Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry(天川北海道ホワイトカレー)

Published July 17, 2018 by piggie

First and foremost, this is a food tasting event initiated by JPassport, where invited guests get to sample actual portion of Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry’s 0-4 degree aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set and their Spicy White Curry Ramen/Udon Set.

Located at probably the most prominent spot of Millenia Walk’s Nihon Street, Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry is the first and only restaurant in Singapore specialise in Japanese white curry. When they just started, they only had 3 types of set meals on their menu, but have now progressively increased to around 8. Their set meals generally comprise of main course, Chawanmushi, and soup.

Spicy White Curry Ramen/ Udon Set (Chawanmushi and Clam soup not in picture), $16.80++

Patrons get to choose between ramen noodle or udon for their Spicy White Curry Ramen/Udon set. I stick with ramen because that’s what Hokkaido is famous for. And the ramen was served rather promptly upon ordering, so much faster than the accompanying Chawanmushi, that we had to wait another 10~15 minutes for the latter. I couldn’t wait for the Chanwanmushi, as I needed to take this picture before the noodle turned soggy. I’ll touch on the Chawanmushi and the soup when I come to the 0-4 degree aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set later.

Let’s begin with their signature broth.

The ramen broth was light, sweet, and milky when it was served, with little hint of spiciness. It is no secret that milk is the main ingredient for the creamy flavour in the bonito broth, but what impressed me was the use of imported Hokkaido milk! To sidetrack a little, Japan milk is on a class of its own, I don’t know how the Japanese farmers did it, but the richness is top notch. And among them, Hokkaido milk is generally regarded as the best and is often used in premium desserts. It is hence, no surprise that Tengawa also serves Hokkaido milk amongst their list of beverages. I’m sorry, I often get carried away whenever it comes to Japanese milk. Let me get back to the noodle. As I mentioned, the broth was not at all spicy, at least not until it was stirred along with the dried chilli in the broth, which then gave the broth a good spicy kick. And then, the presence of onion also adds additional dimension. Rather unconventionally, the ramen did not come with the usual charshu, but Iberiko (Iberico, pardon me, Japanese tends to use the letter ‘c’ and ‘k’ interchangeably) pork belly, which in my opinion, is much sweeter. The ramen noodle used is the conventional Hokkaido medium curly noodle, thought to be the best in retaining broth, and very true in this case. In addition, the usual suspects, tamago, seaweed, and scallion made their presence too. Overall, the taste is rather appetising, and tasted somewhat like Laksa, substituting the sinful coconut milk with Hokkaido milk here of course.

0-4°C aged Iberiko Loin Katsu with Rice Set, $19.80++

Literally, why it was named as such truly puzzled me. It was explained to me that the pork was seasoned in Spain between 0-4°C to achieve that firmness before shipping here (I hope I get it correctly, it’s getting a little technical). I guess such term mostly appeals to professionals in this trade, general diners like me tend to scratch our head. (=.=)”/) LOL! For all I care, I only know Iberico pork is the premium pork, well and above Japan’s very own Kagoshima Kurobuta (widely known as the best pork otherwise, and already commanding a premium price), though honestly I can’t tell the taste difference between them. But if you asking me, my level can only tell they are both superior in taste than Indonesian and Australian pork that are widely available here. Nevertheless, Tengawa certainly didn’t attempt to hide the fact that they are proudly serving premium ingredients to their customers. Not to mention their effort in presenting this dish. Ever notice the floral pedals? They are genuine, not painting. These are specially imported from Japan too! It is thus an injustice to claim their food plating is mere Instagram savvy, over and above, this is an art! Strictly speaking, you usually only expect to find such treat in posh restaurants, but dining at Tengawa won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Though naturally, it’s unfair to expect the ambience of a posh restaurant here. If anything, I do find the plate excessively large, so big that it almost cover half the width of my table, a stark contrast to the food portion in it. Having said that, Tengawa offer free flow curry, soup, and rice (Note: to be fair, it’s not meant for sharing!), I would have asked for refills if I’m paying my own bill! So, I suppose I can say, the portion is practically unlimited but was given as such to avoid wastage (and possibly more picturesque too).

