All posts for the month October, 2016

Uma Uma Ramen

Published October 30, 2016 by piggie

Uma Uma ramen is a ramen restaurant brought in by Ignatius Chan of Iggy’s. To quote their website, the name Uma Uma stems from “Wu Maru”, a Ramen shop established in 1953 by the father of Uma Uma Ramen’s current President, former actor Teshima Masahiko. Upon taking over the business in 1994, “Wu Maru” was renamed “Uma Uma Ramen”, a play on the original name of the restaurant as well as a pun on the Japanese word for “tasty”. Hailed from ramen kingdom Fukuoka (a.k.a. Hakata. Well, there’s actually two ramen kingdom, the other one being Hokkaido), it’s not difficult to apprehend their ramen adopted the conventional Hakata styled Tonkotsu ramen.

Tonkotsu Ramen, $14++

Tonkotsu Ramen, $14++

If I come here just to savour on this ramen, I’m sure I will leave the restaurant somewhat disappointed. With ingredients that include Chasiu (strange, this is hardly the way a Japanese will spell it), Spring Onion, sesame seeds, and egg, Uma Uma’s Tonkotsu ramen somehow lacks character. The soup leaves a significant pork scent, I thought they could have added some spices to neutralise it, but otherwise, like any Hakata ramen, they are using the thin Hosomen as noodle, which, in my opinion, at least blended well with Tonkotsu broth.

Spicy Chasiu Ramen, $16++

Spicy Chasiu Ramen, $16++

For $2 more, Uma Uma’s Spicy Chasiu Ramen is a better option in my opinion. With a generous portion of spring onions, leeks, chili oil, runny egg, and spicy marinated chasiu, this is certainly a more appetising option. Likewise, the noodle used here is the thin Hosomen. Perhaps because of the overpowering chili oil, which masked out any unpleasant pork scent, it also takes away some sweetness off the Tonkotsu from my tastebud, but this is not uncommon anyway, and I am very much impressed by its chasiu (or charshu, whatever). The two pieces chasiu in my bowl was of medium thickness, and unlike many other ramen restaurants, Uma Uma’s chasiu possesses a good flavour and texture, better than many other ramen restaurants out there.

Mazesoba Chasiu, $16++

Mazesoba Chasiu, $16++

Maze actually means ‘mix’ in Japanese (Japanese have a unique way of English pronunciation), so Mazesoba means mixing soba noodle with sauces, in this case, an egg as well. Mazesoba is the dry version of soup ramen, similar to our local dry noodle, and Uma Uma’s Mazesoba includes spring onions, bamboo shoots, leek, egg, and of course, their signature chasiu, to the soba noodle. When all these are mixed and stirred well, the end result is rather flavourful. Pardon me from saying, I find soba and udon cheaper than conventional ramen noodle in Japan, so if soba is used here, and minus the significant broth which normally takes long hours to cook, I find it a bit hard to justify the $16 price tag. I must stress, nevertheless, that their Mazesoba Chasiu tastes great, and the noodle actually tasted closer to ramen than a soba. In fact, Uma Uma created this ramen for Singapore market, but the reception was so good that they eventually brought this ramen back to their franchise in Japan!

Spicy Chasiu Don, $5++

Spicy Chasiu Don, $5++

There are actually many positive reviews on the web with respect to their Chasiu Don, perhaps more so than their ramen, but the one I ordered here is their spicy version for the same price. Uma Uma’s chasiu has a somewhat similar taste and texture to our local char siew, only softer, and they marinaded so well that makes this side dish truly flavourful. Of course, the using of Japanese rice here is a big complement.

Chicken Karaage, $6++

Chicken Karaage, $6++

I am not a big fan of Chicken Karaage, some restaurant tend to over fry them or having a flour coating too thick, hence diverting the attention away from the chicken. But Uma Uma did it brilliantly, the chicken was tender and the flour coating was adequately thin, so the emphasis stays with the chicken, not just the flour.

