Natsuttei was one of my favourite ramen from Singapore, easily top 5 amongst all the brands. When the shop closed temporary in Parco Millenia, it became a long wait for the “ramen of the year” to reopen at Orchard Central.
Its telegenic founder Ichiro Furuya has won many ramen competitions in Japan, making the joint hugely popular with long queues.
Fans will know them for their signature Black Ma-yu, with a black layer of garlic (fried over seven phases) and sesame oil blend floating on top the ramen broth, giving the bowl a distinguishable fragrance and creamy oily taste.
The moment I touched down in Singapore after a 2-weeks travel, I went straight for Nantsuttei. That is how much I have been craving for it.
But, the ramen bowl ($12) was disappointing.
Perhaps the shop is still getting a hang of things, the distinctive aroma was not intense enough, the homemade straight Kumamoto style noodles were soft and limp, and could have been more al dente.
The other important factor to me – the Ajitsuke tama egg (additional $1) was plain and strangely missing in flavour-ness. To their credit, the soup remained rich and creamy, but wasn’t as inspiring as it used to be.
Their rice bowl Buta-manma ($6.00) is a value-for-money option for a lighter meal, with chopped chashu is stewed in a slightly sweet dashi soup and placed on top of a hot bowl of rice.
I am one of those who will anticipate juice flowing out of pan-fried dumplings. That to me is the test if the gyoza can make it or not. The Fuufu Enman Gyoza ($6.00) was unfortunately limp, lacking in sweet juices.
Also on my wish-list: they could have served some hot or cold green tea, not just canned ones.
Don’t get me wrong, Nantsuttei is still considered much better than many of the average ramen brands in Singapore, but need to something to keep that consistency up. They are still good, but I remember that they used to be better.
Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #07-12/13 Singapore 238896 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6337 7166
Opening Hours: 11am – 10:30pm, Last order 10 pm