THE quest for a perfect bowl of ramen led me to Ippudo Restaurant at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
But before I get down to the details, let me wish my friend Eiji Takagi bon voyage and a safe journey back to Tokyo, Japan.
Eiji-san is the one who told me about Ippudo.
“Samo-san, you must give this place a try, it is very good,” he said.
The fact that I saw a short newsreel about this restaurant on the BBC news channel further convinced me to give it a try.
It is said the restaurant is world-famous and under the helm of “Ramen King” Shigemi Kawara (who won three titles from Japanese TV reality show called Ramen Chef) from the Hakata prefecture in Japan.
Ippudo opened in 1985 and has 65 branches across Japan.
It now has branches in the US, Australia, China and South-East Asia.
Knowing all this, I made it a point to visit the place and sample its food.
My benchmark for a good bowl of ramen is Menya Musashi in 1Utama shopping mall in Petaling Jaya.
Locating the restaurant was easy as there are signboards at the posh shopping centre where it is located.
It is on Level 4 and as soon as I made my entrance, I was ushered to the bar counter.
In Japan, it is the norm for customers to go in, order their meals and get it over and done with.
Cityfolk tend to spend more time enjoying their food.
On the menu, there are three main choices for ramen: Shiromaru Motoaji, Akamaru Shinaji and the Spicy Karaka-men.
My choice was the Akamaru “special” (RM36) that comes with the restaurant’s signature flavoured egg, pork belly and seaweed.
And as far as taste is concerned, I would give the dish a 9 out of 10 on the Samo-scale.
The soup was excellent although I found the noodles a bit thin for my liking.
Service was prompt as my order came in less than 10 minutes and I must say the staff are the friendliest lot I have come across.
I must also add that the Japanese green tea, available as a side-order, is excellent.
I was given a whole pot and I truly enjoyed the hot beverage and the makan experience at this high-end ramen joint.
Ippudo opens daily from 11am to 11pm and for more information, log on to http://www.ippudo.com.my