Saturday, October 4, 2008

118. Tampopo

Jajang! I was at Tampopo for dinner just a moment ago. More and more Japanese eateries which offers food at a reasonable price are seen in Singapore after the next mega chain - Waraku. Tampopo and its sister restaurant, Tomton see each other in the clarke quay area. There is another Japanese restaurant, Tomyo, also at clarke quay, which I will be visiting soon.
I have been following reviews on Tampopo's berkshire pork (black pig) aka kurobuta but have not got the time to visit it until just then. As the dinner also served to be a birthday celebration for a best friend of mine, I decided not to take the risk of not making any reservations. I have seen many blogged on making reservations to avoid long queues. I was there at about 6.45pm and there was already a queue!

There are 2 different areas, second level is the conveyor belt area but the reserved table was at the first level without the conveyor belt.
When we were brought to the table, a few menus were given to us. The kurobuta was classified into the top grade and the normal grade. What's so special about the black pig other than being a black? Their meat was supposed to be tastier. They said it was the pork version of the wagyu beef.

Top grade loin cutlet @$21.80

And so...we ordered the top grade loin cutlet, ala-carte. I was quite anxious on making my orders as I have read of fellow food bloggers not able to get a bite of the top grade loin cutlet when it was just an hour from when the restaurant started serving. The meat was indeed tasty and juicy. If you observe the meat, it was pretty much like marbled pork which the fats have been melted away during the process of frying and thus, creating the gaps in the meat. I was slightly disappointed with the breaded crust. It was pretty oil-laden. I wonder if it was due to the crowd on a saturday night that fazed the chef or am I expecting too much?

Katsu curry @$18

I mentioned above that we were given a few menus when we were brought to our seats. It turned out that some of the items on the menus were repetitive. On 1 menu, it wrote special katsu curry and on the other, katsu curry, but they were both the same. Don't compare the katsu with the katsu (top grade loin cutlet) because they were from different parts of the black pig. The meat used in this katsu was less juicy, no marbling like in the top grade's. My friend asked what's the difference and I said this katsu was like the chicken breast and the top grade's from the chicken thigh.

Sauce fillet don @$17.30
I didn't taste this so shan't comment on it.

Hotate cheese @$12.80

The hotate cheese was quite good. A generous amount of onions formed the base. It wasn't too cheesy nor milky. Recommended to have it while it was still hot. When it was cooled, it didn't as good. The hotates were quite small.

Mini pig gyoza @$5.80

This was the most unpalatable dish of the night. Though it looked quite alright on the surface, I could taste the charred taste. The fillings contained of minced pork and it was more of fats. I didn't like it. Though the skin was thin, the texture was quite good, these didn't compensate for the greasy and charred taste.

Japan Hiyayako (Soft tofu) @$8

The soft tofu is a must-try! I fell in love with it instantly. Served cold. It was very much different from the tofu we bought from the market or supermarket. I tasted a tinge of sweetness. The tofu was silky smooth. It just melts away in your mouth. Just like the Japanese ladies always do...they go "Aww...amari desu. Oiishi desu." Very light and delicate, a very good starter to start with.

Shabu ramen @$13.80

The original taste. Tampopo said it's a must-try! because of their pork bone soup which was cooked for 2 days. Indeed, the soup base was good. Very rich and aromatic. Did my face tightened from consuming the collagen? Haha. Just kidding.

The pork was thinly sliced just like those we used for shabu shabu. I like the seasoned bamboo shoots they have used in the ramen. The noodles was tangy. It looked as if the ramen was very spicy but relax, it wasn't.

Add another $1.20 to your shabu shabu ramen to get the tasty egg. As its name suggests, it was really tasty. Must-try! I like the egg. The exterior looked as if it was hard but it was actually very soft. The interior was flabby shaking and the egg yolk oozed out so beautifully, taking its pace due to its density. The taste wasn't that of a braised egg though it looked like one. I could taste a tinge of sweetness in it.

Kyushu ramen @$13.30

The soup base of the kyushu ramen was like the shabu shabu ramen's without the chilli factor. I felt the soup base was quite alright but my friend who had this felt it was a tad too salty.

The total bill was $148 for 5 pax. It was a treat from a friend. Thanks to him! I think the prices were pretty reasonable. Service was quite prompt but when the crowd comes storming in, do not expect their service to be as detailed.

Tampopo is having this promotion, fresh Zuwai crabs imported directly from Japan, check out their website for more details.

177 River Valley Road#01-23/24
Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: 6338 3186

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