Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Ultimate Ramen Champion Part III - Gantetsu and Tetsu

Now for the concluding chapter in the ultimate ramen champion trilogy is Gantetsu and Tetsu


Special Miso Ramen

Ok, before anything, it took me a while to decide which ramen to choose from, there is Miso Ramen, Miso with Butter and Corn and Special Miso Ramen. Difference between the last two seems to be that special miso ramen has more chashu. 

The bowl with its light colors, is the most appealing and soothing out of the bunch to me. Plump and crunchy corn, bamboo shoots, seaweed, 3 slices of chashu, curly yellow noodles all in a miso soup broth.  The soup is full bodied with a slightly buttery feel. It is not so strong that I am actually able to empty the bowl without fear of feeling thirsty after. The occasional sweetness from the corn when you bite into them adds a layer of satisfaction to it. 
The bright yellow noodles here is also excellent when compared to the rest.

Though the chashu is not as flavorful and tender than Santouka's or Menya Iroha's, or the egg that well done, Gantetsu's ramen excels in the balance of the tone and variety of flavors in the soup and noodle.

Score: 4.25/5.0


Paitan Tsukemen

Using pork and chicken here, Tetsu boils them down to high and rich concentration. The dipping broth here has a horrifying layer of oil of about a centimeter.
A Single slice of chashu, Single slice of bamboo shoot and a manhandled egg is thrown into the vessel-clogging dip. The taste is sharper than that of Taishoken where you can taste the ingredients but just like them, it saturates you almost immediately.
20% meat, 80% fat, 0% appetising
Sure a fatty chashu can be nice, but this piece of chashu is as far away from lean as Earth is to the Sun. Tetsu's take on tsukemen is slightly~ more palatable than Taishoken, but I just can't find myself loving the sensation of greasy lips with that mighty thick layer of oil with every slurp.

Score: (-.-)


This is the end of the Ramen Champion trilogy. There is the "Twin Disappointment" in the form of the twin bowls, but there were some nice and strong contenders around. Have you been there and tried it one by one? Which is your favorite? How do they stack up compared to some of the more famous Ramen places around Singapore?

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Monday, September 26, 2011

The Ultimate Ramen Champion Part II - Bario Ramen and Hakata Ikkousha

This is the second part of my Ramen Champion trilogy, so let's get on with the review of
Bario Ramen and Hakata Ikkousha.

Bario Ramen

For some reason, everytime I’m here, Bario has a long queue and was sold out on my first visit. This ups my curiosity even more and I headed straight for the Bario-queue immediately after arrival.


Bario Ramen

Bario brands itself around masculinity and to them, being masculine means big on portions. The bowl is served on my tray which the soup was spilled over the bowl due to overpacking in the bowl.
Bario serves Jiro-style ramen with a pork shoyu broth that is heavy on flavor, with a layer of suspended fat to add to that. It is topped with crunchy bean sprouts and is definitely here to fill you up. The soup flavor is strong and garlicky, so avoid this ramen if you want some sugar from the ladies or guys after.
The thick and flat noodles here are made of bread flour, is definitely hearty and shows how serious Bario keeps to its theme of manliness by all things big, strong and thick. Texture wise, it stands in the mid point between udon and the regular ramen noodle variety. You really got to try it for yourself to see if you like it or not, for I enjoyed it but still prefer the regular ramen noodles.

Thick chunks of chashu with clearly defined features. The lean part was extremely lean and the fats were a tad hard, the flavor did not seep through deep enough and this makes for a pretty tough piece of chashu that is not really worth the calories and step towards coronary implications. The egg was also a disappointment with not much taste despite looking otherwise. It was pretty much hard boiled. Maybe they are trying to keep to their theme of manliness again by having a hardboiled egg too? 

If you can empty the whole bowl of noodles here, you'll see a message saying
It means "Thank You, You are a Man".

