The Place After popular Japanese brands like Tenya and Flipper’s opened in Orchard Road recently, Menbaka Fire Ramen from Kyoto will be opening its first overseas outlet in Singapore on 24 November at Cineleisure Orchard. Menbaka is the inventor of Kyoto’s famous fire ramen and with only one outlet in Japan, this also makes Singapore its second outlet in the world. The brand was opened in 1984 by ramen master Masamichi Miyazawa, and it has remained as Japan’s Number One Fire Ramen.
The Cineleisure outlet is located on level 5 of the mall at a corner space with ample natural light in the day. The seating layout is a mix of counter seats and tables, where guests get to experience the theatrical ramen preparation at the counter seat right in front of the kitchen, before they return to their tables. This is to allow every diner to get the chance to experience that fire moment.
From 27 to 29 November, there is a 1-for-1 Fire Ramen promotion.
The Food The highlight of the dining experience here is is the up close encounter with fire. I usually dismiss such theatrical display as gimmicky, but I understand that the purpose of the fire is to impart the negi oil to its signature green onion broth, which also lends the broth a smoky flavour.
Is this safe? Well, it is fairly safe I would say as the chefs are experienced and know what they are doing. As a safety precaution, the staff will show some basic instructions of what to do and not to do, such as placing your hands behind your back during the instance where they are about to pour the flame over the bowl.
The signature ramen here is the Shoyu Fire Ramen (S$17.90), also the signature flavour in Kyoto and the Singapore outlet uses the same Shoyu as Kyoto, specially imported form Hyogo’s 220 years old shoyu factory. I enjoy this ramen, as the broth is rich from the mix of chicken, mackerel and bonito with a strong smoky flavour.
My other favourite is the Vegetarian Fire Ramen (S$16.90), where the broth is surprisingly flavourful and slightly salty.
A flavour exclusive to Singapore is the Tonkotsu Fire Ramen (S$18.90), my least favourite of the ramen I tried. The Tonkotsu broth is rather one-dimensional and pales in comparison to other famous Tonkotsu ramen in my mind like Ichiran or Ippudo.
For sides, there are options like the Crispy Charcoal Karaage Salad (S$14.90 served with yuzu dressing, or go for the Kyoto Menbaka Fried Rice (S$9.90) which is quite good.
Drink options include a couple of matcha ones like Kyoto Matcha Beer (S$12) or Matcha Latte (S$7.90/hot) prepared using matcha powder from Uji. Desserts include simply Kyoto Matcha Ice Cream (S$9.90) and Japan Sweet Sake Milk Ice Cream (S$10.90).
Rants No reservations accepted for now as I understand. The heat from the fire can be quite hot for that split seconds, and it took me awhile to cool myself down.
Will I Return Again? It is exciting to have Menbaka Fire Ramen in Singapore. Singaporeans love ramen in general, and this is a good addition to the ramen scene. I do enjoy the ramen here, and hopefully the opening of Menbaka will also bring a new lease of life to the relatively dead Cineleisure Orchard.
This was an invited tasting, though all opinions expressed are our own.
Taste bud: 3.5/5
Hole in the pocket: 3/5
Overall Experience: 4/5
Menbaka Fire Ramen
8 Grange Road, Cineleisure Orchard
Tel: + 65 9459 9926
Monday to Sunday: 12pm to 9pm
Ranted by The Ranter