The outlet in Bugis+ (formerly known as Illuma) is much bigger, better decorated, and houses six separate Ramen chefs. Ikkousha and Gantetsu also have their presence in Changi, so today we'll be sampling two of the other bowls of noodles.
Chef Kiyoshi Kurihara's Menya Iroha is perhaps the most decorated of all the chefs here, having won the People's Choice award at the Tokyo Ramen Show for an impressive three years running (2009, 2010 and 2011).
We try his recommended Black Negitama Ramen (SGD14.95, regular), which is a thick shoyu based broth. Surprisingly, the broth doesn't really gel with our tastes. There's a lot of black pepper in it, which does overpower the taste of the other ingredients, and we're not really big fans of thick soups.
We then move on Makoto Iwasaki's Ramen Bario. The noodles served here are Jiroken (Jiro style) - which is so different from other ramen shops that some purists even insist on calling it just "Jiro" (without the "ramen").
So what's the deal? Well, for starters the noodles are thick - almost udon-like. There's also a HUGE amount of it, with an equally huge serving of bean sprouts. This particular Ajitama Ramen (SGD14.50) has won awards for being the "Ramen that Most Young Men Like" (I'm sure that sounds better in Japanese); regular Joe's who don't have a teenage appetite will find it likely impossible to polish off the whole bowl.
Taste wise it's pretty good and very porky. Shame that the quantity of meat doesn't match the huge serving of vegetables and noodles.
Unfortunately I can't imagine myself ordering either ramen bowl again in the near future. For Iroha, it's simply a matter of preferences; I prefer my broth more soupy rather than thick. I enjoyed Bario's taste more; but the humongous serving size means that guilt kicks in because I can barely polish off half the bowl.
Ramen Champion is on the 4th floor of the Bugis+ Shopping Mall. Non-halal.
Our Ramen Rankings:
Superb!: Ippudo & Santouka
Delicious!: Nantsuttei, Tampopo & Keisuke Tonkotsu King
Solid: Shin-Sapporo, Keisuke, Gantetsu, Gensuke, Riki, Ikkousha & Bario
Below Average: Marutama, Menya Musashi & Menya Iroha