To succeed, every restaurant requires a Unique Selling Point (USP). Marutama Ramen has its fried garlic; Keisuke, crab-based broth; Tonkatsu King, black pepper broth. What is the USP of Uma Uma, a Japanese chain brought in by Iggy, who runs the eponymous restaurant that is always on the “Best Restaurants in Asia” list?
There are two USPs. Firstly, the decor. With its raw cement floor and dim spotlights, the restaurant is slightly swankier than other ramen shops.
This swankiness is also reflected in the price: Usually each person spends about $20 (including drinks) at a ramen restaurant but here, expect to spent 25% more (or $25) as the drinks are costly. A can of ooh long tea sets you back $3; and so does the free-flow green tea. Another reason why I say the restaurant is costly is because the servings of the ramen are tiny, which defy the notion that ramen is supposed to be hearty.
The second USP of the restaurant is the noodles. There are only two kinds of ramen: spicy and non-spicy, and my date and I ordered one each, and added eggs ($1.50 each). Between the two types, order the spicy broth (which isn’t very spicy), as it broke the monotony of plain broth. But honestly, there was nothing remarkable. A thick film of oil layered the broth – felt excessively greasy and sickening though good for moisturizing lips. The only saving grace was the gorgeous noodles, as thin as hair, light as air. Slurp it like it’s soup. My date said, “Hey, we are eating mee sua.”
I’d also deduct points for the service. I didn’t know if my green tea was refillable and I had to ask before the waitress topped up for me. The restaurant was empty; the waitresses weren’t busy. They should have taken initiative.
My date paid $46 for two of us but we were unsatisfied–which was unusual after a ramen meal–and went to McDonald’s a storey below.
Uma Uma Hakata Ramen
583 Orchard Road
Rating: 3.119/5 stars