The Ramen Chronicles: Ramen Keisuke Lobster King, Menya Takeichi, Men Tei

The Good, the bad and the ugly. Let's break the rules and reverse order, shall we?

Starting with the relatively new Ramen Keisuke Lobster King located in party capital, The Cannery at Clarke Quay. Ramen Champion Chef Keisuke Takeda has fervently worked his ass off to open up 10 outlet joints in Singapore within a span of 6 years, each touting a different concept that veers away from the traditional ramen. The Clarke Quay outlet features a specially concocted Lobster broth ramen which draws inspiration from a certain French mannerism. 

But truth be told, how does the ramen measure up? 

Lobster stock ramen is available in four different styles - Lobster Broth Ramen with Clear Soup ($13.90), Lobster Broth Ramen with Rich Creamy Soup ($14.90), Miso Lobster Broth Ramen ($14.90) and Spicy Miso Lobster Broth Ramen ($15.90); each bowl boosted by the likes of not-so-tender pork belly, chicken char siew (which to me had the texture of unknown protein), black pepper prawn wantons (which unfortunately blanketed the most measly portion of filling I've ever seen), and crunchy bamboo shoots. Get in on the free hard-boiled egg situation or order a naked ramen garnished with two ajitsuke tamgo for maximum gratification.

Whether you're a ramen veteran or just starting to explore dishes beyond the normal tonkotso brothed ramen, Ramen Keisuke Lobster King's offerings may come across vehemently assertive on the palate. The clear soup option taking the cake, but its seemingly close resemblance to the local prawn mee soup upstaging its hefty price tag; especially so since the bowl contains zero lingering presence of lobster. Your next bet would be the Miso Lobster Broth version which entails a mix of three different miso paste to emulate that intense flavor. Avoid the Creamy Soup and Spicy Miso renditions at all cause,  the former beckoning you to ingest copious amount of water after just two mouthfuls whilst the latter, so pungently spicy seems to be on a covet mission to cover up the shortcomings of the broth as well as the toughness of the char siew.

My advice would be to dive into the appetizers before the onslaught of flavors unfold, ranging from traditional to fun - the Chicken Nanban with Homemade Tartar sauce ($9.80) gets my vote despite its seemingly strange presentation with the tartar sauce taking on a large chunky status that goes down splendidly with the hunks of golden brown chicken. Consisting of radish, hard-boiled egg, tartar sauce and their secret sauce, mashed together; it's the dream team you just wish you could spread on plain toast. 

Verdict: If you're faced with a speculated queue-time of an hour. Forgot it and hop on over to Tonkotsu Kazen Ramen in Liang Court to get your midnight fix.

Ramen Keisuke Lobster King
3C River Valley Road
The Cannery

Operating Hours:
Daily: 6pm - 5am

The next ramen joint to hit the news stands is Menya Takeichi, a restaurant lauded as Tokyo's top chicken ramen chain. Joining the bold dining concept of Eat at Seven in Suntec City, the 5th concept to be unveiled has giant shoes to fill. First step to enjoying the ramen offerings is to free your mind of the usual tonkotsu broth inhibitions; chicken soup unlike the porcine rendition has a more clear and milky flavor. Said branch achieving their immensely rich, collagen-laden broth by simmering fresh chicken and chicken feet for hours. 

For something on the lighter side, opt for the Shio Rich Ramen ($13) - slurp-worthy broth with a clear conscience, topped with grilled chicken slices, chicken meatballs, and ajitsuke tamago. Despite the former's unassuming nature and wow factor especially where expectations are concerned, the Special Rich Shoyu Ramen ($16.50) steals the show for me; it's distinct creaminess in the broth withholding a comforting connotation in its wake. Definitely befitting of the title 'Chicken Soup for the Soul' . Spicy devotees should give the Special Rich Spicy Ramen ($17.50) a crack, though I personally find the misuse of blended spices and chili oil a bit jarring in this case. 

If you're offered the option of diluting your broth with a side pitcher of clear soup, I would say no. The clear soup brewed using bonito flakes imparts a strange flavor that introduces rivalry to the essence of the chicken broth.

You might want to indulge in some appetizers - the delicious Potato Salad Nikumiso and Mentaiko ($7) looks deceptively simple but will have you stabbing your fork in continuum. Served in two towered forms, one of them is topped with miso spiced pork and a poached egg whilst the other is crowned with oodles of mentaiko and spring onion showers. I can't say which I like more but this provided an excellent prelude to the menu's heartier offerings.

Menya Takeichi
3 Temasek Boulevard
Suntec City Mall
t: 6235 3386

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11 30am - 3pm; 5 30pm - 10 30pm

I vividly recall that day; after a haze of sweet nothings and cakes galore, a party of go-getters were craving for a bowl of ramen. Led by the gregarious leader, The Silver Chef; we thread into CBD working class territory to visit his favourite joint, Men-Tei Ramen. The large amount of lauded praises translated as nimble footsteps under the beating sun as we traversed our way across the city. 

After settling into Men-Tei's unpretentious cool realms, orders were on a roll soon after the perusal of the short and simple menu. It wasn't long before we were letting off sighs of relief with our first spoonful of broth rolling off our tongues. It's easy to see why these dishes conjure up such fond reactions. It's broth, veraciously brewed from pork bones and other spices produces a flavorful broth sans the fat punches of pork fats floating to the top. The Signature Tonkotsu Ramen ($14.50) Topped with their signature yakibuta (grilled pork) and famous molten tamago, the ramen is guaranteed to evoke feelings of ease. 

My loyalties still lie with the Shio Ramen ($14.50) version - the broth, a complete separate issue from the former, comprising of chicken bones, smoked fish and a wide array of seafood - the result, a robust and deeply satisfying broth which I proceeded to slurp down with no reservation. I much preferred the thickness of the noodles in this as well, the density and curly texture allowing for the broth to adhere to every strand.

If you're a city mouse and want a taste of the forbidden fruit during lunch hour without sacrificing too much of your weekend funds - Men-tei fits the bill perfectly.

Men-Tei Ramen
61 Robinson Road
t:6483 4140

Operating Hours:
Mon - Fri: 11am - 3pm

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