“A taste of the festive Matsuri”
Ramen Keisuke’s sixth outlet in Singapore is definitely a welcome addition to the East side of Singapore. For those who have queued 45 minutes or longer at Keisuke’s other outlet will attest, this ramen is worth queuing for. What is more impressive than holding on to the Tonkotsu King title, is that Keisuke is not resting on his laurels, instead bringing us 4 new ramen dish selections , each with a story – in this new Matsuri 祭 (Japanese word for Festival) concept outlet.
The most striking feature in the store is the Amori-style Nebuta centrepiece. The Amoria Nebuta Matsuri is an annual parade & dance festive happening on August 2-7 (wished I’m there now!) in Central Amori, Japan.
A Nebuta is a lantern float, painted with historic figures and kabuki, and can take up to one year to construct one. It is an impressive display for such a mini float in this outlet. It definitely put us in a mood and transported us into Keisuke’s world of Matsuri festivals.
Welcomed by Keisuke’s own bottled carbonated drinks – Wasabi Ginger Ale with a hint of a spicy dry finish, and Japanese Green Tea Cola, a sweet refreshing drink ($3 each)- I must say both of them are the refreshing fizzy drink choices to go with the ramen; We even had seconds.
I like how attentive Ramen Keisuke is into little details – a wide array of condiments, complimentary boiled eggs, and pickled bean sprouts. Also, a grind of mixed sesame is provided to give your ramen a fresh nutty fragrance.
The Ramen order sheet also lets you customize how you like your noodles, soup and oil to be done. These details will please the majority of diners.
We started off with a 3-piece Tonkotsu King Gyoza ($3) while waiting for the ramen as appetizers. Pan-fried crispy on one side, chewy on the other with the filling moist and cooked through. It does keep us wanting for more.
One thoughtful detail to look out for while enjoying your ramen, is that each bowl’s design is unique to the ordered ramen. It made it so much more enjoyable in connecting the various matsuri festivals to each ramen’s unique ingredients.
The focus is definitely on the 4 new ramen dishes that Ramen Keisuke has introduced on the menu, without further ado, here are the ramens we sampled.
Tonkotsu Ramen Awaodori ($18.90 with special combo). The Tokushima-style ramen is coupled with Keisuki’s secret sauce recipe sukiyaki pork, with ramen soft boiled egg makes slurping the noodles a sweet and smooth experience.
Tonkotsu Ramen Awaodori is named after the Awa Dance Festival 阿波踊り. You can never have enough ramen eggs together with your noodles.
Tonkotsu Ramen Sanjya ($18.90 for special combo). Characteristically a spicy ramen with 3 combination of chilies, teasing the tongue with kicks of different spices every mouthful. For those who like some fire in your belly, this three-spiced ramen is a perfect rainy weather ramen in my opinion.
Tonkotsu Ramen Sanjya is named after Asakusa’s Sanja Matsuri 三社祭り (known as the Three Shrine Festival), that happens annually on the 3rd weekend of May. It is probably the largest celebratory, religious Matsuri in Tokyo based on a historic discovery of an Bodhisattva Kannon statue, now located in the oldest temple in Tokyo.
Tonkotsu Nebuta Ramen ($18.90 for special combo). The soul of every ramen is in its stock broth. This ramen infuses Keisuke’s famous pork tonkatsu stock with Niboshi Iwashi (Dried Amori’s sardine), to give it a rich sea fishy flavour. It was definitely my favourite ramen dish in this outlet.
Tonkotsu Ramen Nebuta is celebrates the Aomori Nebuta Matsuri 青森ねぶた祭り, one of the largest summertime float and dance festival. Celebrating the bravery of historic war heroes, and welcoming tourist to participate – this ramen conveys the same welcoming feeling, with its tasty broth.
Tonkotsu Ramen Yurimatsuri ($18.90 for special combo). A miso-based ramen with a mini-mountain of Parmesan cheese. As a cheese fan, I enjoyed this interesting move added to ramen, but you have to finish this ramen fast before it turns into a creamy, sticky broth. The cheese shavings resemble the snowflakes of the snow festival.
Non-cheese fans might find it a little too rich (jelat) and salty, so the recommended way to enjoy this is to share it.
The pretty snowflake bowl for Tonkotsu Ramen Yurimatsuri definitely set me thinking about a future trip to Hokkaido for the Sapporo Yuri Matsuri さっぽろ雪まつり, Sapporo’s largest snow festival full of ice and snow sculptures, happening for one week in February every year.
The Matsuri theme is well executed in this outlet – from the welcoming shout, impressive Nebuta, the cozy interior decorations, the Japanese pop music, the uniqueness of each bowl used for different type of ramen all finished with a big drum farewell. This is a good representation of experiencing a Japanese Matsuri in Singapore via ramen. We will be back to Ramen Keisuke’s Matsuri restaurant again for sure.
Expected Damage: $20 – $30 per pax