Sunday, January 28, 2018

[Media Invite] Takumen Ramen Gallery ラーメンギャラリー 宅麺 @ 66 Circular Road

This small eatery located at 66 Circular Road (somewhere near Boat Quay), has a narrow entrance and a large Samurai statue holding a bowl of ramen. Takumen aims to deliver the flavours of popular ramen shops in Japan right at this Ramen Gallery, minus the queue.

step right in for delicious ramen 
Expect brands such as Honda Shoten, Sakutaya, Chibakara, Hajime, Bingiri and Do.Miso. Each of these brands specializes in flavours such as Tonkotsu, Iekei, Jiro-style, Toripaitan, Katsuraa-style Tantan-men and Tokyo-style Miso Ramen.

Was invited to try Hajime and Do.Miso. The experience felt somewhat like those cosy ramen bar in Japan, where one squeezed into the small space with the hope to enjoy a hot bowl of tasty ramen on a cold night. Except, instead of cold nights, often times, it will be hot and humid mostly. Not to worry, as ice-cold water (complimentary) or a mug of Asahi beer will balance that out. Noticed that they have a buy 1-get-1 free for alcoholic beverages on weekdays from 3pm to closing and all-day weekends. Terms and conditions applies, hence do check with the staff.


The kitchen staff works tightly to deliver hot bowls of ramen to awaiting customers. It was interesting to see a lady in the kitchen of a ramen place.

soon to be filled bowls of delicious ramen

If you're feeling peckish, there's a bowl of hard-boiled egg at the small table near the entrance. Feel free to take as much as you need. I can barely finish a bowl of ramen on my own, much less to eat additional hard boiled eggs...

hard boiled eggs

What type of ramen do you prefer? The lighter or stronger flavours?

Do.Miso Ramen (front) and Hajime (back) - photo credit: @jellymagically

Ramen Hajime was a two-time winner for 2010-2011 Tokyo Ramen of the Year, in the shio ramen category. For Singapore, we can get its Tori Paitan ramen, which is a white chicken broth ramen served with tender, boiled chicken breast, spring onions and menma. The soup was silky smooth and creamy.

Hajime Tori Paitan 
Hajime Tori Paitan flavours are indeed light, yet creamy enough to have a hint of lip-smacking collageny goodness. The flat noodles were springy and delivers just enough of the soup to ensure a healthy tasting mouthful.

springy noodles in white chicken broth

Personally, am more of a fan of stronger tasting ramen and specifically miso or tonkotsu broth. These days am more into aka miso ramen.

Do.Miso speciaizes in miso ramen and uses a unique blend of 5-types of red miso (including sweet Edo Ama-miso and mild Shinshu miso) resulting in tasty, rich flavourful miso broth. Lovely. Just my type of ramen.

ど・みそ - bite-sized bowl when sharing with friends

The Do.Miso broth was not spicy and on first taste, one could savour the roasted sesame flavours. Nice. Each bite had a combination of sweet corn, miso broth and plenty of cabbages and beansprouts. This noodle variant is very much to my liking. Ajitama is a must-have for any ramen. If you ask me, I'd go for the 'everything also have' ramen bowl. Usually marked as special in the menu. The 'everything' usually simply meant that the ramen bowl comes with ajitama and char shiu.

The char shiu for the Do.Miso is of the belly and shoulder parts. Both equally tender and not too fatty. While we were there, we could hear other patron busy slurping his bowl of ramen. That's a good sign at any ramen shop!

Oh, you may want to try the gyoza if you are at Takumen. I heard that their gyoza is made of Iberian pork. For myself, I'd order up the karaage as a side-dish for the ramen.

In terms of favourites, it seems like Sakutaya ramen is the current 人气 ramen at Takumen. This style of ramen is said to be in the style of the famous Yoshimuraya of Yokohama. Maybe, I'll try this next time to understand more.

award winning ramen

Thank you Shermaine for the invite and The Ramen Gallery for hosting the tasting. Takumen is at the same stretch as Hitsuji Club and Tendon Kohaku.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

[Media Invite] King's Laksa Steamboat @ 17 Teck Chye Terrace

Steamboat, we have eaten alot. What is your favourite soup base? Soup base such as chicken, tomato, mala soup are the common ones. How about laksa? At King's Laksa Steamboat, you can have that along with chicken/mala/herbal soup, and buffet-styled. On top of that, it offers tasty cooked food such as har jeong gai (prawn paste chicken wings), fried tofu, luncheon meat, spring-rolls, tiny fish balls and mini man-tous. Wow, and the price per adult is just $26.80++ for dinner with dining duration of 120 minutes. Really 一个价钱,吃到饱! Last order for dinner is 10pm. And, did I mention there's free flow drinks, ice-cream and pudding too?

after that, will diet?