Anyway, the tonkatsu has a good balance of tenderness and firmness, embedded within crisp breadcrumbs. The spotlight, of course, has to be on the curry. It is very unlike the one found in their ramen, the gravy here is reasonably thicker, less flavourful than conventional Japanese curry, but possesses a more intense milk aroma. I’d say the taste is rather exceptional. Let’s not forget the rice, which I heard Tengawa is using Akitakomachi. The tastiest rice on Earth is said to be Niigata Koshihikari, notably those from Uonuma. My understanding is that Akitakomachi is a close second, on par with Hokkaido’s Yumepirika. It is cheaper and easier to acquire Akitakomachi. But for general diners, usually it’s not easy to distinguish. To a certain extent, much also depends on how it’s cooked. And I have to say Tengawa has cooked it rather well balance, not overly sticky, thus complement well with their curry.

About their Chawanmushi, I must say, it’s very well received from many other diners too. I have a feeling it’s only cooked when we placed order, because it took well over 10 minutes for it to be served, about the same time required to cook a Chawanmushi (excluding time for preparation). Tengawa’s Chawanmushi emphasise on taste and simplicity, with only a small slice of chicken underneath, a fresh prawn and broccoli on top, and infused with truffle oil. I feel its appearance is rather Zen-like, but what’s important is that it has a silky texture with an excellent aroma, and not excessively salty. Very few restaurants have their side dish in the spotlight, Tengawa is one of those exceptional ones with their Chawanmushi.

In any other Japanese restaurants, Miso soup is expected to be served. I am surprise to find out Tengawa is offering clear bonito clam soup instead, which is rather refreshing. It seems Tengawa aspire to be a little different, and certainly demonstrating sufficient efforts to show for it. What I haven’t mentioned, is Tengawa’s impeccable service. At first, I thought we were treated indifferently because we were invited guests, but a check on internet and their Facebook page reveals otherwise. If you come to this page via search engine, chances are, you will also find many more good reviews on them. In conclusion, I’m looking forward to visiting Tengawa again, next time as paying guest.

Tengawa Hokkaido White Curry 天川北海道ホワイトカレー
9 Raffles Boulevard
#02-16, Millenia Walk
Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 62651314
Website: http://japanesecurry.business.site/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TengawaWhiteCurry/

Opening hours ~
Daily: 11:30 hr – 21:30 hr

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Himonoya ひもの屋

Published June 25, 2018 by piggie

One famous local food blogger whom I hold with high regards who favours Japanese cuisine once commented, “if you spot real Japanese at a Japanese restaurant in Singapore, just go for it. You can’t fool around with the Japanese in terms of food.” I saw plenty of Japanese diners at Himonoya, I suppose these words apply for them too! And if you have seen the range of Japanese liquor they carry, you will lose any remaining doubts of their genuineness.

Hidden in a quiet spot (formerly of Hummerstons) on level 2 of Robertson Walk, Himonoya is more than your usual Japanese restaurant. I’m saying that because apart from the conventional Japanese food you probably already heard of, Himonoya have something rather unique here in Singapore… dried fish, or what “Himono” means in Japanese. Now, don’t get confused with salted fish which our older generations here crave about back in the olden days, it’s totally different and certainly much healthier, chewy, and in my opinion, tastier too. So if you didn’t try Himono while dining at Himonoya, you probably ain’t been there. That said, Himonoya also serves common items such as sashimi, sushi, as well as a wide range of Japanese cuisines which you can normally associate with an izakaya.

I’d call the exterior of the restaurant deceiving. Despite looking like a high class restaurant from the outside, its interior is anything but. I thought I walked into a maze of Japanese Edo era eateries upon entering, before been led to my reserved table with a curtain that instilled some privacy, not that I specifically requested for it. Not all tables come with a curtain though.

Seriously, after going Japan four times in the last 12 months, I am getting numb over sushi and sashimi here already, the fact being, you can’t get any fresher than having them there, so I practically skipped most thing raw during my visit. As such, I was expecting my meal to be on the saltier side, and had ordered Japanese steamed rice to go along. But allow me to elaborate a little bit, Himonoya serves different variety of rice too, such as serving with raw egg, with salmon roes, and even grilled rice ball as well as Ochazuke! I stuck to the plain steamed rice.

Hotaru Ika (Firefly Squid with Wasabi), $5.90++

Our first order, Hotaru Ika came promptly. One look, and it was obvious it’s on the salty side, it’s great that it came with wasabi too, nullifying some of the saltiness and made it rather appetising with the rice that we ordered.

