Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Marutama Ramen

I couldn't be happier to choose Marutama as my first food review as it is definitely one of the most "happening" (judging from the long queue outside the shop) ramen shops in Singapore at the moment. Situated in The Central, near RiverPoint, this restaurant has got the flogosphere craving for a bowl of hearty ramen and started comparing it to other famous ramen shops in Singapore.

It was last Saturday evening that I asked an ex-colleague, Bong (a self-confessed ramen fan) to join me for a review of this restaurant. Armed with cameras and harmoniously growling stomachs, we waited in line for about 20 minutes before being seated at the long table right in front of the open kitchen. I think 20 minutes is not a long nor dreadful period considering the long queue and the fact that people do not stay for long chats in ramen shops. The interior was a replica of a typical ramen shop in Japan, complete with complementing utensils, condiments and a jug of cold water (free drinks!).

Service was efficient and the first side dish arrived about 10 minutes after we placed our order. The kakuni (S$7.00) or stewed pork belly was well marinated in soya sauce, mirin and sugar. As described by many floggers, the piece of sinful pork literally melts in your mouth. The cooking method is very different from the Chinese as no 5 spice powder was included in the dish. Despite the almost perfect texture of the meat, the sauce (to me) was a tad too bland. Perhaps is was intentional, as to not overpower the rich flavour of the pork belly.

The dashimaki tamago (S$8.00) or rolled egg omelette was up next. The egg/dashi sauce mixture was very generic. The only nice touch to this dish was the inclusion of bonito flakes in the layers of omelette. We walloped all the 6 pieces with the speed of light to make space for the star of the evening.

My Marutama ramen (S$12.00) arrived, looking rather appetising and piping hot. The colour of the broth promised a rich chicken flavour, and it did not disappoint. If you like seriously savoury broths (miso and such), this is worth queueing up for. But for some, this resembles the product of chicken stock cubes diluted in minimum amount of water. Sides complementing the dish represented a good contrast in terms of taste and texture. The char siew (boiled pork belly) was similar to the kakuni, in terms of freshness and quality. Al dente was how the ramen turned out to be and with every bite, you'd wish it's not your last. Definitely the best component in the ensemble. The char siew ramen (S$16) was similar to the Marutama ramen, with a few more slices of boiled pork belly.

Additional toppings on the ramen are available and if you long for more of that al dente ramen, leave some soup in the bowl and ask for additional ramen for a relatively small amount of money. The special nuts ramen is also recommended.

I believe Marutama's selling point is in the rareness of this type of broth. We have been celebrating miso, sho-yu and tonkotsu (my personal favourite) ramen for so long that a new broth is always welcomed with open arms and treated with royalty. I only wish the broth was less salty and infused with other interesting ingredients. Cilantro and white pepper, perhaps?

Marutama Ramen
6 Eu Tong Sen Street S(059817)
#03-90/91, The Central
Tel: 6534-8090

No comments: