Sumo Bar Happy – Sumo Beef Ramen And Deliciously Cute Char Siew Taiyaki At Waterloo Centre
What makes me happy? Good ramen.
Opened by the team behind Standing Sushi Bar, Tanuki Raw and Salmon Samurai, Sumo Bar Happy is a hidden-from-plain-sight eatery within the Bras Basah Arts district. Part of its menu includes modern style ramen.
Waterloo Centre may not be familiar to many, though it is a short 10 minutes’ walk from Bugis MRT. The only reason I would come here in the past, was for Zumba classes upstairs.
The watering hole can be considered a hole-in-the-HDB-wall, you could miss it as you were not paying attention.
The interior was kept rather minimal, but I liked the plain, bold colours of nautical blue and white.
Sumo Bar Happy keeps its menu lean – from primary beef ramen, 4 types of donburi, 10 sides, but there was enough to keep me interested.
Other than the Char Siew Ramen ($17), you don’t get the usual varieties here – Oxtail Ramen ($21), Beef Ramen ($19) and a whooping Bone-In Rib Ramen ($42). Didn’t type that last price wrongly though.
I ordered a Sumo Ramen ($23), seemed to be pricier than usual, was considered value-for-money for having slow-roasted oxtail, braised beef tendon, sautéed US beef, boneless short rib all in one bowl.
One mouth in and you would know that quality beef ribs was used, cooked for quite a number of hours (8 according to them). I enjoyed the varied textures going on, sometimes you get tender slices of thinly-sliced beef, alternated with melt-in-the-mouth tendon.
This complete with collagen-rich tonkotsu broth, robust and tasty. I also liked the thin springy (al dente) noodles used, which kind of reminded me of Kanshoku’s.
Arriving in shocking pinkish-red, the Beef Gyoza ($11) was an eye-opener, skin said to be hand-rolled capsicum wrappers (I thought it was beetroot for the colour).
The crisp of the skin worked for me, though the minced short rib filling could have been juicier.
That one starter you must get is the Char Siew Taiyaki ($14) or Beef Taiyaki ($15). Strange that both were placed on opposite ends of the menu – I won’t have noticed the association at first glance.
Taiyaki is a Japanese fish-shaped cake commonly stuffed with sweet red bean paste. Having them in a savoury form, in a batter included with brown butter and kinako was intriguing.
I loved how cute they looked, how soft they were, stuffed with tasty US prime beef sautéed with onions. The Nagano Char Siew version was akin to having ”Kong Bak Pau” without the greasiness.
Beef Ramen may not be conventional in Singapore, its location may not be that obvious, but Sumo Bar Happy has enough worthy choices to keep my tummy happy.
Sumo Bar Happy
261 Waterloo Street, #01-24 Waterloo Centre Singapore 180261
Opening Hours: 5:00pm – 12:00am, Kitchen closes at 10:00pm (Mon – Sat), 5:00pm – 10:00pm (Sun)
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