In addition, Uma Uma also serves bincho grilled yakitori and kushikatsu, as well as great cocktail! In a way, Uma Uma is unique, while most ramen restaurants simply focus on ramen, Uma Uma is pretty diversified, and pretty great at all front. I’m also rather surprise despite situated at a very extreme end of Millenia Walk’s Nihon Food Street, Uma Uma managed to pull in capacity patrons during dinner hours. Uma Uma also has another outlet in Forum The Shopping Mall.

Uma Uma Ramen
9 Raffles Boulevard #02-06, Millenia Walk
Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 68370827

Opening Hours:
Daily 11:30hr – 24:00hr (Sunday until 22:00hr)

Ginza Lion (formerly Ginza Lion Beer Hall)

Published October 25, 2016 by piggie

I have walked pass Ginza Lion Beer Hall in Suntec City many times, and everytime I thought it was a place for drinking and perhaps fingers food, much like a pub. Not until one day when I saw them put out a billboard of their lunch time special, that I realised they do serve proper meal! So one fine afternoon, I picked a friend to join me for a quick meal before a show.

Pan Seared Fish, $12++

Pan Seared Fish (with tartar sauce), $12++

We tried out two offer items from their lunch promotion and I had a Pan Seared Fish, served with french fries, broccoli, and carrot. I was also given an option to choose between a Salsa sauce, a Tartar sauce, or a Japanese Shoyu sauce. The fish was rather soft, in fact too soft for my liking, but at least the fries were nice, close to my favourite McDonald’s, but less salty.

Grilled Chicken (Oroshi Ponzu), $12++

Grilled Chicken (Oroshi Ponzu), $12++

My friend had a Grilled Chicken, served with thyme, french fries, broccoli, and carrot. She chose the Oroshi Ponzu sauce out of 4 options (along with Demi Glace, Hot Spicy, Teriyaki). While I didn’t taste obvious citrus from the Ponzu sauce, I have to confess the grilled chicken tasted great, with a thinly crisp skin and tender texture. Guess I will have this if I return.

And perhaps you would like to order a pint of Sapporo beer to go with your meal if you are visiting too!

2nd Visit

My 2nd Visit came after quite a while, this time bringing the old folks. The last time round, I went to what (I believe to be just Ginza Lion, well, this time I realise they are actually also integrating with Tonkichi, another house brand under Sapporo Lion group in Singapore. That explains their Japanese cuisine option in their menu.

Seafood Salad, $20++

Their Seafood Salad comprises salmon, squid, clam, mussels, shrimp, tobiko, and rocket. Naturally, the salmon is served raw, and the accompanied tobiko as well as lemon added a very appetising flavour to the salad. The rest of the seafood are well cooked.

Mixed Seafood Katsu Set, $22++

I didn’t have a try on their Mixed Seafood Katsu Set, but it was served along with Miso soup and fragrant rice. The seafood comprises prawns, salmon, and I believe, fried oysters.

Shoyu Ramen? $14++

Much as I was tempted to order their signatures, I was recovering from cough and sore throat, and had to avoid fried food, I settled for their Shoyu Ramen instead. They served Tonkotsu Ramen and Shoyu Ramen (both $14++). After a while, I didn’t see my order coming, it was then the waitress came over to inform me spontaneously that the kitchen cooked a wrong order and had to redo it. We weren’t in a hurry anyway, and had no problem with that. Eventually, I believe I was still served the wrong order, my noodle tasted more like Tonkotsu Ramen rather than Shoyu Ramen. Well, I’m still fine with that. BUT, not when I found out my noodles still stick together. This is certainly amateurish! Seriously, I ain’t a real cook, and I can come out something better. I hardly had such noodle in Singapore, and definitely not in Japan. That alone is not worth the $14++ restaurant price. Though taste wise, I will only use the word decent, nothing spectacular. The ramen has almost everything standard in a Japanese ramen except seaweed, which means it comprises charshu (2 thin slices), half a tamago which still retain some runny touch, bamboo shoot, and scallion, but no naruto fish cake.