Daikon Salad (with Shirasu & Wakame Seaweed), $10.90++

Strictly speaking, the portion of this salad is good enough for one simple meal. The flavour has been enriched somewhat with the inclusion of Shirasu (whitebait).

Himono Hokke (half), $22.90++

This is the signature dish of Himonoya, Himono Hokke (half), served with lemon and grind radish. Himonoya indicated that this fish is the “Shims-Hokke” type of Mackerel which has a muscular and chewy texture that comes with an excellent umami flavour. We only ordered half of it, and it came grilled with a crisp skin, its flesh still retaining a chewy but certainly not over dried texture, hard to imagine it was actually dried fish.

It’s worth noting that while Japan is known for fresh catch, they are a country with very distinct seasons, hence at times, it is necessary to preserve their catch for various reasons. But I am rather surprise dried fish can still retain such chewy texture. Although it wasn’t stated, but the Hokke used was believed to be from the sea of Okhotsk, just North-East of Hokkaido. How this name came about is quite interesting too! It was said that this fish was first discovered by a Japanese monk named Nichiji, who named it after the Lotus Sutra (法华,Hokke).

Grilled Enoki, $5.90++

I was expecting this Grilled Enoki Mushroom with Butter to be more flavourful, but in truth, it’s simply mushroom with butter, rather mediocre.

Potato Salad, $7.90++

The Potato Salad came with crab miso, crab meat, and salmon roes. Although cheaper than the Daikon Salad, the portion is much smaller too. But the potato salad is itself very filling, and the combination with crab miso and crab meat makes a wonderful integration, not to mention that citrus zest which spices it up significantly!

Himono Sandfish (Hatahata), $9.80++

Hatahata Sandfish is a signature in Shimane prefecture (Although it’s also widely available in Akita prefecture, both prefectures siding the Sea of Japan). I have long heard of it, but think never had the chance to try it. And since I have also not visited Shimane before, with no tentative visit in sight, I was very tempted to order this. In Japan, it’s usually lightly salted before grilling, Himonoya also included mayonnaise here. What I’m trying to say is, it’s already good enough without the latter!

Crab Croquette, $7.80++

To be honest, dessert aside, this is actually my favourite from Himonoya. Their Crab Croquette is creamy in the inside, and crispy on the outside, with a dash of crab miso and crab meat on top, it’s absolutely delicious! I can go many rounds with this.

Kinako Ice, $4.90++

Kinako Ice is actually ice cream with black honey. The texture is rich and creamy, not excessively sweet, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Daifuku, $8.90++

The other dessert I ordered is Daifuku, it’s actually mochi stuffed with green tea ice cream inside, and toppled with red beans. This really impressed me, although I had a hard time slicing the mochi, but the green tea ice cream was so fragrant and have an impressive balance of sweet and bitterness, it compliments the red beans very well.

All in all, I find that food wise, Himonoya is as authentic as one can find in Japan, so are their beverages. Genuine sake (and shochu) lovers will find this a heaven with their $35++ free flow drinks. Of course, diners can also order drinks by the cup. Having mentioned that, I find that most diners are actually ladies when I visited over the weekend, that means they went there for the food, not drink.

Apart from Singapore, Himonoya also has outlets in Japan, Vietnam, and Cambodia.

Himonoya ひもの屋
11 Unity Street
#02-14, Robertson Walk
Singapore 237995
Tel: +65 62359110
Website: http://www.singaporehimonoya.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/singaporehimonoya/

Opening hours ~
Daily: 18:00 hr – 24:00 hr

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka らーめん山頭火 (2018)

Published April 19, 2018 by piggie

This is another complimentary tasting session by Santouka, who is introducing their new Spicy Shio Ramen, Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, and dessert Parfait Strawberry. Hence, I am segregating this post from my other posts on Santouka.

We were not allowed to choose the location, but were allocated their outlet at Cuppage Terrace. I have been to their The Central (a.k.a. Clarke Quay Central) outlet many times, but this is the first time I’m visiting their outlet at Cuppage Terrace.

