Nantsuttei Ramen at Millenia Walk

Written by Mu Yao, 21st June 2012

Over the past 2 years, I've always headed to Nantsuttei for my helping of hearty, authentic, Japanese ramen. To be honest, I'm not a big fan of Japanese cuisine in general (it just so happens that my friends are pretty fond of this cuisine) but I appreciate the awesome feeling of having a warm, nourishing bowl of noodles down your tummy anytime. It's just, something homely, you know?

As one would probably expect from well-recognized/accoladed ramen places like this, there was a queue when me and my dining partner, N, went there for lunch. Okay, it was a weekday lunch hour, but at the usually very sparsely populated Millenia Walk, I have to say that it does draw crowds for 3 reasons: 

1. That Singaporeans LOVE their ramen. 
2. Singaporeans love to go to a food place when they see a queue. 
3. This place is pretty popular amongst food blogs. 

Then again, personally I feel that restaurants that have queues are good and worth checking out the hype, but once they branch out to more than one outlet, usually that's where things start getting messy and the food quality drops. The dining experience there becomes less authentic, more commercial and well, the food quality drops while the prices go up. Many have fallen into that traphole - Marutama Ramen, for example. It's a hard act to balance. So am I relieved to hear that it's still the humble one-store ramen bar for this place, which makes me want to review this, 1.5 years late. 

Well, the experience is pretty no-frills - like an authentic Japanese ramen bar, with the open kitchen concept and polite but efficient Japanese service staff rushing around barking orders in Japanese. There's a sense of urgency and professionalism in what they do here - making these humble noodles with all their heart and soul, with the dedication conviction to culinary satisfaction that is being enforced as they are being whipped into shape. There, see - authentic. 

Both N and I had the Chasu Ramen ($16), and weren't too disappointed. Like many fellow Singaporeans, I personally prefer the rich, hearty taste of the rich tonkotsu broth, unlike its clear savoury counterparts - the shoyu, shio and miso variants. I've tried the shoyu variant from marutama though, and I must say I prefer this broth, although some would disagree with me and say that it gets kind of "gelak" (sian) after awhile. 

The chasu has a kind of texture that is exceedingly tender, and most importantly, not lined with fat (okay, a little). It tastes rich and savoury, and has none of that game-y flavour that sometimes is associated with pork. Nantsuttei claim they use "all-natural pork" (whatever that means lah), but so as long as it tastes good, I don't really care. Brilliant. 

I like the noodles too - here, they are more QQ (bouncy) than the one I had at Marutama yesterday night, and chewy without that ugly alkali taste. (Then again, it probably soaked up the rich savoury broth, that's why) Topped with chives, spring onions and a copious amount of beansprouts, the overall taste is one that is balanced nicely, because the tonkotsu doesn't seek to overwhelm your tastebuds. 

As for the Tamago, I'll just say it's okay to order if you INSIST, but it's not personally recommended - Marutama has the more flavourful one, more well-hyped (and priced) for that same reason. 

Leaving this place with a warm tummy and a happy face, and I suspect that they'll be more to come. 

Nantsuttei Ramen

9 Raffles Boulevard, 
Millenia Walk, PARCO,

Open: 11.30AM-10.30PM Daily
Tel: +65 6337 7166


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