It was a mad rush to meet up with friends before CNY as the Chinese believe that owning anyone anything means bad luck in the coming year. Hence everyone is frantically meeting up with one another amid the preparations for CNY. Singaporeans are generally workaholics who put so much time into work that they rarely have time to catch up with their friends. I find it ironic at times as we are not miles apart as the country is very small but we find it so difficult to meet. The furthest you can be away is probably an hours’ worth of train ride away?
Anyway, met up with this dear fren of mine and we decided to check out the newest kid on the block – 313@Somerset. Not knowing what is available and having to answer to our rambling stomach and empty pockets, we decided to join the mini queue we saw outside RamenPlay as we were going down the esacalator.
Service was very prompt. We did not have to wait long for our table and the service staff was very polite. There was a constant smile on her face and she kept apologizing for making us wait for a table. We were given the menu to browse while waiting so that orders can be taken quickly.
RamenPlay came about through a collaboration between BreadTalk Group Ltd and Japanese Giant Sanpou Co Ltd, a distinguished name synonymous with quality ramen for the past 40 years. Under the leadership of Hironobu Kaneko (son of creator of Sanpou, Yukihiro Keneko), Sanpou ventured onto the international scene from a family run business which started in 1967. We even saw Hironobu himself at the outlet but I do think he felt a little out of place with the crew who was mainly Singaporeans. 😛
The restaurant was quite tightly packed with you being able to hear the conversation going on beside your table. Who can blame them for trying to optimise the rental for such a prime location? The picture above is the eating area right outside the kitchen, a place I normally wouldn’t take as I feel strange looking at the chef while he is cooking and having someone looking at me while I’m eating 😛
On our table were 3 covered containers. A natural reaction was to remove the cover to see what is sitting inside the containers. 😉
We foung Garlic Chips, Chilli Chives and Chilli in the containers. I have seen garlic chips and chilli served in many Ramen outlets but never seen chives served in this manner before. Further exploration led us to a poster describing what the contents of each container.
The garlic chips looks more like garlic bits and it is fragrant and crispy. Just beware of your breathe after if you cannot resist adding it to your ramen. The chives was kinda interesting.Added to the ramen gives it additional flavour.
There are options to top up your Ramen with extra braised egg, chicken wings, braised pork belly, cha siu slice, pork cheek and seasoned bamboo shoots if you feel like having more ingredients in your ramen. We did not opt for any as we wanted to try the original version first.
I ordered the “must-eat” ramen after flipping through the menu. The picture and description made my mouth water. However, when my ramen was served, we almost rejected it as it looked nowhere close to that in the menu. Only when the waitress said the name of the ramen did i realised that it was my Sanpou Tonkotsu Ramen! Hmm…
A close up of my Sanpou Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.80)
There were 3 different types of pork in the ramen namely Toroniku (braised pork cheek), Cha Shu (braised pork belly in char siew sauce) and Butakakuti (braised pork belly in special sauce). The colour of the pork and presentation of the ramen is quite different from that in the menu. This reduced my enjoyment of the dish by a little. However, the pork cheek on the left of picture and the braised pork belly in the bottom center of the pic does meet expectation. They were tender and very nicely braised. The Cha Shu was a bit of a disappointment though. The soup was full-bodied though a little too oily/salty for me.
My friend’s Tebasaki Ramen ($10.80)
I did tried a little of the soup and it tasted like mine. Maybe my taste buds are not sensitive enough to tell the difference or maybe there ain’t any difference to start with? Feedback from my friend was that it is decent.
Overall, I would think that it is decent ramen for the pricing. But personally, I felt that the soup was a little too oily and salty for me.
313 @ Somerset
Tel: 6634 0051
actually, i think.. traditional ramen joints in japan, are supposed to be all packed into a row on a bench.. slurping away?
mountain tortoise me doesn't know that.. but that is the culture in Japan, where you quickly slurp your ramen and go.. 😛 The bowling is still "smoking" from the heat.. In Singapore, the culture is more to talk over a meal? 🙂