Cuppage Terrace is a happening area, particularly popular for those seeking a drink after work, and I suppose that’s the reason why many restaurants there are having a break in-between lunch hours and dinner hours. In view of that, we made an attempt to be at Santouka’s Cuppage Terrace at 5.30pm, the moment they resume business in the evening, before the madding crowd comes in. The crew at Santouka Cuppage Terrace are mostly very young and energetic, and seems excited at our presence, they spent extra effort in explaining the new items to us, which really makes penning this post a lot easier.

Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba, $12++

The Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was the first item served. Before I go on further, let me elaborate, that Kaisen is Japanese for Seafood, Hiyashi means chilled, and Maze is mixed, soba is of course the noodle. Just like many other ramen restaurants, Santouka ain’t using the buckwheat noodle in their Mazesoba, they use the same noodle as in their ramen. Me and my dining partner were quite surprise at its price, as most ramen restaurants serving Mazesoba usually charging very much more, but mainly using other ingredients. As you can see from the pictures, Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba was served on a rectangular plate, which almost taken up the entire width of our single table, so that gives a rough idea of its generous portion.

That’s not all, diners who order Santouka’s Kaisen Hiyashi Mazesoba also get to choose three additional toppings (1 meat and 2 veggie) from charshu strips, eel, beef slices, bamboo shoots, egg, black fungus, broccoli, garlic, coriander leaves etc. Now that really makes the noodle more appealing!

In general, taste wise, there’s a rich nutty fragrance, and I sense the presence of sesame sauce, overall it’s very appetising! In Japan, chilled noodles such as soba and udon are very popular over summer, it’s very much like chilling down a hot summer with a mug of beer. Although in Singapore, it’s quite different, most of us still favour a hot broth despite our monotonous hot and humid climate. As the name suggests, the key ingredients here are the seafood, which include salmon, scallops, shrimps, salmon roes, and apart from the shrimps, all others are served raw. Such ingredients go down well with chilled noodles, not hot, hence I can understand why Santouka only come out with a cold version of their Kaisen Mazesoba. I suspect this may well be a testing balloon of patrons’ reception, that if popular, they may start introducing more flavour and premium ingredients such as crabs and sea urchin. Let’s wait and see!

Spicy Shio Ramen, $16.50++

Santouka’s Spicy Shio Ramen came a little unconventional, firstly, it’s missing their signature plum found on their usual Shio ramen, secondly, the presence of fried onions (which is rarely found in Japanese ramen). Other ingredients include leek, coriander leaves, sesame, and of course, charshu. It is obvious their intention is to raise the flavour amidst a stronger spicy broth, so as to bring out the character of the ramen. And despite the spiciness, the sweetness of the rich and smooth tonkotsu based broth is still very noticeable. Unless I’m mistaken, I didn’t observe any obvious presence of chilli oil, which means the spiciness is likely the result of chilli powder, which of course, makes it less oily. All in all, I find this ramen packs a good punch and balance for someone who likes hot stuff. If anything, I feel it possesses a very prominent local flavour with a good fusion of Japanese touch.

Parfait Strawberry, $12.50++

Wait, I know it’s a far cry from its look in Santouka’s pamphlet, but I have to reiterate this parfait was really how it looked when it was served, we had not yet eaten it. First and foremost, the crew were quite apologetic that they didn’t have the correct glass available for it. Secondly, they informed us that the parfait melts very fast, and they assured us they tried their best to squeeze in as much ingredients (which also include corn flakes in the middle of the parfait) as possible. But cosmetic issues apart, the fact being there weren’t as many strawberries as I was anticipating, perhaps due to the fast melting whip cream that they couldn’t squeeze in more. In addition, the strawberries didn’t taste very fresh. Despite these down sides, I still quite enjoyed the parfait overall. Ultimately, Santouka is a ramen restaurant, not exactly a dessert bar. Let’s hope the restaurant irons out these technical matters before the Parfait is officially made available.

Kazan Wing, $5++

As per my normal practice, I tried not to leave the restaurant without paying anything, so we added this Kazan Wing. It was much better than ‘finger-licking good’, capable of giving those fried chicken franchise a run of their money! On their menu, it was stated that preparation takes about 10 minutes, that means it’s freshly fried, and the meat still retained that tenderness, not stale. What really made these remarkable is firstly, the lemon, excellently complementing the miso onion paste, truly spicy and delicious! This is not part of their new item, but I would highly recommend it.

