Created on Friday, 11 June 2010 07:47
Written by Elaine
Japanese restaurant Tampopo, which means dandelion in the native language, is famous for its extensive value-for-money menu of Hokkaido Ramen, Kyushuu Ramen and variations of its Black Pig Tonkatsu. THE FOOD:
First came the Salmon Salad ($8.90) which had crisp summer greens doused with a sweet vinaigrette sauce and topped with fresh salmon. Definitely a great way to whet your appetite before the start of a big meal.
Next, what else would we order but for Tampopo's famed Shabu Shabu Ramen—Kyushu Ramen in pork-bone soup supposedly boiled over two days—and their Kurobuta (black pig), which is known for its sweet meat marbling? And so we did. The Black Pig Mini Shabu Set ($21.80), which took almost an hour to arrive, was gone within minutes. The slightly spicy set came generously sprinkled with spring onion and filled to the brim with noodles.
But while there were no complaints about the fat-rich pork or the thick broth accompanied with crunchy bamboo shoots, the noodles were rather disappointingly not springy. We also felt extremely thirsty after drinking much of the soup and immediately suspect MSG though that did not stop us from finishing up the flavourful broth.
For Kurobuto lovers, do try the Black Pork Fried Rice ($10.80)—it is sure to satisfy your craving for the much-coveted meat, or the Cheese Katsu set, a Japanese version of the Cordon Bleu. Find cheese oozing out of the tender pork, which comes well-coated in crumbs. The Western-inspired Katsu also comes accompanied with a wrench of lemon and a dollop of mustard.
With an additional $4, diners can complete their meal with rice and a side of a salad and a miso soup. But for us girls, the portions served at Tampopo were so filling that we unwillingly skipped the pretty desserts sadly staring back at us behind the display glass. THE MOOD:
Despite opening a second branch in Orchard, business at the original branch at Liang Court is extremely brisk. At lunchtime on a weekday, we had to wait for about half hour before we were seated and pretty much another hour before food was served. However, upon entering the restaurant we were puzzled by some empty seats around us. The lunch crowd probably cleared out by the time we were seated and, after much agony, served.
The service was generally okay considering the crowd. However, we were somewhat disturbed by the number of Chinese servers in this Japanese restaurant. It was as if we were eating in a la mian (Chinese noodles) joint instead. Then again, ramen is disputed to have came from China before evolving to its Japanese variants...
On average, each of us spent less than $20 for an extremely filling meal. While its ramen might not be the best in Singapore, Tampopo's dishes are definitely value for money; we will be back for the desserts as well. Tampopo
Liang Court Shopping Centre
177A River Valley Road
(65) 6338 3186Opening hours
Mon-Sun: 11.30am-10.00pmRelated link: Tampopo website