What’s next for a Japanese dining outlet that has already earned the title of “world’s first Michelin-starred ramen”? A menu revamp, of course. We say that in jest. See, while it may be unexpected for a restaurant to overhaul its beloved recipes, Tsuta has gone the unconventional route — they have recently launched a refreshed menu of over 80% new items, even improved recipes on their signature classics of the Shoyu Soba and Shio Soba.
Top of the list of must-try items is, of course, the Crab Soba, which happens to be a first-of-its-kind at Tsuta. All this points to Chef Yuki Onishi’s pursuit of perfection, alongside the commitment that every bowl of ramen is made with natural ingredients, free of MSG and artificial flavourings. Read on for our take on the new food offerings.
New Menu Items
You have to try this — and we mean it, especially if you’re a fan of seafood ramen broths. Tsuta’s first Crab Soba with Premium Char Shu & Crab Shell ($23.80) includes a crab carapace filled with Japanese snow crab meat, lightly seasoned and flame-torched, alongside Iberico pork belly, Kurobuta pork loin, and a seafood broth that’s been boiled with fresh mud crabs.
Our thoughts: it had that dense umami that we love about anything seafood and soup, akin to a seafood bisque, but much lighter and fragrant. Very appetising. Try the soup on its own first for an unadulterated flavour, before mixing everything together. You’ll then notice a more balanced broth that’s slightly sweeter, making every slurp of noodles much more satisfying. It’s also worthy to point out that no peeling of the crab is required — good to know for lazy eaters (like me).
Additionally, you can opt without the crab carapace as well: order the Crab Soba with Char Siu ($16.80), or the slightly more premium Crab Soba with Premium Char Siu ($19.80).
While I didn’t get to try this at the tasting, one fun fact stood out to me when hearing about Chef Yuki’s new dish: it’s named after ‘Red Hot Chilli Peppers’, his favourite band. Here, the traditional Mazesoba of thick chewy noodles is served hamburg-style, with house-made tomato sauce and generous minced beef topped with a cheese sauce, making this quite a comfort-food choice.
Chef Yuki has also put forward some of his interpretations of Chinese dishes, done in more Japanese styles, including this Soboro Meshi ($6), dubbed the “mala lu rou fan“. Similar to the original dish, rice is topped with juicy minced pork, though this time on Japanese rice and garnished with crushed peanuts. What makes this dish extra-special is the accompanying mala sauce, made in-house. We were told that some of it was already pre-mixed, but all of us at the table agreed that we’d happily pour more over our rice and meat — this ensured a savoury spicy hit that blended well with the meat. Could be more spicy though, but we’re not complaining.
teriyaki chicken bao
The iconic kong bak pau is now combined with a hearty teriyaki chicken thigh for optimal flavour, and we don’t mind this rather refreshing take on the appetiser. The house-made mayonnaise is noticeable but not overwhelming, so it allows the chicken and the teriyaki sauce blend to come through. Special mention of the bun too, which managed to stay soft and fluffy even when left out for a while. You could finish this in two bites, and you’d want to too.
On top of the new menu additions, Chef Yuki has also decided to debut new-and-improved recipes of his signature ramen, all in a bid to introduce even more flavour to these classics. Most impressive is the Shoyu Soba with Char Siu ($16). While already with a full-bodied broth that we know is made from a custom shoyu brew from Wakayama Prefecture, a white shoyu sauce, and Tsuta’s own dashi made from both seafood and chicken, here, we get an extra dash of balsamic black truffle sauce. You can smell this when the bowl’s served to your table, and that significant addition opened up the palate, adding more richness to the broth while also more clarity to the other flavours.
Elsewhere, the new Shio Soba with Char Siu ($16), made with a blend of seafood broths, now comes with the addition of fragrant white truffle oil as well, while the creamy Teriyaki Tori Paitan Soba ($11.80) is an innovative seasonal favourite that’s been added to the permanent menu. Whether you’re new to the restaurant, or a returning customer, it looks like we all have to head down again for our next ramen fix.
Tsuta Singapore, outlets at Funan Mall, VivoCity, and Jewel Changi Airport. tsuta.com