Last but not least, a little information about Santouka’s upcoming promo, for more information and promotion, do follow their page on JPassport.

 

 

Shabuyaしゃぶ屋

Published March 29, 2018 by piggie

Sharing a common restaurant space with Tajimaya (for charcoal grill), it can be somewhat confusing for a start. We were led to a table for Tajimaya before the waitress discovered we wanted hot pot, and re-led us to one for Shabuya instead. The hot pot tables are different, with ceramic hob embedded, so it’s not like just bringing the portable gas stove over for the hot pot.

I have not been to a steamboat restaurant for decade, and my mind set was still having the perception of associating steamboat with buffet style, which is one reason why I shunned steamboat outside, because I tend to over eat 😛 Shabuya offers set meals, where food are given in fixed quantity, and diners get to choose from 5 soup bases, namely Tonkatsu, Shoyu, Daishi, Chilli, Chicken. Meat wise, apart from having Kurobuta, Shabuya is also offering premium beef, notably Miyazaki beef, depending on your choice of set meal, or otherwise, it’s also available as à la carte. For those who are still having the outdated mindset that Kobe beef is always the best, let me reiterate, that Kobe ain’t really producing beef. What was known as Kobe beef was mainly Tajima (Hyogo) breed, it’s just that Kobe being Hyogo prefecture’s capital city, it somehow grabbed the limelight from the entire prefecture. Miyazaki beef, on the other hand, has won 3 consecutive champions in Japan’s National Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu (Zenkoku Wagyu Noryoku Kyoshinkai) in 2007, 2012, and 2017 (held every 5 years). I am not saying Miyazaki beef is definitely better, I just feel that Kobe beef seems to me more like a standard, a protocol. Google, and you’ll probably understand what I’m trying to relate.

Chicken broth

I initially wanted Tonkatsu broth, but my dining partner wanted that, so I settled for a Chicken broth instead. Yup, one each.

We had the Shabuya set, which comprises Kurobuta Pork Belly, Pork Collar, Trio of Seafood Paste, Assorted Vegetables, House Salad (Garden Green with Cerry Tomato & Wafu Shoyu Goma Dressing), Salmon Sashimi, Chilled Silken Tofu with Roasted Sesame Shoyu Dressing, Tempura Moriwase, Chawanmushi. The Free Range chicken stated in their menu was absent, we were given a choice of steamed rice, ramen, or udon instead.

From left, Trio of Seafood Paste, Pork Collar, Kurobuta Pork Belly

Assorted Vegetables

House Salad

Tempura Moriwase

Chilled Silken Tofu with Roasted Sesame Shoyu Dressing

Salmon Sashimi

Ramen

Chawanmushi

The waitress served almost everything at once, which really filled the entire table. The broth, though served lukewarm, didn’t take long to get boiled, and in goes all my favourite ingredients! The thinly sliced pork are truly tender and sweet. And for those who dread the ramen or udon may be too much for such a heavy meal, fret not, it only came in small portion. Overall, I find almost all of them delicious, save for the Chawanmushi, which I could still felt some stink taste much to my dislike.

At this point, I also ought to touch on their seasoning and condiments counter. They served fresh eggs, along with 4 types of sauces, Goma sauce, Sesame oil, Ponzu sauce, and Shoyu sauce. And the condiments include spring onion, daikon oroshi, sweet chilli, chilli padi, garlic, peanut, toronggarashi, chilli powder etc. You get to try each on their own, or mix your own favourite condiments.

And this is what I got myself. I simply love its overpowering peanut flavour and a tint of spiciness, and went well with everything!

All in all, I found our meals very satisfying apart from the Chawanmushi, and I’d love to bring the old folks here another day!

Shabuya しゃぶ屋
1 Harbourfront Walk
#01-102/103, Vivocity
Singapore 098585
Tel: +65 63770070

Opening hours ~
Monday – Friday:
Lunch: 12:00 hr – 15:00 hr
Dinner: 18:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Saturday and Sunday & PH:
Lunch: 11:30 hr – 16:00 hr
Dinner: 18:00 hr – 22:00 hr

Inaniwa Yosuke 稲庭養助

Published March 2, 2018 by piggie

Japanese udon has been my favourite noodle ever since I re-discovered them (or rather they discovered me! LOL!) incidentally in Kagawa, the birth place of the most famous Sanuki udon. Prior to that, I tend to stay away from udon because the impression given me locally was terrible, even from some local Japanese restaurants in Singapore. Not until the arrival of Tamoya Udon here that I beginning to find authentic udon, prior to that, the colours, as well as the texture could be very contrasting to the real thing, let alone the taste.

