If you’re into the local prawn noodles, then this ramen joint should be right up your alley. With signature amaebi-based ramen bowls crafted by Chef Mieda of the Michelin-starred Kaiseki restaurant based in Hokkaido, it’s no wonder that Jimoto Ya has been drawing in an influx of diners since it’s opening.
To locate this restaurant, just head over to Nanking Row at China Square Central. While the storefront might not be easy to spot, the restaurant is directly opposite to Korean BBQ house, Wong Dae Bak.
Furnished with wooden embellishments and carvings, the restaurant boasts a classy interior that allows for customers to sit back, relax and enjoy a piping hot bowl of ramen. You can even sit at the counter of the sake bar to choose from its wide selection of alcoholic beverages.
Outwardly, the Hokkaido Corn Croquette ($6.50) might not look very special, but you will be surprised by how great it tastes. Deep fried in a light batter, the croquette had a crisps shell that appears to be less greasy compared to most I’ve had.
Break open the croquette and you will find a creamy filling of potato mash with corn kernels nestled within. The smooth texture of the mash combined with the crispy exterior was truly delectable and made for a great start to our meal.
Another starter worth mentioning is the Tori Kara-age ($12). Featuring five pieces of deep fried chicken, there’s really not much that could go wrong with this side dish.
The breading used for the batter was notably crispy and served to coat the chicken fairly well. Plus, I appreciated the fact that chicken thigh was utilised instead of breast meat, making it juicier.
One of five ramen options, the Ebi Shio Ramen ($16.50 for ala carte, $19.50 for a set) promises an aromatic broth made with a special blend of their signature sweet shrimp, tonkotsu, and of course, salt seasoning.
We ordered Set B to go with it, which came with two pieces of ebi tempura and a complimentary house tea. A pretty value-for-money deal, in my opinion.
The ramen noodles were springy and absorbed a bulk of flavour from the light tasting broth, which was simmered with prawn heads to extract even more juices. While there was no chashu to accompany the ramen, we did get the usual ajitama egg coupled with crunchy cabbage and chunky minced meat.
The prawn tempura that came with the set tasted fresh and had a nice crunch to it. Dipped in the tempura sauce, the light batter proved to be enjoyable and not in the least bit oily.
The Ebi Shoyu Ramen ($16.50 for ala carte, $19.50 for a set) was another strong contender, as well. This had the same soup base as the former but with a soya sauce seasoning instead of salt.
We opted for Set C this time and had three pieces of vegetable tempura together with a house tea.
Again, the robust broth complemented the ramen noodles and made for a satisfying bite. The salty shoyu seasoning also managed to bring out the sweet flavor of the prawns.
Like the prawn tempura, the vegetables were coated in the same light batter that tasted great when dipped in the sauce. No complaints in this department, for sure.
The Hiyashi Cyuka ($18.50) is the only dry ramen option on the menu. While the soup ramen alternatives seem to be more popular, I found this to be a refreshing change of palate. Served with cabbage, leek, nori seaweed, shrimp, sliced braised pork and minced meat, this ramen had significantly more ingredients than it’s soupier counterparts.
Cooked a-la-minute, the noodles were al dente and doused in a good amount of chilli oil that served to spice up the dish a little. To enjoy this dish fully, you’ve got to mix all the ingredients around and squeeze some lemon over it.
If you can’t take spice all that well, don’t worry because they also have a non-spicy version that can be requested for.
To complete the meal, we had the Omakase cocktail ($16). The bartender concocted a yuzu-centric cocktail made from gin and yuzu-based ingredients, including yuzu sake, cherry, syrup and peel. This was certainly a refreshing way to end the evening.
Specialising in ebi ramen, Jimoto Ya truly captures the essence of sweet shrimps in a broth that any prawn lover would surely enjoy. While I’m sure most of you still have a preference for the typical tonkotsu based broth, why not try something with more robust flavors? You might just change your mind after giving this a shot.
Expected Damage: $20 per pax