Recommended by blog reader Val, I’ve managed to drop by Ippudo Tao @ UE Square just before I go for a good dessert at Laurent’s. Even though the interior design can’t be compared to that of Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery, it still, has some high standards and attention to detail. Just look at the signboard planted just outside of the outlet. So striking yet sleek. I love it when the ambience, decor and overall comfort level is there when I dine in a restaurant. Point is, it’s for your best interest if you do a good research on the location (and how to get there) before you head there. I did mine, but still took some time to reach the restaurant. It’s stated that it’s at UE Square, but it’s not in the main building of the mall, but across, behind this private apartments or something, up to Muhammad Sultan Road, then turn left (easiest would be to walk along River Valley Road and then turn into Muhammad Sultan Road).
Chashu Menma with Leek ($5.00++) :: It’s pork belly chunks and Japanese bamboo with leek. I’m a huge fan of pork belly, in any forms. lol. So I was automatically swayed to checking that on the menu. No worries on the leek. For me, I’m not a fan of vegetables in general, but the leek doesn’t really have too much of a foul taste in this dish, so it was all good. The combination of the three ingredients, on top of the ponzu dressing (basically some soy sauce + lemon or the likes) goes well for me.
Ebi & Avocado Wasabi Mayo ($5.00++) :: Unlike the previous dish, the name of this speaks for itself. I thought it was a rather interesting mixture of ingredients, and reminds me a lot of Salmon Avocado Sushi @ Ichiban. How do I put this – it’s easy to eat, it’s all mayo-filled and soft. Not very satisfying kind of a dish, although it isn’t that it isn’t nice, maybe because there isn’t any tough meat involved. Everything in this translucent plate is soft and you just eat and chew and swallow, nothing special nor memorable.
Buffalo Chicken ($14.00++) :: This gold-made (hah, exaggerating) buffalo chicken is a little on the pricey side. If I didn’t remember wrongly, the small one only has 3 pieces, and the large one 6 pieces, like the one we ordered -points up-. It has both the winglets and the drumlets, probably why they didn’t call it, like commonly named, Buffalo Wings. lol. It’s both mildly peppery spicy and sweet, both of which I enjoy much. Although so, I’m unsure of if I’ll be ordering that again on my next visit as I don’t think that it’s worth the money, as much as it tastes good.
Enoki Maki ($3.80++) :: Hands down, this is the champion of the night. Pork belly wrapped with enoki mushroom (also known as golden needle mushroom – the ones you throw into steamboats / boiling hot soups). Oh- my god. It’s orgasmic when you eat it while it’s warm. Especially so if you’re a fan of pork belly. AND enoki mushroom. There is no doubt that the next time I’m there, I’ll order this and have the whole plate to myself (1 sticks of 3 pieces – we ordered 2 of it, so the picture shows twice the quantity). Yes, I’m going to turn selfish with the dish (:
Nikumiso Tofu Salad ($7.00++) :: The tofu is as soft as, tofu. Uncooked tofu, ultra tender. It’s supposed to be topped with spicy miso paste, but it really isn’t spicy, or at least for me. But then again, when are Japanese food spicy Except with the presence of wasabi, lol. Then it becomes choking. It was a so-so average bowl of salad for me, nothing special. A memorable salad (presentation + taste) would be the one at 15 Minutes @ LASALLE College of the Arts.
Tao Kuro Chashu ($18.00++) :: Wanting to experience the ‘spirited dynamism of TAO’, or in actual fact, because of Val’s recommendation to give Tao Kuro a shot, I went for it, with Chashu (pork belly – see I tell you, it’s attracted to me) as the topping. It actually comes with thick chewy noodles, but again, I changed it to the thin ones thanks to Val. Note the word thanks, because I saw a bowl my friend ordered with the thick noodles and I knew at first sight that the thick ones aren’t for me. I was grateful I changed mine and thus moving on to enjoy slurping through it. One thing though, I really have no idea if ramen is meant to be that salty. It supposedly is, because a close friend of mine said that the ones in Japan are far worse. I guess they’ve already toned it down for Singaporeans’ palate. I can’t imagine getting anything saltier down my throat. But other than that, I quite enjoyed the ramen!
Teriyaki Salmon with Leek ($10.00++) :: I want to put it across first – I didn’t actually try this dish. But my friend almost went crazy with the small portion that was presented in front of her eyes. This is actually one of the Chef’s Recommendation. It didn’t state if it’s a main course or a side, but she ordered it with the thought that it’s the former, thus wasn’t really pleased. Just in case you intend to order this when you get there – at least now you get to see the portion of it. But I thought, 10 bucks for salmon is not as bad if it actually tastes good.
Definitely a spot-on recommendation by Val – thank you once again! You’re right, if you like Ippudo @ Mandarin Gallery, you’d like Ippudo Tao @ UE Square. The service staff was way too polite (or at least the ones we encountered) it’d be bad not mentioning it here. Very attentive to detail – topping up of iced water on a regular basis, and even asking to top it up after we’ve footed our bill and ready to move off. And that time, I was actually appreciative because I really didn’t mind having that another half a cup of water to quench my thirst from the chats. That’s some extra value for you. Certainly worth a re-visit.
—> Note #1: If you want indoor seating – be sure to make a reservation beforehand to have it nailed first.
Date of Visit: 2011-04-16