Inaniwa Yosuke’s arrival excites me, because they are one of the 3 main udon in Japan (along with Sanuki and Mizusawa udon), and possibly with the most complicating manufacturing process, taking 4 days to make as all processes are manually done. I’ll leave the description simple here, those interested can google to learn more. But due to its tedious process, its udon don’t usually comes cheap (For Sanuki udon, it’s very affordable in Japan), as such, I have been waiting for promotion and finally my prayers are answered. They came out 2 set meals for $21.80++, choose any two of the 3 from their promotion menu comprising Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set, Ten-Don Set, and Curry Rice-Set. Among them, Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set ($21.80++) usually cost more than the other two, it looks more appealing anyway, so both me and my dining partner chose that. After that, we were asked to select from having it served hot or cold, we both wanted it cold. We went at a time when it happened we were the only customers, yet it took the chef quite long for the meals to be ready. Never mind, I ain’t hurrying him, the last thing I wanted was for the chef to expedite and skipping some procedures on the food. In truth, I appreciate his attention to details.

Unagi Kabayaki-Don Set, $21.80++

Conventional udon (usually means Sanuki because it’s more popular) comes in very thick form, still exceptionally chewy and smooth nonetheless. But Inaniwa udon is extremely thin, and because of that, when dipping into the sauce, is able to retain more sweetness of the sauce, and taste extraordinary wonderful! Its texture seems more smooth and slippery than Sanuki udon too, undoubtedly the best udon I ever tried! No wonder it has won so many accolades in Japan. The accompanied condiments include scallion, wasabi, dip them all into the sauce, and I absolutely love the kick it infused into the noodle! As for the Unagi Kabayaki-Don, not bad, not excessively sweet, and I quite enjoyed the texture, however, it pales in comparison to their udon, which is truly excellent.

Inaniwa Yosuke 稲庭養助
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Road #04-45
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623279

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inaniwa.sg/

Opening Hours:…
Seriously, this is a little confusing here, their name card printed Mon-Sun, 11:00 hr to 22:00 hr, but their Facebook lisitng 11:30 hr to 22:00 hr with break between 15:00 hr to 17:30 hr. Please call to verify if necessary.

Machida Shoten 町田商店

Published February 4, 2018 by piggie

Japan Food Town in Wisma Atria is another Japanese restaurant project involving ANA (along with many others), a year back I had the privilege to visit Yomoda Soba, but I haven’t been back since. I must say, most of the restaurants here came with a reputation, and the price is a little upmarket, which is the main reason why I don’t come here regularly.

As a ramen fanatic, I have been eyeing Machida Shoten for some time, since they are the only dedicated ramen restaurant in Japan Food Town. I finally made my move when they came out a one-for-one promotion early 2018. Firstly, I must confess I didn’t do my homework prior to visiting, but thinking that they came from Tokyo (well, actually Yokohama), I wanted to try their Shoyu based ramen. However, my dining partner wanted that too, hence I thought I might as well try out a Miso based ramen instead, so we can try out different broth.

Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen, $16++

I had their Miso Seasoned Egg Ramen. But before elaborating further, I have to highlight that Machida Shoten classified themselves as Iekei (家系)styled ramen restaurant, which in Mandarin meaning ‘House Type’. I actually only notice this after finishing my ramen, I was quite puzzled what that meant, and only after getting home that I had time to google about it, which generally referring to a combination of Tonkotsu broth with Shoyu. Truth be told, that’s not what the words mean, I suppose they meant it’s styled like how mum would have cooked it.

Upon ordering, patrons are asked to select the texture of the noodle as well as richness of the broth from “Hard, Japan Taste, Soft” and “Strong, Japan Taste, Light” respectively. We left everything at medium, which is the Japan taste here. When the noodle was served, I noted they are using round thick noodles, typical of Tokyo-styled ramen. However, the noodle was too hard for my preference, so agreed my dining partner too, and tasted like under-cooked spaghetti. I wonder whether they mixed up our order with the hard noodle. By the way, it’s worth noting that they made their own noodle in-house, an effort I truly appreciate. That said, if I took long enough to finish the noodle, it would at least get to a more desirable firmness. As per classic Sapporo Miso ramen, the main ingredients such as sweet corns, butter, are all there, so are an un-sliced egg, which wasn’t very runny like their picture suggested, and the only ingredient that impressed me was the medium size thick charshu, it’s chewy and offering a good tenderness.