Score: 3.75/5.0 

Hakata Ikkousha

Hakata Ajitama Ramen

Hakata Ikkousha is hidden in a corner and can be easily missed if there is no one queuing. It comes in a small black bowl with a milky pork broth. The presentation is appealing and feels classically oriental.
The broth is thin, light and swirls in your mouth nicely and does not try to overpower you with taste. 

Joined hand in hand with the special thin noodles here that offers a fine bite. The noodles here is like the vermicelli of Ramen noodles, which are usually thick. Being thin and fine, it offers This is also a very acceptable bowl of ramen for Singaporeans who might find ramen to be too heavy on taste or salt.

The egg sat in the hot water for too long, but yet is devoid of any flavoring. Chashu here is two thick cut with nice proportion of fat and meat and is pretty tender. However, the flavoring could do more with being a bit heavy for it tasted a tad bland.

Ikkousha is being let down by its own egg and chashu, otherwise it would be a bowl of ramen that is much more satisfying due to its wonderful soup and unique thin noodles.

Score: 4.0/5.0
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Ultimate Ramen Champion Part I - Menya Iroha & Tai Sho Ken

Ramen Champion 2011 is held in Singapore this year, on level 4 of Iluma Bugis. Featuring 6 famous stalls from Japan, visitors will get to vote for their favorite bowl of noodles to see the emerging champion at the end June 2012.
How to you go about voting for it? Head to the Ultimate Ramen Champion Facebook page, "Like" it  and vote for it under the "Questions" page.

Above is the giant poster of this event, showcasing all 6 chefs of the 6 participating stalls and a picture of their most popular bowl. Some of them are smiling while a few looks really stern. Why do you look so stern if you wanna attract customers? 

How do I go about for Ramen Champion? I'll take a page off from Hollywood's book, Trilogy style~ I visited this place 3 times, each visit I will be patronising 2 stalls in no particular preference and order. Oh, just to make sure I do not mix up the flavors, the tasting is done separately where I'll only order the next bowl after I finish one.

So for now, part 1 of the Ultimate Ramen Champion will be on Menya Iroha and Tai Sho Ken ramen.

Menya Iroha


Negi Tama Ramen $13.50

As the name goes, there is negi(leek), tama(egg) and ramen. Of course it comes with the other ramen mainstays such as Cha Shu slices(2x slice), bamboo shoots and seaweed.The thick noodles are really smooth n slips past my lips without any resistance. The noodles provides a very good bite without being too soft. 
Char siew is a measly 2 piece which I hope more is given. The deeply marinated meat and melty fat is really a wonderful sensation. Out of all the 6 Ramen stalls, this has got to be the best charsiew.

The noodles are simmered in a clear black shoyu(soy sauce) based broth. The flavoring is strong, and this flavoring is also reflected in their egg, thoroughly braised through the core. 

Despite it being heavy on the flavoring, tasty it still is. If you love your ramen strong and flavorful, this is it for you. I think it would have been a little better if the soup is slightly lighter.

Score: 4.0/5.0


Taishoken prides itself as the inventor of tsukemen, that they are the original. Is the original the best?


Mori Soba

What is tsukemen? It is basically ramen, where the noodles and the soup is separated. Then why separate them and what's the difference between the normal ramen and tsukemen? For tsukemen, the broth is much much thicker and concentrated, so you dip the noodles and slurp it up. For all my explanation, it's essentially dipping noodles. 

The thick yellow noodle is nicely cooked and placed in a separate bowl while the goodies are in another.
It is really thick

It is really plain (by itself)

Interested to see how it tastes like, I eagerly dip my noodle and slurp~ it up. Sweet and refreshing! That's the first thing I tasted, but the sweetness of the broth lasted through to the, I would love to say 'end' but I really couldn't finish it while the 'refreshing' is gone as soon as it arrived. I was saturated by the third slurp and really can't taste anything except for sweet. The egg is mildly flavored, half-cooked but is

Broken :S
 Guess being the first to create a dish/food doesn't necessarily means the first in taste.
I would love to talk more about the char siew but the broth drenching it was way too sweet and I couldn't really give them a fair judgement.

