I am glad that I am reunited with Chef Sho Naganuma at his new restaurant Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar. Formerly the Execute Chef at Hide Yamamoto, chef Sho Naganuma has partner with restaurateur Tora Widjaja to open the contemporary izakaya restaurant in the heart of Tanjong Pagar.
Ikura Nachos 4/5
We started with a couple of appetisers, and I have to say they are not the usual items you get in a traditional izakaya restaurant. The creative bites are inspired by the sophisticated Singapore palate which chef Sho Naganuma has a wealth of experience, having been working in Singapore since 2010. First up, we had the Ikura Nachos ($12). The delightful bite comes with tobiko and herbs on a crispy papadum chip. A delightful bite with the right balance of flavour and texture.
Unagi Tacos 3.8/5
The Unagi Tacos ($15) is quite similar to the ikura nachos except the meaty unagi takes centre stage resting on the crispy papadum, crown with green papaya for acidity and crunch. I thought a little more punch in the sourness from the green mango and even a little heat will lift the dish.
Uni Pillow 4.8/5
The Uni Pillow ($15/pc) may seem small in portion, but it's an explosive combination of flavours and textures from the karaage crumbs, nori and uni. This is definitely one of my favourite appetisers.
Wagyu Chips 4.2/5
The Wagyu Chips ($8) thinly sliced and fried with the wagyu fats is very addictive. It comes with truffle shio konbu that perfumed the enjoyment further.
Noble Scallops 4.5/5
The first thing that caught my attention is the colourful shells of the Noble Scallops ($27). Cooked in a sake-soy butter nage, the scallop was plump and juicy, infused with the aroma of sweet sake. Don't forget to take a sip of the sake based broth to enjoy the umami flavour.
With all the delicious appetisers, don't forget to order some sake to go along with them. Torasho even has their sake brand. If you order a bottle of sake, they even come in a mini sake barrel. Do note there are limited sake barrels available, so don't be disappointed if you didn't get one.
Truffle Baby Chick 4/5
For those that need something for filling or you have a big group, there is the big plates and rice section on the menu. The Truffle Baby Chicken ($38) may look like any original roasted chicken, but you will be in for a surprise. The chicken is actually stuffed with Kolkata style biryani rice cooked with potato inside. The hint of truffle further elevated the aroma and enjoyment of the fluffy rice and tender roasted chicken.
Bak Kut Teh Donabe 4.5/5
Anther rice dish on the menu is the locally inspired Bak Kut Teh Donabe ($38). Give the hotpot a good mix to get all the flavours blended together. The rice does come across garlicky and peppery like the local white bak kut teh. However, it doesn't resemble a bak kut teh dish at all. It is a delicious dish on its own with its own characteristic which all of us enjoyed.
One should not miss the ramen at Tora, especially their Dipping Ramen. Having tried Menya Sakura owned by Chef Sho Naganuma, I look forward to tasting the familiar flavour again at Torasho. At Torasho, the menu offers three types of ramen - Dipping, Dry and Soup.
Uni and Ikura Dipping Ramen 3.8/5
For the Dipping Ramen, we decided to go for the Uni and Ikura ($34) and Tsukemen "Singapore Best" ($14). The Uni and Ikura Dipping Ramen comes with a bowl of uni dipping soup, separates from the ramen that is topped with uni, ikura and nori. The noodle for dipping ramen is thicker and chewier compare to the rest as to complement the rich dipping soup.
Tsukemen "Singapore Best" Dipping Ramen 4.2/5
Between the two dipping ramens I tried, I still prefer the Tsukemen "Singapore Best" Dipping Ramen which comes with charcoal pork, bamboo shoot and nori with rich seafood and tonkotsu dipping soup. The dipping soup is more robust and richer in flavour, which goes better with the thick noodle. After finishing your noodle, you can ask for the staff to add either clear dashi broth or yuzu dashi broth to the soup so that you can appreciate the drink the remaining dipping soup. I would recommend the clear dashi broth.
Soup Ramen 3.8/5
For the soup ramen, there are three choices. You can go for the normal Tonkotsu Ramen ($12), Truffle Tonkotsu Ramen ($18) or Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen ($14). I decided to have the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen, which comes in three levels of spiciness. Even at level 1, I feel that it will be a challenge for those that can't take spicy. What you can find in the bowl of ramen are roasted garlic, green onion, nori, kikurage and charcoal pork chashu. While the chashu is thick and charred, some prefer the more thinly sliced and tender type.
Dry Ramen, Lobster 4/5
Last but not least for the dry ramen, diners can choose to have the Truffle & Wagyu ($20), Lobster ($16) or Torasho Pork "Bak Chor Mee" ($14). We decided to have the Lobster Dry Ramen that comes with minced lobster, claw croquette, onsen egg, green onion and nori. Due to the crustacean flavour, it tastes like have a bowl of dry prawn noodle.
It has been a while since I get excited about a new opening. I really enjoyed the food at Torasho. Besides the flavours, I like the modern-inspired izakaya dishes that brings a refreshed concept to the table. It is definitely a place I will recommend my friend to go to for our next gathering.
Note: This is an invited tasting.
Torasho Ramen & Charcoal Bar
32 Tras Street
(Main Entrance along Cook Street)
Tel: +65 69705055
Nearest MRT: Tanjong Pagar (EW Line)
Mon-Sat: 1130am - 12midnight
1) Alight at Tanjong Pagar MRT station. Take Exit A. Walk to Tras Street. Turn right onto Tras Street. Walk down Tras Street and turn left onto Cook Street. Walk to destination. Journey time about 5 minutes. [Map]