The ramen broth was creamy and ultra rich, to such extent it reminds me of those use for Tsukemen, but less salty. So far, I hardly had problem finishing up ramen broth, I was struggling with this one. Actually, if the noodle wasn’t that firm, my impression won’t be that bad, but adding up the cons really left me a poor impression of this. Nevertheless, I reminded myself Miso ramen is not really their forte, Shoyu is.

Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, S$16++

As mentioned, my dining partner had their Shoyu Seasoned Egg Ramen, which is their signature ramen. Again, the noodle was too firm, and the broth was pretty thick. In my opinion, the broth does taste slightly better than my miso broth, but that’s as far as I would go. All I can say is, I’m afraid Machida Shoten ain’t really my cup of tea. That said, I must credit their nice ambience and the warm services.

By the way, ice water and warm water are chargeable at $1.

Machida Shoten 町田商店
Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Roadd #04-40
Wisma Atria Shopping Centre
Singapore 238877
Tel: +65 62623214

Opening Hours: 11:30 hr – 23:00 hr

Express by Chatterbox

Published January 29, 2018 by piggie

The history of Singapore chicken rice goes back many decades, but before the local hawker chicken rice fanfare gaining steam thanks to the popularity of blogging and reviews, Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was said to be the pinnacle of this Singapore cuisine. I know our northern neighbour and probably China may lay claim on its origin, but that to me is insignificant, I’m sure by now the differences must be getting more diversified that it may no longer be an apple to apple comparison anymore. Anyway, the last time I patronise Mandarin Hotel’s Chatterbox was more than a decade ago, and to be honest, apart from some very positive impression then, I couldn’t remember in detail. So before I start, I need to reiterate I am not able to relate any differences between the Chatterbox in Mandarin Hotel and their subsidiary here. Let’s just take this as an independent review.

Express by Chatterbox is located in a rather inconspicuous spot in Downtown Gallery along Shenton Way. It’s half hidden behind the escalator on the ground floor, where one can easily overlooked. The ambience itself is probably half their outlet at Mandarin Hotel used to offer (I haven’t been there since they shifted from ground floor to Level 5 many years ago), and hence reasonably reflected in their price. In fact, Express by Chatterbox offers minimal services whereby customers order and pay for their food at the counter, and then given a number chit for their order. They then proceed to the food counter for their order when the number is flashed. As such, Express by Chatterbox doesn’t charge for services, and their price already included GST. However, it must be noted that their charges is merely a fraction they were charging at Mandarin Hotel.

Signature Chicken Rice, $8.50

Perhaps I have a weak recollection, but I thought the portion at Mandarin Hotel was a bit larger. Nevertheless, the quality of the chicken rice here is truly class! Although the prices still a little pricey comparing to hawker fare,  after all, I believe so is its rental, and a better ambience naturally. I suppose the portion of the chicken here is randomly allocated, but if you specifically asking for chicken thigh, you will have to top up $2. As can be seen from the picture, their chicken was adequately moist, and the meat was rather tasty. The fragrant oiled rice was delightful, all in all, Express by Chatterbox certainly did not fail.

Yang Chow Fried Rice with Fried Egg, $10.50

I also ordered their Yang Chow Fried Rice with Fried Egg, which was exceptionally tasty! Firstly, they are using fragrant oiled rice, so its taste already gained an head start. Next, they know what ingredients really bring out the taste in fried rice, notably roasted pork and shrimps. The accompanying egg was a disappointment though, I would personally prefer scrambled egg fried with the rice. As for the fried chicken, I love its crispiness, though somehow it just made this dish looked more like Nasi Lemak than a Yang Chow fried rice. But frankly speaking, identity aside, this is truly delectable.

Express by Chatterbox
Downtown Gallery
6A Shenton Way #01-04
Singapore 068815
Tel: +65 62200758

Opening hours:
11:00 hr – 21:15 hr