Score: (-.-") 

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

il Gelato di Bruno


"Ring~Ring~" is not a sound you would normally hear in Citylink Mall. Hunting for some sweet ending to my dinner in Raffles City Shopping Centre, I was solicited by a cheerful lady who welcomed me into a shop to sample their Gelato.

There's a load of choices available (23-24 in total), with each flavor decorated by a cartoon holding a sign of the flavor's name. It is interesting to note the cartoon sign holders are mainly ladies.

2 Lucky Cartoon Male Sign Holders in Gelato Land

The staff was extremely pleasant and willing to explain to me what are the best sellers and what are in the individual flavors when all the names just sounds alien to me. They really sold me an experience that other ice cream/gelato shops failed to give me even if they offer samples; there were some places where I'd met a few disgruntled faces upon asking for a sample before my purchase. However, the staff here really offers excellent service, and I hope it'll continue for I'm sold.

Freshly made everyday with 23/24 flavors everyday, they stock up on certain flavors catering to those seeking some indulgence in their diet (sugar-free gelato). I did not try those for I can't imagine ice cream/gelato with no sugar. Sugarless gelato/ice cream is just like vegetarian meat to me.

Anyways, after sampling a few, I decided to have 2 medium cups with...


Cookies, Extra Milk, Hazelnut

Meckid, Carapino, Hazelnut(again?)

Cookie is a sweet cookie dough flavor while extra milk is extra milky milk chocolate and hazelnut is, like hazelnut cream.

Meckid is a swirl of white and milk chocolate which tastes a tiny bit like coconut, Carapino is caramel and pinenuts which could do with more nuts while hazelnut is so nice that I ordered it again.

What's amazing here is that while many ice cream/gelato shops offer tons of flavors, and I often fall into the trap of ordering a mix only to find myself feeling that I only taste "sweet" and nothing else after a while; il Gelato di Bruno's flavors manage to distinct themselves from each other in this ice cream orgy of flavors. The extremely generous portions made me feel like I couldn't finish it, but I did :D

The hazelnut here is really distinct and captures the essence of hazelnut cream really well. If you have to choose one flavor or do not like to mix, get Hazelnut. (I confirmed, Hazelnut is a mainstay flavor)

Score: 4.25/5.0


Probably due to the fact that it's made fresh daily, there is a

Yup, for those who are a bit skeptical about the price, feel free to head in for a sample anytime and/or try it out with this promotion. I've no idea how long it'll last, but this place, with it's outstanding service and fun flavors, is now one of my favorite gelato parlors.

Il Gelato di Bruno

1 Raffles Link
B1-26A Citylink Mall, Singapore 039393
Tel: 6238 9917
(inside Candylicious) 26 Sentosa Gateway
01-223 Resorts World Sentosa, Singapore 098138
Tel: 6686 2155
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Sunday, September 11, 2011


Are you a late sleeper? On days with no morning obligations, I am almost definitely one. Hence I always miss breakfast, and breakfast food for that matter. Ever felt like eating pancakes or french toast during lunch or dinner time? All day breakfast is here. There are multiple restaurants in Singapore currently serving ADB, and Antoinette(not a person) is one of them who is here to satisfy our craving/s.

The entrance is charmingly simple and pleasing to the eyes, a step through the doors and you'll be greeted first by a bunch of beautiful desserts, each vying for your attention and attacking your hunger visually. So I'm going to be attacking you guys with pictures!

Looks very very nutty

Mid Autumn special - Mooncakes

The classy interior with fine comfy cushy seats is sure to make ladies squeal and guys squeal(secretly) in delight.


Burger Royale

I love my burgers, and seeing this item under the section 'Les Sanwiches' is really an easy choice for me. A nicely done pan fried beef patty with melted cheddar on wonderfully toasted brioche bread, tomato relish with mayonaise, lettuce, red onions and mustard. Accompanying it is honey dijon chips and petit salad.

