New ramen shop Daruma Ramen House is actually not from Japan, but first set up in Hong Kong, re-created and updated by proprietor Charlie Chan. Before you feel too suspicious about its quality, Daruma is named one of the top 5 ramen restaurants in Hong Kong by Tatler, with endorsement from singer Eason Chan saying “You’ll know it when you taste it”. (Read: 5 New & Best Ramen Places in Singapore)
Very brave. This new ramen shop went to the extent to opening two new outlets , one at TripleOne Somerset and the Greenwood Estate in Bukit Timah. Are these the best choice for location? Because both times I been to the Somerset branch, I was the only customer. With that said, the only restaurants that are packing customers there are Imperial Treasures Windows of Hong Kong and the Imperial Treasure Steamboat Restaurant.
There is no fuss to Daruma’s menu: just three choices of Shoyu, Spicy and Tonkotsu. Toppings varieties are barbeque pork, braised pork belly and the ultimate bowl with both meats and mentaiko. No peripherals like gyoza, yakitori and salads, yet.
If in doubt, go for the Tonkotsu with braised pork belly, barbecued pork and mentaiko combination ($18). The broth is said to be cooked by boiling over 90 kilograms of premium pork bones imported from Holland for 8-10 hours every day.
Hmm… Daruma’s broth was thinner than expected for that number of hours boiled, but at least it was still cloudy and not too salty. I can imagine those who keep complaining that the Japanese ramen soups are too oily, salty and thick would like this version.
P.S. I hear that you can request for thicker broth as long as you asked for it. Did it for my second bowl, and that was more satisfying and to my preference.
The Spicy Ramen ($18) may need some getting used to. It was not the hot-spiciness I was expecting, and had somewhat a ‘Chinese’ taste to it. The soup really tasted a lot better after dissolving the mentaiko within, adding a more layered dimension.
The winner was really the braised pork belly which was unpredictably soft and tender, with lovely proportion of melt-in-your-mouth fats.
I spotted Artease’s Iced Yuzu Passion Green Tea and Plum Apple Vinegar Tea being sold, and a fridge stored with Happy Boy Tau Hway. No doubt that I am a fan of both, but from a branding perspective, would any self-respecting Japanese ramen shops sell any of these? (So I hear that the boss is a friend of both brands.)
Perhaps not the best and sensational out there, but the Daruma Ramen has a taste you may grow to like.
Daruma Ramen House
TripleOne Somerset 111 Somerset Road, #02-15 Tel: +65 6235 6079
Greenwood Estate (Bukit Timah), 10 Greenwood Avenue, Tel: +65 62199 447
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm & 5pm – 10pm (Mon-Fri), 12pm – 10pm (Sat-Sun)
Other Ramen Entries
Menya Sanji (Orchid Hotel, Tanjong Pagar)
Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen (Novena Square 2)
Keishoken Ramen (Great World City)
Kitakata Rahmen Tamakichi (Orchard Plaza)
Ramen Keisuke Tori King (Amara Hotel)