The upper level of Ramen Matsuri at Boat Quay contains the little-known Gyoza Bar, reminding us that some of the best foods in Japan are found at obscure spots.
We walked past the ramen shop decorated with lanterns, saw a door with a small signage that marked “Gyoza Bar”. That was quite hidden.
So there it was. Walking up a flight of stairs, beneath another door, into an unassuming dark room.
There were no other customers, which my friend quipped, “Thank you for booking the entire place.”
The menu was simple – Assortment of Appetizers ($8), Gyoza ($8-$12), Entrees of Porcini Mushrooms Dumplings ($10), Fried Chicken ($12), Tamago Kake Gohan ($12), and Ramen ($12 for half, $18 for full bowl). All could be paired with sparkling wine by the glass or wine by the bottle.
Before we started the meal, the service staff offered some Otoshi – a starter of soup and beans, “Please try them and tell us what you think.”
We thought they were complimentary, based on what was said and body language, until we noticed the $5 extra each when the bill came. They were “compulsory”. Could have a better way to indicate that.
The Yaki Gyoza ($8) was worth every bit of the money, one of the best that can be found in Singapore – crispy thin skin, plump fillings moist with juice. Pop each into the mouth to experience the burst.
Portions were bar-bite sized small though. The Fried Chicken with mixed herbs ($12) was pricey for 3 small pieces, but was at least tender and succulent. Quality for its price.
Gyoza Bar’s Paitan Ramen ($18) came with just noodles in broth with a blob of yuzu pepper and spring onions. No char siew, no egg, no seaweed, no bamboo shoots. None of these.
Downstairs at Ramen Matsuri, a similar bowl of full of toppings would cost two thirds the price. We wondered about the rationale of eating upstairs then.
Apparently, the broth upstairs is better and richer. That is quite true after tasting (why not improve the stock downstairs then.)
The chicken-based milk stock was flavoursome tiled towards salty, not overly rich or thick, accented with citrusy spicy yuzu pepper sauce for a refreshing aftertaste. (Chef used to work at Marutama.)
While Gyoza Bar may not be pleasing to the masses; this hidden find offers some quality Japanese bar-bites and satisfying bowl of yuzu ramen.
7A North Canal Road, Singapore 048820 (Raffles Place MRT)
Opening Hours: 7pm – 11pm (Mon – Sat)
*Daniel’s Food Diary pays for food reviewed unless otherwise stated.