Ramen Keisuke runs like a well-oiled machine.
I popped by early at about 5:30pm (it opens at 6pm) for my tasting and had the opportunity to watch the team prepare for the evening crowd.
Chef Keisuke – who’s damn kakoii (cool in Japanese) by the way, with his ponytail and stern face- overseas them. The staff line up, a guy calls out in Japanese and walks up to each of them to squirt some hand sanitiser on each of their palms! How cool is that?! You know your food is prepared in safe hands. Then they have like a sharing session, talk about what could have been done better yesterday, break up and start working.
I was impressed.
Then the food came:
I got the full works with the rich broth. The regular bowl (just char shu, noodles and broth) is priced at $14.90, add $2 for a bowl with a tea egg or bring it up to the full works for $20.90. You get the egg, a giant sheet of seaweed, two prawn balls, spring onions, bamboo shoots and prawn wantons.
The broth looks like ordinary ramen broth, but the real magic only hits you after you’ve swallowed your first mouthful of soup. Rich, almost like a lobster bisque, the aroma and flavour of the broth warms you right up. It’s not a thin, Asian broth, but something thicker and savoury. As you savour the soup, slurping chewy noodles at the same time the word that comes to mind is umami.
The chewy noodles are light on the palette, complementing the rich broth. You also notice, unlike other ramen stores, these don’t get soggy, nor do they become instant-noodles wavy. They retain their shape. I asked the staff and they shared that chef changes the recipe for his noodles based on the broth he pairs them with. Notice the little flecks? These were made with local ingredients, and specially formulated to withstand Singapore’s humidity. That’s why they remained springy and delicious.
The char shu was no joke either. I’m not a fan of fatty pork, so I saved for last, almost dreading it, but the fat melted in my mouth. The meat, like the soup, looked ordinary, but blew my mind once I put it in my mouth and started chewing. IT WAS SWEET.
Chef soaks it in sweet Chinese wine before cooking it, giving it a soft, tender texture, a sweet taste that creates a rhapsody flavours with the umami taste of the broth. Finish it off with a bite of the prawn ball. Crisp and crunchy on the outside, it hide a soft exterior made of prawn chunks and paste. It wasn’t bouncy or chewy like a fishball, but more like a mash. The soft insides paired wonderfully with the crisp exterior. FINISHED TWO PRAWN BALLS ON MY OWN.
I’m not exaggerating. This is how much I loved it.
The only thing I didn’t love however, was the molten egg and prawn wanton.
I wasn’t impressed by it. Sure, it was molten and beautiful, but it was far from what I expected of a “flavoured egg” proudly advertised for $2. No flavour lei! I was truly disappointed.
The wanton too was sad. The wanton’s filling, a whole prawn, had escaped its soft wrap while it was in the soup. So all I had was the wanton skin making my soup thicker and no more delicious.
If you head over with two people, but sure to order these sides: the omy rice and the nanban chicken.
Yes yes, who eats another carb with ramen? I DO! It came highly recommended and I had to try it. Soft, melt-in-your-mouth egg covered a mound of tomato-fried rice that had generous chucks of prawns and sweet pork in it. The whole dish was drenched in savoury curry. It was Japanese curry so a) not spicy, b) sweet. So good. This was a true bite of a myriad of flavours and textures. You’ve got the soft melt-in-your-mouth texture from the egg, chewy rice covered in savoury tomato sauce that elevated the flavour of the chunks of pork imbedded in the centre of the rice. The curry sweetened the deal (literally), it’s flavour was strong and filled my mouth with its aroma. Heavenly.
The crisp chicken karrage came out glistening with oil. But before it arrived, the waiter came out to prepare their signature nanban sauce:
Made from mayonnaise, a whole boiled egg, pickles, sweet onion and nanban sauce, it’s a rich paste that goes along with the crispy chicken.
Ramen Keisuke Lobster King is definitely a must-visit!
p.s. try the Green Tea Cola. TOO GOOD
3C River Valley Road, #01-07, The Cannery, Singapore 179022
Opening hours: 6pm – 5am daily