Wrap & Roll

Published October 23, 2016 by piggie
Rice Vermicelli with Mushroom & Tofu, $10.90

Rice Vermicelli with Mushroom & Tofu, $10.90 (Bún trộn nấm)

I rarely try Vietnamese cuisine, not in Singapore. While I had a decent one in Sydney, I had to say my most remarkable Vietnamese meal was at Ho Chi Minh City (a.k.a. Saigon). Back there, I remember the noodle I ordered surprisingly came with an extremely large plate of mixed vegetables, so much so that the vegetables alone was enough to be considered as one full meal (What? Am I a goat? LOL!). Seriously, I was surprise at the generous portion. I had a hard time finishing it, and up till this day, I remember the taste very well, it’s quite unlike those vegetable we had in Singapore, not one bit. It came with a very strong fragrance of peppermint.

When I ordered this Rice Vermicelli with Mushroom & Tofu from Wrap & Roll, I expected a very plain noodle. I was quite surprise at its flavour! It was actually quite a good blend with the fried Tofu, bean sprout, mushroom, mixed vegetables, and peanut flakes, with accompanied sauce. But the peppermint aroma that I remember so well from my Vietnamese experience returns, though not as strong as back then. Naturally, because the portion of vegetables in this bowl wasn’t even 10% portion of that I had in Saigon. OK, genuinity checked.

I poured the sauce into the vermicelli and gently stirred, and despite the lack of meat, the overall taste was rather flavourful.

Looking forward to visiting Wrap & Roll again!

Café Gavroche

Published October 18, 2016 by piggie


p_20161011_130649I tried to research on Café Gavroche prior to my visit, but was unable to find out much constructive reviews from the web. I did learn that Café Gavroche is Chef Frédéric Colin’s spin off of his Brasserie Gavroche restaurant just across the street though. Chef Frédéric Colin was formerly the executive chef of The St. Regis, and along with the mostly positive reviews on Brasserie Gavroche, in a way, I guess that’s a testament of his culinary skill.

Granted, Café Gavroche is located along Tras Street, about the edge of Singapore’s financial hub, the weekday lunch crowd at Café Gavroche was rather sparse during our visit, in fact I found most of the diners are Caucasians. I guess they truly appreciate the Parisian ambience here. Talking about setting, there are three section of dining area here, the main one in the middle has an aura of French touch, very much similar to one you will adore along the street of Avenue des Champs-Élysées, with natural light flowing in from the ceiling, stone flooring, vibrant French posters, and even a lamp post that reminiscent the glamourous Parisian street! I learn that comes night fall, there will even be illumination here that will surely convert this into a romantic spot! I barely touch on restaurant ambience in my reviews, but I can hardly resist doing this for Café Gavroche. Even before our food were served, me and my dining companion were completely captivated by such setting. It’s a jewel waiting to be unearthed, especially in the evening!

Le Parisien,

Le Parisien, $14++

Food wise, me and my friend aren’t big meat eater, so we had a sandwich each, along with desserts. I had a Le Parisien, it’s a traditional French sandwich with cooked ham, butter, and gherkins (pickled cucumber). If you ask me how does it taste, I’m afraid there’s nothing much to brag about, I just find it moderate.

Croque-Madame, $16++

Croque-Madame, $18++

The Croque-Madame my friend ordered is certainly more impressive. It’s a baked ham and Emmental cheese sandwich with Béchamel sauce and a sunny-side up. We love the French toast, it really brings up the taste of the ham and cheese!

Crème Brûlée, $12++

Crème Brûlée, $12++

Crème Brûlée here is a Vanilla cream custard. I love custard, but somehow, this Crème Brûlée is too rich for my personal liking.

Profiteroles, $10++

Profiteroles, $10++

My dining partner ordered Profiteroles, which is a Choux pastry with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. We simply love this, with or without the chocolate sauce which was served in a separate container! The ice cream was so creamy I couldn’t have enough of it, while the almond flakes was a pleasant surprise, making the pastry extra flavourful.

I hardly visited a French restaurant, and I must confess my first visit to Café Gavroche is quite a pleasant one. Pierre, the in-charge, was quite friendly and approachable. And I would absolutely love to visit again.

Café Gavroche
69 Tras Street
Singapore 079008
Tel: +65 62254869
Opening hours vary, but close on Monday