I have heard about Chef KANAYA Mamoru in his Buta God days at Ramen Champion, though I have never tried his ramen before. I used to have the perception he’s more gimmicky than his ramen prowess, but my initial impression was immensely overwritten after visiting Menya Takeichi, where he is so-called ‘temporary’ helming.
Anyway, Menya Takeichi was hailed from Tokyo’s Shinbashi (also known as Shimbashi), and is quite a reputable ramen chain in Japan when it comes to chicken broth, promptly expanded to over 40 ramen outlets in the last 4 years.
For a change, I didn’t order the signature dish (chicken broth ramen) from the menu, and neither did my dining companion. I was very much enticed by their Maze Soba, or rather the look of it from the menu. If the picture above impressed you, I suppose I can reasonably assure you, so will its taste. For a start, the noodle used ain’t your usual soba as the name suggested, it was a flat and thick noodle that is more likely ramen than soba. I guess Maze Soba is just a convenient categorisation for these type of dry ramen which are still relatively new to the Japanese. I really want to emphasis on the noodle, which I understand is different from those used in their conventional chicken broth ramen. The texture was chewy, no, super chewy, and extraordinary smooth! It’s really an understatement if I proclaim this to be the best ramen noodle I ever tried! Then came the ingredients. You can see that ingredients are fully covering the noodle, which I actually deliberately dig out a ‘hole’ to show the noodle’s a flat, thick type. There are bamboo shoot, fried garlic, fried onion, leek, along with a poached egg, fried chicken, and grilled chicken. Before eating, stir and mix the ingredients well, and the flavour will gradually immerse into the noodle, the taste was really marvellous! I ain’t sure whether the accompanied soup is the same broth they used in their broth, probably not. It tastes good, not overpowering, but good enough to rival chicken soup from many Chinese restaurants.
My dining companion ordered their Special Spicy Tsukemen with special toppings, serves with the same noodle as my Maze Soba. By now, if anyone still unaware what a Tsukemen is, it’s actually dried noodle without broth, but served with concentrated hot dipping soup, an invention by the late ramen god YAMAGISHI Kazuo. The concentrated dipping soup is not advisable to be consume on its own because it’s too salty. While ramen can trace back to its China origin, Tsukemen is an entirely Japanese invention. As such, YAMAGISHI Kazuo was held at high regard by ramen fanatics in Japan (on a personal note, I still prefer ramen with broth). Ramen Champion, where Chef KANAYA made his name in Singapore with Buta God, is the brainchild of Chef YAMAGISHI’s disciple Chef TASHIRO Koji. Let me get back to the main track. Like the Maze Soba, the noodle portion was very generous, and was served with chicken breast, grilled chicken, bamboo shoot, seaweed, and two halves of runny egg. I found it a little difficult to justify the price though, since the ingredients are more or less in same quantity as the Maze Soba.
Oh, as a J Passport member, I was also entitled to free 3 pcs gyoza! I had tried gyoza elsewhere, but none tasted better than Menya Takeichi’s. Almost all other gyoza I tried tasted dry, but not for Menya Takeichi, the gyoza skin still retained tenderness, and the overall texture was commendable.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t quite expect top quality ramen before I stepped into Menya Takeichi, but I walked out a very satisfied customer.
Less than a month after my first visit, I brought the old folks over. I strongly recommended them Menya Takechi’s Maze Soba, and again, it passed with excellence, so good that my mum urged me to return (again) for it.
Rich Shoyu Ramen is Menya Takeichi’s most popular ramen from their Shinbashi outlet in Tokyo. Since this is my 2nd visit, I really should try their signature dish. Actually, Shoyu is my least favourite variance among Japanese ramen, but I will try to elaborate from a neutral point of view. The chicken broth is creamy and flavourful, and the noodle used was Kyushu-styled Hosomen. You can find leek, raddish, two tiny pieces of seaweed, one piece of chicken breast, one chicken charshu, and one chicken ball. Overall, I find this decent.
We got free Truffle Flavored Ajitama being member of J Passport. These runny eggs are sweeter than what we had elsewhere, not sure how Chef KANAYA done it, but you can see its edge is lightly coated with some sort of gravy. Seriously, when my dad grabbed two, it’s a testament how great it taste!
Menya Takeichi 麺屋武一 (Eat At Seven)
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City North Wing #03-313
Tel: +65 62353386
Daily – 11:30hr – 22:30hr (Break between 14:30hr – 17:30hr)