When I crave for Japanese food, I think of sushi or a piping hot bowl of pork-broth ramen. Although one may not associate duck with Japanese cuisine, Japanese “Ramen King” Keisuke Takeda may just change your mind.
Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke, that recently opened, brings the marriage of Japanese cuisine and duck to its customers with two variations duck broth -- spicy miso, tsukemen (dipping noodles) -- along with a mazesoba (dry ramen) variation.
Upon stepping into Kamo Soba Keisuke, I immediately felt at home with its cosy traditional Japanese chashitsu (tea houses) concept. Despite the fact that it may not accommodate a large number of customers at once, its ambiance brings your dining experience to another level. One who is familiar with the hustle and bustle of Holland Village would never imagine such a quaint restaurant nestled on the second level of a shophouse unit.
The first item I had on their menu was the Hybrid Clear Duck Ramen ($14.90 for regular; $16.90 with flavoured egg; $19.90 for special). At first bite, I could taste the distinct flavour of the duck that gave this bowl of ramen a different experience for me as I was expecting the usual rich pork broth. I think the duck meatballs was the item that left the biggest impact on my tastebuds as I could not associate it with anything I have eaten before. The duck meatballs had were tender and gave this “oaky” aftertaste.
The Hybrid Duck Broth Ramen ($14.90 for regular; $16.90 with flavoured egg; $19.90 for special) was created for those who prefer a more intensified version. I personally preferred the thick broth as I found it less salty compared to the clear broth, this was probably due to the herbs and duck bones which were added to the stock and then simmered. Do not worry, as the herbs won't leave you an overpowering taste.
Next I had the Hybrid Duck Tsukemen ($14.90 for regular; $16.90 with flavoured egg; $19.90 for special) which refers to the dipping noodles. The rich dipping sauces screams an “umami” after taste due to the strong presence of the bonito flakes. I highly recommend this ramen for those who would enjoy tantalising your fifth taste sense.
My favourite and the most aesthetically pleasing bowl of ramen was the Hybrid Duck Maze Soba ($14.90). Topped with a deep-fried egg wrapped in seaweed and served with Keisuke’s special shoyu-based sauce, I finished this tasty bowl of dry noodles in no time. Contrary to what I expected, the seaweed egg was so easy to chew. Although this bowl of ramen does not come with a side of broth, I found it just as tasty as the previous three. Just as I thought it was tasty on its own, when I added the orange-vinegar, it changed the whole taste of the dish and I loved it just as much.
For you rice lovers out there, you have not been left out. Rice fans are able to enjoy a rice bento topped with their signature steamed duck by ordering the Kamo Ju ($29.90). Do not be fooled by the 10 pieces of duck with a side of Japanese pickles and miso soup, this dish is more filling than it looks. The rice in the bento is tasty enough to be eaten on its own and when complemented with the fatty slices of duck, it was the perfect balance that helped cut out the “fatty-guilty” aftertaste.
While you are dining at one of Keisuke’s restaurants, be sure to try their wasabi ginger ale. It perfect for ginger ale lovers who do not mind a slight tinge up their noses after.
As the name “Keisuke” have been associated with long queues and hyped creations over the past few years, I am confident Ginza Kamo Soba Kyudaime Keisuke will not disappoint you!