When we were invited for this review of ramen chain Ramen Santouka, little did I know it was actually a preview prior to the opening day of Tokyo Street on Level 6 of Pavilion KL. When Capt'n Hook and I arrived at 6.15pm, there was an entourage of people leaving the stage area on Level 6. Not knowing what's happening, both of us just followed the crowd in while I call FatBoyBakes who forwarded us the invite. The next thing I know, the security guards closed up the temporary gates to Toyko Street. Hmmm... but we wandered in further :p letting the crowd in front of us leading the way.
I looked around and saw the Pavilion's management staffs whom I recognised from the print medias. The next thing I know, apparently the Japan's Ambassador to Malaysia was there to officiate Tokyo Street! Whoa but not all the shops were ready and opened though. Anyway, we took a look round the area and was impressed with the number of Japanese restaurants and a few stalls selling snacks. Some of the smaller lots are selling Japanese crockery. Then there's a Daiso towards the back but it wasn't open yet, so was the Japanese mart.
It was only after the look-see, we both went to scout out David at Ramen Santouka. We were then introduced to Julian and Inggrid. Next we were led into the restaurant. Inggrid informed us that we will be served based on a selected menu of ramen and side dishes. The other dishes will only be available after the official opening. Sounds promising already when I scan through the menu card. While we were waiting for the rest to turn up, we browsed the actual menu that have some pictorial guide on top of some mock dishes shown up front of the restaurant.
Our server suggested that we order our choice of ramen and all the rest of the side dishes showcased will be served to us. Sounds great already. As our noodles arrived, the rest of the food bloggers arrived and started ordering their ramen.
For pork based ramen, the soups are made by simmering pork bones for 20 hours before adding vegetables, dried fish, kelp and etc. The colour of the soups are milky which indicates long hours of simmering of bones. If you're not into pork, don't fret as they have chicken versions and they do not contain pork at all. The soup served here are not boiling hot and is maintained at a certain temperature so that one can enjoy the noodles without scalding themselves.
For pork based ramen, there are 4 flavours of soup available ie. Shio (salt flavour), Shoyu (soy sauce flavour), Miso (soy bean paste flavour) and Kara Miso (hot soy bean paste flavour). The ramen comes in 3 different sizes - small, regular and large.
Marion Eu, Capt'n Hook and I tried each other's soup base. All of us decided the Shio and Shoyu came out tops. The soups were a tad too salty but we gave our feedback on this and hopefully it has been rectified. The ramen have a bouncy texture but do eat up quickly before they turn soft in the hot soup.
Everyone loved the signature Shio Ramen (S RM22.50, R RM25, L RM29). The small bowl came with a thick slice of char-shu, sliced bamboo shoots, seaweed, a slice of naruto (fish cake) and shredded spring onions plus a pickled plum. I can clearly taste the robust flavour of the soup base.
The Shoyu Ramen (S RM22.50, R RM25, L RM29) is another clear winner. This was Capt'n Hook's fave. The soup is made from a mixture of pork and soy sauce. The accompanying condiments were similar to Shio Ramen with the exception of the dried seaweed is used instead and there is no pickled plum.
Miso Ramen (S RM22.50, R RM25, L RM29) soup is made with the addition of miso paste. This was the saltiest of the lot but as we dig in, the saltiness just went melded in. The condiments are exactly the same as Shio Ramen except that there's no pickled plum.
Kara Miso Ramen is the only hot flavoured soup amongst all. The price is RM2 more. I did not get to taste this so no comments at the moment. Perhaps can check out Cumi Dan Ciki since they shared one.
The sliced cha-shu in all pork based ramen is simmered in soy sauce which is so tender and delicious. It was really a pity that we only get one slice in the small portion. It was that good that FatBoyBakes kept lamenting why there is only ONE slice served when it was sooo good. Inggrid mentioned that for small portion, one sliced is served, 2 slices for regular and 3 slices for large!
As for the sides, it's slightly unusual to have Caesar Salad in a Japanese restaurant. Santouka's version has a coddled egg on a bed of lettuces, crispy croutons, parmesan cheese with creamy dressing drizzled over.
We loved the Komi Tamago (soy boiled egg)!!! It came whole like hard boiled egg but the yolk is still a bit runny. Can taste the soy sauce coating the egg beautifully.
Tori Karaage (deep fried chicken) came looking a bit dark to me. Looks kinda over fried but the 3 pieces of chicken are still juicy and the skin... oh so crispy.
Then we have Tori Gyoza (chicken dumplings or pot stickers). The sizes are rather largish as compared to other Japanese places and they served the pan-fried side up instead. The minced chicken is loosely packed and as compared to Chinese dumplings, can taste the garlic flavour in the fillings here.
Okie, I'm saving the best for last... the Tokusen Toroniku which is pork cheek simmered in soy sauce. As each pig has only 2 cheeks, hence this meat is rather rare. So each day, there's only a certain amount available! David explained that the raw cheeks are perfectly marbled hence these cheek slices are really very tender, almost melt in the mouth texture. To me, this is a must order definitely!
Other than as a side dish, one could actually have them in ramen but the cheeks will be served separately and not inside the noodles. Tokusen Toroniku Ramen is priced at S RM33.50, R RM36 and L RM40. I can just tell, it's really worth it.
These were the items served to us and from the menu, they do have chicken soup based ramen, rice dishes and some sets which some have great combination of rice and ramen ;-) I can see the menu is very friendly for our BoiBoi. Will definitely bring him here soon.
Hopefully by now, a week after our tasting session, things would be running smoothy and most importantly the soup has been fine tuned.
Thanks so much to David, Julian and Inggrid, and of course FatBoysBake for the invite.
I know, I still haven't posted up the theme for this year's Merdeka Open House as I was still deciding which to go for. So give me a day or two to finalise the theme and we'll be good to go. I will try to publise on The Star to get in more participants :D
Tokyo Street, Level 6 Pavilion KL
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Opening hours: 11:00am - 10:00pm