Jimoto Ya, China Square Central: Hokkaido Ebi-Tonkatsu Ramen Created by Michelin-Starred Chef Nobumasa Mieda 

Opposite Wang Dae Bak at China Square Central, Jimoto Ya, a Hokkaido-styled ramen, is created by Chef Nobumasa Mieda of Michelin-Starred Kaiseki Restaurant, “MIEDA” in Sapporo, Hokkaido. To be clear, the Hokkaido restaurant isn’t a Michelin-starred ramen; it won a star for its kaiseki, not the ramen.

Furthermore, we do have a Michelin-starred chef who opened a ramen shop in Singapore before, so Jimoto Ya isn’t the first. But when I was there at Jimoto Ya on Saturday at 2pm, it was full house. The power of Michelin stars can’t be denied.

The uniqueness of the ramen lies in the broth: They use a blend of amaebi (shrimps) and tonkotsu (pork) for their broth.

The shrimp-and-pork broth comes in four different flavors: misoshio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), and curry, all priced at $16.50. But it is worth adding $3 to the ramen to upgrade to a set which includes a house tea and a choice of side from tori karaage (fried chicken), ebi tempura (prawn), yasai tempura (veg), or onigiri (rice ball). There is also a spicy cold soba, hiyashi cyuka ($18.50), with sliced braised pork, but it has no broth, so what’s the point?

The side dish, karaage, is as oily as a pubescent boy’s face, as you can see from the blotting paper. But I came here for the ramen.

Hokkaido is famous for its miso and curry ramen, but I opted for the shio (salt) version because I wanted to taste the integrity of the broth for what it was. When the ramen came, I was shocked because there was no char siew. I asked the waitress who said that the restaurant doesn’t serve it. There is, however, bits of minced meat in the ramen.

At first sip, although the shio broth is slightly greasy but not revolting so, it is extremely aromatic. There is a heavy taste of shrimps, which mellows into a sweetness. But unfortunately, the noodles are alkaline. And towards the end, when the noodles are soaked in the broth for some time, the broth has turned alkaline too, overpowering the shrimp flavor.

The noodles also turn nuah and soggy at the end; if the temperature of the broth is better, this shouldn’t be the case. Good ramen noodles don’t turn soggy. There are only 3 essential ingredients in the bowl: the egg, the broth, and the noodles, and the noodles have affected the broth, making only 1 ingredient in the bowl (the egg) excellent.

Many reviews I read gave favorable rating, so I’m not sure if my experience is a one-off thing or the other reviewers are kinder. But the restaurant is comfortable; the service excellent (my iced green tea was always topped up, and the servers were helpful and polite); and while the food has room for improvement, it is not horrible, it is passable. I paid $19.50 for my set, no GST, no service charge. A pleasant surprise but I don’t think I’ll return to try other flavors. I already have my favorite ramen shops in Singapore, and Jimoto ya didn’t change my mind.


Jimoto Ya
3 Pickering Street, Nanking Row, China Square Central 01-44/01-45, Singapore 048660
Tel:+65 6223 3397
11am-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, closed Sun

Food: 6/10
Price/value: 6/10
Decor/ambience: 7.25/10
Service: 7.5/10
Overall rating: 3.344/5

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