春, 夏, 秋, 冬 ~ Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter... Which season of Ramen is your favourite?
Ramen King Keisuke Takeda is back with his fourth ramen-ya in Singapore ~ Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons! Living up to his reputation of a food revolutionist, the winner of the prestigious 2011 Ramen Champion Series' latest ramen concept at Bugis Village is inspired by the picturesque four seasons in Japan. The distinct characteristics of each season is captured and embodied in five unique ramen offerings!
I knew I was in for an atmospheric dining experience the moment I stepped into the ramen-ya on its opening day on 10 May. The space is cleverly divided into four sections, each depicting a season completed with decorations and beautiful murals handpainted directly onto the wall by the artist without any draft or outline! Strands of Japanese traditional instrumental music accompanied us softly in the background as we dine, injected with bursts of いっらしゃいませ! (welcome!) whenever new diners walked in.
Customizing our ramen to our individual tastebud is made easy by indicating our preference of toppings, soup intensity, oil amount, noodle texture on this order form. For the authentic Japan taste, go for "Normal". We also get to grind the sesame ourselves for added fragrance to our bowl of ramen.
After the chicken broth ramen for its 3rd branch Tori King, Chef Keisuke's focus is back on his winning pork broth for all the ramen at Four Seasons. Preparation of the broth starts a day prior by simmering the pork bones on high heat for 11 hours to extract all of its flavour, fats and collagen, resulting in a strong full-bodied creamy tastiness. The thickness of the ramen noodles served is specially designed to complement this superb tonkotsu broth.
Together with DanielFoodDiary and Moonberry, this PinkyPiggu is blessed with a tasting session of Chef Keisuke's thematic creations. いただきます!!
春 SPRINGThe Tonkotsu Spring Ramen ($11.90~$15.90), sprinkled with toppings of basil and parmesan cheese, is presented in cherry blossoms bowls, combining the bright colors of pink and green to enact the lovely season of Hanami as Sakura make a dramatic sweep across Japan. The pairing of cheese and ramen came forth as interesting yet somewhat familar, with an aromatic taste not unlike a creamy pasta dish. My attention was definitely grabbed at the first mouthful, but it proved to be too heavy towards the end for me to fully appreciate the whole experience.
夏 SUMMERTo reflect the hot and humid summer times of Japan, the bowl of Tonkotsu Summer Ramen ($13.90~$17.90) is nothing short of temperature rising. Seemingly mild initially, the special blend of Japanese shichimi, Sichuan pepper and Cayenne pepper culminated to a fiery end which is addictively shiok! The minced pork went brilliantly with the spicy concoction, evoking an exploding sensation of fireworks on my tastebud. Hanabi! Matsuri! The hot passionate summer is here! This hit the runner-up spot as my favourite season in a bowl.
秋 AUTUMNThe Tonkotsu Autumn Ramen ($12.90~$16.90) is a celebration of the season of harvest in Japan where mushrooms are in abundance! The medley of mixed mushrooms and minced pork is flavoured generously with bonito flakes, reverberating strong notes of umami-ness which made me want to slurp up an entire bowl on my own. Simply D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! My favourite of all seasons, I'm craving for it as I write this. 最高の味!! おいしい!!!
冬 WINTERThe cold snowy winter of Japan calls for a comforting piping hot bowl of Tonkotsu Winter Ramen ($10.90~$14.90). Tummy warming with the focus simply on the rich, robust taste of the traditional pork broth, tender charshu, crunchy black fungus and flavoured egg, this would be for you who seek the taste closest to the branch at Orchid Hotel.
We did not try the Tonkotsu King Ramen ($13.90~$17.90) which is topped with stir-fried pork and ginger, a common Japanese home dish which is known as Shogayaki. Though it may not reflect any particular season in Japan, I would imagine it to be reminiscent of home-cooked goodness by okasan with love, a love which is around for all seasons. I will go straight for this during my return visit. Will this be the King of all seasons? Watch this space for updates soon.
All the ramen are served in these exquisite Arita porcelain bowls, specially designed for Four Seasons. I utterly adored the 春 Spring bowl, and will try to win one of it by participating in Ramen Keisuke's creative photo contest before 10 June. Who knows, You or I might even win the pair of air ticket to Tokyo or dining vouchers! Competition is welcome lol. Do check out their Facebook page for more details.
Oh, and do tell the service staff that you have seen their Facebook page when placing your order. For each bowl of ramen, you get this bottle of Tonkotsu King Japanese Green Tea Cola ($3.80) for free! A refreshing drink which tastes like a carbonated version of green tea, it's much lighter and not as sweet. Promotion ends 31 May.
Kudos to Chef Keisuke for yet another innovative dining concept.
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons is a definite must-visit for all the ramen lovers out there!
Many thanks to Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Season for hosting us. ごちそうさまでした!
Ramen Keisuke Tonkotsu King Four Seasons
Address: 158 Rochor Road, Bugis Village (between KFC & MacDonalds), Singapore 188433
Contact: +65 63335740
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30pm & 5pm-10.30 pm / Sat, Sun & Public Holidays 11.30am-10.30 pm
*Please note that they may close earlier if their soup base runs out.