delicate tonkotsu flavour that I can never get sick of. And I love the noodles too! Strangely, I found it better than the last time I had it at Mandarin Gallery – not sure if the kitchen here was just less busy but I’m not complaining!

While Ippudo’s ramens are definitely on the pricier side (~$15 for basic bowl with one slice of chashu and no tamago), I think overall, the taste and lovely buzzy setting (no mad queues or elbow to elbow type seating) justifies it. Am also loving the fact that I can have my ramen and yummy girly Japanese-style cocktails at the same time :) So glad that they decided to open in Singapore in addition to Japan and NYC !

Price: $-$$
Location: #01-55/56, UE Square, 207 River Valley Road, S (238275). Facing Mohammed Sultan Road, opposite Chikuwa Tei.
Tel: +65 6887 5315
Opening Hours: Mon to Thu 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm to midnight, Fri to Sat 11.30am-3pm, 5.30pm to 2am, Sun 11.30am to 11pm. Last order half hour before closing.
Website: http://www.ippudo.com.sg/

One Response to “Singapore: Ippudo Tao”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Singapore: Menya Musashi « Chow & The City - June 13, 2012

    […] I’m not a fan of the curly yellow Hokkaido style noodles used but thankfully they were not too thick. The halved tamago included in the ramen was also up to standard. As you can see from the pictures, there’s a layer of collagen and fat on top of the rich broths so it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. My friend and I couldn’t finish at least a third of our noodles because of the richness of the broth. And apparently you can even request for double or triple noodle portions! Personally while I thought it was not bad and worth a try, I wouldn’t really come back because the broth is too rich for me and I prefer the skinny noodles in Hakata ramen :) You can read about my favourite ramen place in Singapore here. […]

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