Menya Sakura at Orchid Hotel Tanjong Pagar (previously at 64 Boat Quay) is the group’s first outlet in Singapore, and it specialises in Nagoya-style ramen.
You can find a few branches over at Indonesia such as at the Lotte Shopping Avenue.
The Singapore shop is helmed by Chef Sho Naganuma, ex-Executive Chef of Hide Yamamoto at MBS.
Nagoya-style ramen is characterised by hearty soups, brewed from both selected meats and seafood to achieve the best combination of flavours from the land and sea.
The recommendation ramen at Menya Sakura include Chuka Soba ($10.90) – noodles in a broth of clear chicken soup and fish dashi, Tonkotsu Tsukemen ($14.90) – Sakura’s original thick noodles served with an intense dipping soup, a blend of rich pork bone stock and seafood broth, and Tonkotsu Ramen ($10.90) featuring pork bone soup simmered for 12 hours.
I had the Tonkotsu Gyokai Jukusei Ramen Special ($16.90), with a base of cloudy soup made with pork bone stock, dried seafood and aged soy sauce.
The general style here is thick and rich, the soup base cooked to a full-bodied brown, heavy every spoonful, with a layer of vivid ‘seafood-y aftertaste.
Yet, it is not overly salty, just gao-gao (rich).
Noodles are also of the thick, chewy style, of complete opposite styles of the Hakata straight type which what most Singaporeans like.
For the record, it is tough to find good Tsukemen in Singapore.
Menya Sakura’s Tonkotsu Tsukemen ($14.90) happens to be one of the better ones around in terms of a more balanced sauce of density and savouriness. Noodles were springy, almost like udon.
However, the dipping sauce was served only luke-warm, and turned to room temperature fast. Unfortunately.
There will be a group of ramen lovers who will like this style, yet some others who might feel the entire bowl would be too filling.
I liked it enough as there was a level of authenticity in its taste, as some ramen shops from Japan would adapt quite a bit to suit local palates.
1 Tras Link Road, #01-07, Orchid Hotel, Singapore 078867
Tel: +65 9469 3366
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm, Last Orders 10:00pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun, PH