Recently, I attended the Pre-opening Preview of Takumen, the newest addition to Circular Road.
Their concept is very interesting. They started as an online store (Takumen.com) in Japan showcasing 100 varieties of ramen brands which have garnered a strong following within their own districts. Now, they have expanded to Singapore through their first ever brick-and-mortar restuarant, Takumen.
I didn’t stay to taste every single ramen because I wasn’t feeling too well that day but I enjoyed whatever I tried- maybe some more than others.
At any one time, the store will serve up 6 different ramen brands. From what I noticed during the preview that day, most Singaporeans still prefer the more familiar tasting stuff like Tonkotsu. But Takumen is all about pushing the envelope and introducing new flavours that might sound unfamiliar to us. Keep an open mind while you are there!
Tori Paitan Ramen, Ramen HAJIME ($14.90++)
My favourite ramen was from Ramen Hajime. This is a chicken-based ramen. The only other chicken Ramens I’ve had are from Keisuke Tori King at 100AM mall, and Ginza Kagari in Tokyo. I thought the Tori Paitan Ramen was better than Keisuke’s though I did rave about the latter in the past!
The broth here was clear, and light, yet full of pure, chicken flavour. We were told that it is made from simmering chicken and other other vegetables, boiled for 8 hours, and simply seasoned with stuff like Mongolian rock salt (How is that simple? Haha). Keisuke’s chicken broth on the other hand, is a lot thicker, and creamier(it starts to thicken a lot when left to cool).
I was amazed by my chunk of chicken too. There was nary a sliver of fat, but this has got to be the tastiest chunk of chicken I’ve ever had.
Well it seems that I’m not the only fan of Hajime because Hajime is also the two-time winner of the Tokyo Ramen of the Year Prize in the Salt Ramen Division.
Ramen Kurume, Honda Shoten ($15.90++)
This was the standard tonkotsu ramen that most of us are familiar with. It was good… but I can find equally outstanding bowls from Ippudo or Ramen Bar Suzuki (which is a couple of doors away). A lot of people were put off by the sourness of the ginger shreds that the servers were a little too enthusiastic with. Do take them out if you don’t like them.
In Jiro-inspired Style, Chibakara ($18.90++)
This Jiro-inspired Ramen was pretty good. The thick, and creamy meaty broth tasted much better with a copious amount of chopped garlic (my weakness), and I really loved the slab pork that came with it. It looked dry but it turned out to be wonderfully tender while still retaining a good, meaty bite to it.
Tokyo-style Miso Ramen, Do Miso ($17.90++)
I don’t remember liking this miso ramen but I must reserve my comments because I wasn’t feeling well at that point in time. Interestingly, this broth is a mix of two different bases: a meat-based broth made with pork and chicken bones, and another broth made with konbu, shiitake mushrooms, and fish. They are then added to a five red miso blend.
I think the fishiness of the broth confused my tastebuds and I didn’t quite like that. But I’m open to giving it a second try when I return because the description promises rich, complex, umami flavours.
The most memorable part of the evening had to be…. the delicious ajitama. Check out those gorgeous molten, deep orange yolks! But beyond that, the shoyu marination was fantastic too. If you look carefully, you can see that it penetrated the whites entirely.
I didn’t try the Katsuura Tantanmen (Bingiri), which features a meat-stock broth laced with sichuan pepper, and Tokohama Iekei Ramen (Sakutaya), which uses a rich, tonkotsu broth.
I’m happy to see that the first 6 ramens featured at Takumen are all very unique in that they use different kinds of noodles, toppings, and broths. Don’t we all love variety? Also, I was just informed that following our feedback, the restaurant has decided to serve both a Japanese, and Singaporean version of every kind of ramen on the menu. The Singaporean version will be less salty, and less oily, but if you crave for the truly authentic stuff the Japanese version is still available.
Address: 66 Circular Road #01-01 Singapore
Mon – Thurs: 11:30am – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – 10:30pm
Fri: 11:30am – 3:00pm, 5:30pm – Midnight
Sat: 5:30pm – Midnight
Sun: 11:30am – 3:00pm
Public holidays: 11:30am – 3:00pm
Thank you FoodNews and Takumen for the invitation!