Location wise, it is somewhere near Boundary Road, Serangoon area. Within 10 minutes walking distance from Serangoon NEX. The dining area is pretty spacious. However, the buffet and drinks area is narrow, so it could be rather cramped when many wants to take their food or drinks.

dining area
buffet counter
drinks area
There is calamansi, sour plum and water chestnut drink from the dispenser. Otherwise, bottled unsweetened oolong (for sharing) is also available.

The main items could be ordered via an order plastic sheet. Just tick whichever items that you fancy, indicate table number and portions to order. Must-orders for cooked food are the prawn paste chicken wings, the fried tofu and man-tou. For the raw food, must-orders are the flower crab, pork belly, fish dumplings and squid.

let's start with these
all ready

We had the laksa and chicken soup bases in our yin-yang pot. Happy to see fried pig's skin and fried beancurd skin for the laksa broth. So matching!

mushrooms and vegetables from the self-service section

The portion of meat was generous but most were lean meat, hence, try not to overcook them otherwise, it would be pretty tough to chew. I liked the thinly sliced pork belly the most as it had a softer texture than the chicken (breast meat only) and the beef (no fats!). The lamb was special and cut into pretty tiny pieces. Gamey but not overly tough.

bubbling away

While the raw ingredients are getting their sauna bath, munch of the freshly cooked items. For lovers of luncheon meat, you can eat till your heart's content. Liked the fried tofu too. It was drizzled with sweet Thai chili sauce.

repeated orders for this!
belachan chili for the prawn paste chicken wings
deep fried platter - prawn paste chicken wings, luncheon meat and fried fishballs
fried tofu with sweet thai chili sauce
fried man-tou that's good on its own

The flower crabs were fresh and cooks easily in the boiling hot broth. Enjoyed it and it was on our repeat order. Loved the smooth texture of the fish dumplings. So good but we discovered it a tad late, meaning, we were too full!

flower crabs
fish paste dumplings (foreground) and beef (background)
The secret to the laksa broth was of the more premium dried shrimps used. The laksa broth was rich and full-bodied. It could get rather salty towards the end, so it would be best to kept it topped up. It wasn't spicy, so it can be enjoyed by most.

the secret
One tip when ordering meat is to order about half the number of pax. If not enough, then order again. This will keep the meat fresh and not sitting on the table for too long.

After all the heaty fried food, it was time to cool down with ice-cream. The ice-cream is located at the cashier. There are about 5 flavours; corn, yam, mint, chocolate, and strawberry. My favourite was the yam.


Thank you Ivan for the invite and King's Laksa Steamboat for hosting the tasting.

King's Laksa Steamboat website:

Sunday, January 21, 2018

[Media Invite] Restaurant HOME 家 @ 27 Cosford Road

An almost kampung-styled idyllic, rustic dining environment. Located next to a long stretch of quiet road, a large signage beckoning patrons to its indoor air-conditioned dining area. "Restaurant HOME & Bar", the signboard says. Turning in, one sees 27 Cosford Road on a wooden plank resting on the tall coconut tree.

you have arrived
entrance to Restaurant HOME compound
HOME signage
Walk on in, and you'll come face-to-face with the long nose of a tank bunker. Ok, now one might wonder if this is an army camp or a restaurant.

Soldier on, and one will be greeted by cement floor, small drain, patches of grass, a shed, a swing and a garden at the back for herbs and vegetables. When we were there, its dill plants have grown pretty tall!

Stop by to admire boards of media coverage for Chef Tan Yong Hua and Restaurant HOME before one gets to the restaurant door. Friendly staff greets and welcomes the diner to their table. Celebrity Chef Tan has an armory of accolades and it included one Gold and two Silver Medals in the World Championship of Chinese Cuisine back in 2008. He is also the first Singaporean to have beaten the Iron Chef Thailand.

At Restaurant HOME, city diners could drop by and temporarily slow down their hectic lifestyle, to stop and smell the flowers (or herbs!). At HOME, Chef Tan prepares the dishes with heart and where his diners could gather for a good tasty meal with their loved ones.

HOME compound
garden at the back

There is a swing in the compound too! Just like some of our homes during the kampong days. How nice it is to be on the swing with your favourite person in the cooler evenings?


Indoor, there are round tables for communal and large group dining, as well as square tables for cosy, intimate dining for the couples. Private dining areas are available as well.