The light brioche bread is just really well toasted, neither too charred and hard that biting into it causes harm to the oral cavity nor too lightly grilled. I really love how splendid the toast is here.

What's more impressive is the patty. This beef patty here is dripping with juice when it was laid on the table. Every bite is bursting with flavor and juice from the patty and is absolutely delicious. The wonderful colors adds to the overall appeal of this burger.

The honey dijon chips and the refreshing salad makes for fine accompaniment to the really impressive burger that exceeded my expectations on all levels. The chips are not home made but according to the staff, imported from France. Reminds me of the kettle honey dijon chips you can find in cold storage with a slightly lighter flavor.

If you are a carnivore and thought that you would not find love in Antoinette, Burger Royale is here.

Score: 4.5/5.0

French Toast with Caramelized Banana serve with Creme Chantilly

Thickly cut french toast sprinkled with fine powdered sugar, with caramelized bananas and cool chantilly cream on the side. This dish blurs the line between dessert and a main course as the portions are enough for a main, yet is a sweet treat.

The caramelized bananas are chosen among that of maple syrup, hot chocolate and salty caramel, so there is a choice for you if you do not fancy bananas. The chantilly cream is light,  fluffy and enhances the taste of the french toast and soft bananas. Yummy~

Score: 4.0/5.0

Gnocchi Carbonara

Here we have Gnocchi sautéed in in a white wine cream sauce with aged parmesan cheese.  Each knot of gnocchi is airy and slightly crusted. The carbonara sauce is creamy and rich. 

The poached egg is nothing short of beautiful and breaking it to see gooey yolk spilling out is just mmm~~~

It is a really enjoyable dish in general but the carbonara and starchy nature of gnocchi turns it into a sharing dish for 3-4 as it occupies stomach real estate and saturates your tongue very fast.

Score: 3.75/5.0


The titular dessert here is a pretty little chocolate dessert made up of milk chocolate mousse infused with earl grey tea, dark chocolate earl grey tea cremeux, chocolate biscuit and earl grey tea crumble. All that with a shiny ball of raspberry coulis(sauce).

What do you do with that ball of Raspberry coulis? Well, here's what you do with it.


The highlight of this dessert, besides the bursting of the raspberry ball, is the crunch in the 2 biscuit insides which balances the creamy mousse texture. It is not too sweet and is a light indulgence. IMO, the raspberry coulis does not enhance the flavor of the dessert much.

Score: 4.0/5.0

Saint Honore L'Amore

Fragrant rose petal cream, strawberry compote, raspberry, choux pastry sitting on an almond tart. Laid on top of it, is a rose petal with water droplets that is actually syrup in disguise.

Not a big fan of rose cream, the choux pastry is really good and a fine accompaniment to the cream based dessert.

Score: 3.5/5.0


Macaron(not macaroon) with a fleur de sel caramel, sea salt caramel that is. Light and airy with a chewy tangy center of salted caramel. Highly enjoyable as a simple sweet treat but nothing impactful about the taste.

Score: 3.5/5.0


This is really a wonderful experience, both in terms of decor and food. However, I find the service to be a little lacking in the restaurant, probably as they are a little under-staffed as it is a little difficult to get the attention of the staff there - be it to get my order done, my water filled or my bill.

It is a lovely place for a first date though the location is a little obscure but yet surprisingly near to Lavender station. There is a new outlet in Mandarin Gallery which I believe makes it even easier for people to visit, and one that is opening soon in Scarlet Hotel.

30 Penhas Road
Singapore 208188
Tel: 62933121

Mandarin Gallery #02-33/34
333A Orchard Road
Singapore 238897
Tel: 68369527

Scarlet Hotel
Add – 33, Erskine Road
#01-02 / 03 Singapore 069333
Opening soon...

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