Friday, November 4, 2016

Tsuta Singapore - Delicate and Exquisite Shio and Shoyu Ramen

Michelin Guide's only ramen entry is making its debut in Singapore at Pacific Plaza. Chef Yuki, who is the maestro behind Tsuta in Tokyo is bringing the same quality and excellence here.

As a testament to preserving his pristine and precise approach to his ramen making, everything is sourced at the highest level and even using specially concocted soy sauce and bringing over the special wheat from Japan to construct the noodles.

In Japan, Tsuta is only a 9 seater, which not only makes it highly exclusive, it also requires a high level of patience to queue for just a seating. Chances are, it is wham bam, eat and be gone in a space of minutes.

We are more fortunate with double the seating in Singapore, but the layout is still pretty classic ramen style with the diners sitting along a L-shaped counter top facing the kitchen team as they expertly toss and drain the ramen with a finesse akin to a martial arts level.

There are only two types of ramen and it is pretty much no frills here. No gyoza or side dishes to distract the occasion. Not even the traditional tonkotsu broth base, but a pair of shio and shoyu soups to choose from. And a selection of toppings that does not deviate from the norm.

Shoyu Ramen

The shoyu is the more prominent of the duo. You need to know that the broth base is made up of a specially brewed shoyu dashi that consists of chicken, clams and seafood ingredients for a robust yet clear and refreshing profile.

It is salty without being overbearing, and the cha siu is made from pork collar so you will get a less fatty experience. In fact, it has a ham like bite and coupled with the mandatory oozy egg, it makes for a rather superb combination.

In fact, I was reliably informed that the clarity in the soup is due to the use of distilled water that has been water softened. This results in a consomme like consistency that is so clear you can almost taste through it. And still, there is a strength of umami that cannot be denied.

The addition of a truffle flavouring may be a distraction in most other ramen establishments, but thankfully, here it actually adds an earthy gravitas to the occasion to anchor everything else in place. It has made a shoyu convert out of me and easily ranks as the top three ramen in Singapore.

Shio Ramen

For the ladies, the shio option may prove more enticing as it dispenses with the truffle and soy components and instead, focuses on an even more delicate stock with the use of Okinawa sea salt and Mongolian rock salt.

The result is a broth that feels so comforting you can practically visualize a Japanese granny brewing this at home. The rest of the condiments and garnishes are similar to the shoyu brethren, yet the change of soup base makes everything even more clarified and clear. I can picture myself coming back to this as easily as the shoyu rendition.

As for the noodles, they are made fresh daily using the Yamato machine using the same recipe and premium ingredients that Chef Yuki has painstakingly perfected over a long period.

I utterly enjoyed the texture of every strand and drenched in the delicious broth, they are the epitome of ramen craftsmanship. Bouncy and bite worthy, the noodles can elicit so much joy you will be left wondering how fast you can slurp these noodles down in record time. Yes, they are that good and tastes as fresh as handmade pasta.

The ramen shop opens officially this Sunday and long queues are expected. Whilst not everyone will take to this like fish to water, those that are willing to indulge in a new direction will find lots to discover and appreciate.

Maybe it's not a ramen for everyone, but for those with a more refined palate, Tsuta will prove to be an abundance of exquisite joy.

01-01 Pacific Plaza
9 Scotts Road

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