To usher in a Bountiful Year of the Earth Dog, Restaurant HOME has prepared auspicious tasty dishes to celebrate. New year dishes such as Braised Green Wrasse with Roast Pork, Leek and Flower Mushrooms (年年有余), Pan-Fried King Prawn with Superior Soy Sauce (喜哈大笑) and Fragrant Rice with Dried Scallop and Preserved Meat wrapped in Lotus Leaf (五谷丰收) and these are specially prepared in the 8-course CNY Prosperous Menu E (福星高照新春特备套餐).

communal dining

Say cheers to the new year, with hot tea. Pu-er was served and if you like alcohol, one could also do sake, beer, wines or whisky. They have a good range of sake which included my favourite Junmai Daiginjyo.

treasure trove
Of course, hot Chinese tea works for all! Hmm, I spied Chef has his own collection of Pu-er discs in the restaurant.

hot pu-er (普尔) for us, cheers!

For Lunar New Year, of course one must have Yu Sheng. So, for first course, we had the Yu Sheng with Norwegian Salmon (遍地黄金).

Yu Sheng with Norwegian Salmon (遍地黄金)
striking gold with the salmon slices
The friendly staff will start with the auspicious sayings as she places each of the ingredients together. Once ready, all chopsticks on hand and everyone participates in the joy of tossing the salad as high as possible (with minimal spills too).

tossing for prosperity
always happy to get a slice of yu sheng!

Next course, one gets a bowl of nutritious double-boiled Amidori Abalone with Chicken and Night Blooming Cereus soup. It's a heart and tummy warming bowl of goodness.

Double-boiled Amidori Abalone with Chicken and Night Blooming Cereus Soup - 万事胜意 (霸王花鲍鱼炖鸡汤) 
Amidori Abalone
Soup was deliciously flavourful yet light at the same time. The abalone was nicely tender. The night blooming cereus is the flower of the dragonfruit and it offers a cooling effect. For me, I thought its texture was similar to lily bulb.

Next, a signature dish of Chef Tan and Restaurant HOME, the Barbecued Duck with Lychee Wood. Thin, crisp skin and flavourful tender duck. If you are looking for strong herbal flavours, this is not it. Instead, the meat takes centerstage which the mild flavours allows the natural taste of the duck to shine through. Lovely.

Barbecued Duck with Lychee Wood - 福甲天下(火炭烧荔枝木烤鸭)
handmodel: foodinsing
delicious barbecued duck with sweet plum sauce

New year is also a time where the best meats are offered for dining when the whole family had gathered around. Fish is a must and at Restaurant HOME, there's Braised Green Wrasse with Roast Pork, Leek and Flower Mushrooms. Robust, homely flavours suitable for the young and old. Nice to drizzle the sauce onto white steamed rice.

Braised Green Wrasse with Roast Pork, Leek and Flower Mushrooms - 年年有余 (红烧蒜子火腩扒海青依)

By now, one would have lost count of the dishes that had arrived and been devoured by the table. Pork ribs and prawns were the fifth and sixth items. The duet of pork ribs has was sweet caramelized goodness where firm meat was lovingly encased in caramelized sweet sauce and sprinkled with tiny bits of untoasted sesame. The combo with greens is a good idea and kai lan was crunchy good.

Duet of Pork Ribs with Barbecued sauce and Stir-Fried Kai Lan with Preserved Meat - 心想事成 (烧汁排骨 拼腊肠芥兰)
Pan-fried King Prawn with Superior Soy Sauce - 喜哈大笑 (干煎明虾皇)
If I was at home, I would have licked the sauce off the prawn shells but alas, at HOME, it was still a public setting so settled to just coating the king prawn with those sauce as much as I could. The prawn flesh was firm and sweet. It was good. Fingers were kept clean as western cutlery (of knife and fork) was provided.

For the carbohydrate finale, which Chef Tan has a fondness of, is the Fragrant Rice with Dried Scallop and Preserved Meat wrapped in Lotus Leaf. This is an authentic Cantonese dish and it came out nicely dark and moist. The preserved meat is made in-house and unlike store bought, it had a rather fresh sweet taste as opposed to heavily seasoned ones.

Fragrant Rice with Dried Scallop and Preserved Meat wrapped in Lotus Leaf - 五谷丰收 (瑶柱腊味荷叶饭)

For dessert, we had the Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Ball in Longan Red Dates Tea. Sweet endings, and 发 ah!

Black Sesame Glutinous Rice Ball in Longan Red Dates Tea 

Thank you Hence for the invitation to the tasting, special thanks to Chef Tan and Restaurant HOME for hosting us.

The above were from the Prosperous Menu E 福星高照新春特备套餐, priced at $558+ for 8 pax or $688+ for 10 pax. For reservations, please call 6465 1698 or email:

Restairant HOME website:

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