I answered: Ramen.
Two years since hearing that declaration, I stepped inside the Japanese restaurant just prior to the Sunday evening rush.
Our arrival was well received with an unanimous round of greetings from the staff. Seated quickly, we noticed that we had arrived just in time: a lineup had begun to form immediately. No introductions were made, nor were recommendations put forth. We were simply left three laminated menus to evaluate and decipher, earning anxious, beady stares from one particular server every so often. Eyes like darts, it would've taken someone with a impressive amount of ignorance to evade his expression that clearly read "Hurry up and order so we can turn over the table.". Quite frankly, I wasn't impressed with his attitude.
Submerged in a creamy, tan-hued broth was a generous bundle of semi-firm, springy ramen noodles that far surpassed Kenzo and, dare I say, Hakata as well. The broth was silk smooth, but far from greasy; it was flavourful and comforting, but void of the sickeningly rich aftertaste from Kinton.
Toppings consisted of bamboo shoots, a Naruto fishcake, black fungus strips, scallions, a tiny umeboshi, and several slices of toroniku. A proclaimed favourite of the restaurant, the toroniku slices did not disappoint whatsoever! Carefully weaved between each slice were thin layers of fat and luscious meat - it was porky rendition of Wagyu!
This time, topping components included bamboo shoots, a Naruto fishcake, dried nori, scallions, and several slices of toroniku. While equally addicting as the previous ramen order, the toroniku differed slightly in that it bore a saltier taste. We presumed this to be intentionally done such that the slices would complement the lighter, shoyu-based broth.
I have faith that the above aspects can be rectified with time and effort. Until then, I will still be more than willing to drop by for hearty bowls of delectable ramen. (Toroniku is now a family fave!)
The small shop had been packed upon our arrival, but the lineup was brief. The cashier was also more than happy to attend to our questions and requests, providing a concise introduction of their selection to us first-timers.
View the full album HERE !
Of course, this does not mean that the ice cream cups weren't deserving of applause. Earl Grey was impossibly airy and refreshing, but the Fugo Cone unfortunately erred on the soggy side - a case inevitable for pre-made waffle items. Bangkok Brownie tasted great, especially since I had steered clear of the dense brownie bites originally included in the recipe. After a filling dinner, the last thing I would want is to ingest dense bits of chocolate and egg. My sole complaint would, once again, be the weakness of the flavours.
Pictured below is Cookie Monster, another popular creation where sky blue-toned Cookies 'n' Cream hard ice cream is envelope in an Oreo Fugo Cone before finally being topped with several mini chocolate chip cookies. (I must confess: I ended up sneaking in a few shots as the lady was snapping her own photo. Permission had been obtained beforehand though!)