Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King – Four Seasons of Ramen at Bugis Village
The true Ramen Champion Keisuke Takeda does not repeat concepts and ramen. Not at all. From his signature Ebi Soba Prawn Ramen in Japan, to his other three Singapore branches – Crab Broth Ramen at Millenia Walk, Tontotsu King at Orchid Hotel and Tori King at 100AM Amara Hotel, every bowl of ramen is distinctly different.
Even though the Tontotsu King branch at Orchid Hotel is insanely popular with constant queues, the “Ramen Revolutionist” chose to do something entirely different – a Four Seasons concept more suited to the younger crowd at Bugis Village. (Not to be confused with Four Seasons Hotel).
Located at Bugis Village (near KFC) smacked in the middle of random clothing and toiletries shops, queuing outside here would have been a pedestrian nightmare though.
I wonder why Four Seasons though, since Singapore is quite bloody summer hot all year around. Mr Keisuke is inspired by the four seasons in Japan, and also considered the palettes of a more adventurous customer base. The 56-seater shop is also beautifully transformed with decor and wall paintings presenting each season. Sit at Spring if you want to feel Chinese New Year, while winter is suitably isolated at the back.
The Spring Ramen ($11.90) served in cherry blossom bowls (so pretty my eating partner wanted to bring one home) is intricately sprinked with basil and parmesan cheese to evoke the colours of spring. This is my least favourite bowl, slightly too thick and heavy, feeling somewhat like eating pasta.
I immediately grabbed for some water after a first spoonful of Summer ($13.90). Must be reminded to mix fully the next time as the spicy meat miso is created with three difference types of chilli – Japanese shichimi, Cayenne pepper and Szechuan pepper. If you don’t take spicy, don’t even try. But, this bowl surprisingly grows on me. My second favourite bowl.
Autumn ($12.90) is clearly my favourite, made with three assorted mushrooms to reflect the abundance of mushroom during the season. While a little heavy on the bonito, the entire broth feels tasty umami and easy to finish.
If you are going for a taste closest to Tontotsu King, the Winter bowl ($10.90) is the most unadulterated, less complicated (or most boring) so you can appreciate the broth which is boiled for 11 hours overnight!
If you ask me, I still prefer the Tontotsu King’s broth which feels more satisfying to finish to the last drop. The Four Seasons broth is about 1.5 times thicker (thus ‘jelat’) because it is cooked for 11 hours instead of the usual 8, and may have too many gimmicks to distract from a simple bowl of tonkotsu goodness.
I mean, I still like this, easily better than the other ramens nearby. Who’s the champion again? Opps.
Updated: Went back to have my fifth bowl of Tonkotsu King Ramen ($17.90) for all toppings. With stirred fried pork with ginger on top, it’s the best of the lot here. Slightly pricey though.
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons
158 Rochor Road Bugis Village (btw KFC and McDonalds) Singapore 188433 (Bugis MRT) Tel: +65 6333 5740
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5pm – 10:30pm (Mon-Fri), 11:30am – 10:30pm (Sun)
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