Thursday, 26 June 2014

Keisuke Tokyo Ramen Dining Suntec Review 東京らーめんけいすけ味噌汁ない?

What is a Japanese restaurant without Miso Soup?  Oddly, this one doesn't have.

I'm sure the publicity was done in Japanese magazines such as WAttention since quite a number of Japs dropped in.  Of the 6 or 7 occupied tables at the time,  4 or more were Japanese in groups, couple or alone.

This number can be considered large since Japanese people are usually absent from the usual popular so-called Japanese restaurants in SG.  Many so-called Japanese restaurants in SG serve fake and lousy Japanese rice and food that people queue up for (I can only assume these people haven't been to Japan and so don't know the taste of authenticity).

Having been to Japan and enjoyed the personalized food and attention in their small restaurants, I can understand and appreciate the quality and meaning of their Japanese rice. The authenticity that can be tasted and cannot be forgotten. It is no wonder the Japs place such importance on their rice.

When real Japs patronize a Japanese restaurant in SG,  it's a sure bet that the restaurant is serving real Japanese rice from Japan and the food is accordingly nice.

First off, Keisuke is a nice name. A person's name for a restaurant? Nice.

I also like the wordings of the name on their shop sign. Very Punk-Gothic. Cool.

I like the look of it from the outside. Welcoming, inviting. Brightly lit. Makes you wanna walk in.

Nice front poster of food. Very Japanese layout. It caught the attention of a passing Japanese working man in a suit and briefcase in his 40s or so. He paused at the poster, and I was certain he would go in, and he did. This was after Bro and I were done and I stood outside while Bro was at the cashier.

25 June Wed around 6 pm (bill paid at 6.25pm)

I think we were the earliest customers for dinner since no one was in there. No staff seemed to be about. So I tapped once on the cashier's counter bell for attention. The bell is very near the entrance.

Right away a staff popped her head to look while she stood inside the restaurant. She smiled and I held up 2 fingers. She walked towards us and seemed to indicate for us to walk in, so we did. A smiling, welcoming staff is a good sign, although not having anyone welcome us at the entrance is bad.

The walkway in, is welcoming and inside is brightly lit. But that walkway, is a disadvantage because the staff can't see customers standing outside unless the staff make the effort to look.  (Earle Swensens @Vivocity has a very long walkway that the staff uses to ignore customers standing outside).

She led us to a table for 4, which surprised me a little because usually staff in restaurants tend to be stingy and give small table. She was smiling throughout and very upbeat, quickly pointing out the two slips of paper with pencils on the table before walking away.

I actually had no idea what she said. Throughout, except for the word "sure", I didn't know what she was saying (even though she seemed to be speaking English.  Her voice was very shrill and hard to hear what she's saying.). 

Menu... not much variety but looks delicious. Bro and I were not very hungry (he ate KFC earlier while I ate junk sausage crackers from Korea at Marina Square).

Nevertheless, hungry enough for some dinner.

We ended up ordering all side dishes.  I absolutely had to try the Ramen Gratin with crab stock ($8). The picture looked so good on the poster. Bro ordered the Minced Chicken on rice ($4.50). I later added another order of Sesame & Spring Onion rice ($3).  

After the same staff read out the orders and walked away, Bro said, "She's Japanese.".  He had earlier mentioned it but I didn't think so.  I still didn't think so.  He said, "She said 'mince-zi'."

"Mince-zi?" I laughed. "Are you sure? Didn't she say 'minced'? I can hardly hear what she's saying.".

He said he heard it because she was closer to his side. I only heard it when she turned to me and was walking away.

"She said 'mince-zi'." he affirmed.  Even when we got home, I laughed thinking it and asked bro to say it again.

Ahh, the Japs. They can't pronounce English words. Hades, they say "Hardas". "Issac", they say "Esac", "Thoth", they say "Tot to".  Now "minced", they say "mince-zi".  (The only anime that pronounces "Issac" correctly is Devils & Realists. Hades & the others I mentioned are mispronounced in Kamigami no Asobi).

When she passed by, I made a point to glance at her large name tag. Yasuko.  Hmm.. is it the same as the Japanese word for "promise"?  I think not.

So, she's really Japanese. Bro was right.

Bro ordered ice water. I didn't order any drinks.

The food took some time to arrive.  I can only see 2 cooks. Considering it was just us, it's rather slow.

Shortly after we ordered, two more tables in front of us were filled. But we had ordered first, so I expected the food to arrive in a short time.

The Ramen Gratin came first. Presented very cutely & miniaturized. Bro said it looked like it shrank after cooking. I laughed because that's exactly what it looked like. I had expected it bigger (the poster enlarged it).

Digging in, it's ribbon noodle pasta under the cover of cheese. Small portion, as fitting for a side dish. Taste... Nice but gross.  The cheese flavor is probably for cheese lovers. I finished it, so it's nice. But I wouldn't want more of it and it was just a little gross while eating.

Bro's small bowl of Minced Chicken on rice, I took a spoonful. Nice. Right away, I could taste it's authentic rice from Japan. It's almost the same as what I ate one late night in a back alley of restaurants somewhere in Japan (I still miss that woman's white rice with nothing except 3 chicken neck fillets).

He said it's too salty (he gave it 7/10).  The sauce of the meat is well infused into the rice, so it's very nice, flavorful and fragrant rice.  Not just white rice underneath which some restaurants do. This rice is moist with the fragrant oil of the sauce and meat.

After my gratin and spoonful of Bro's rice, I decided to order the Sesame & Spring Onion rice. It took rather long to arrive. By then, more of the tables were occupied with a Japanese (according to Bro) guy in T-shirt, knee-length cotton shorts and slippers eating alone to the left of us (looking as if he came from some condo nearby).

Bro said he thought I would order what he had, but I said the Sesame & Spring Onion rice sounds plain and I want to see how it will taste.  I want to test how good it will taste with something as plain as that.

Just Sesame and Spring onion with rice? It was bland and dry. So, I called for one of the staff for Miso Soup. She paused thinking, then said she'll ask. She went off and returned to say they don't have.

Don't have Miso Soup? It was quite surprising. A Japanese restaurant, no Miso Soup?

This staff (I think local or Malaysian) at the beginning, has been sounding tired in welcoming customers in. Also, she sounds impolite compared to the Japanese staff Yasuko.

I actually didn't want to ask her for Miso Soup, expecting the answer would be an outright no. But she made the effort of asking the cooks (or whoever) and the answer was still no (which is quite surprising since Miso is a staple and very common in Japanese cooking).

I had actually intended to catch the attention of Yasuko who might have said yes. But since this local or Malaysian staff saw us, she came over.

Besides the local/Malaysian, another non-Japanese staff also sounded tired, less upbeat and impolite. When she cleared my plate (the Gratin), she asked, "Are you done?".  It's very rude to ask in this way. The correct way should be "May I take your plate?" or simply extend an open palm towards the plate.

The contrast among the staff is great because Yasuko is the only one so upbeat, as if she's the boss.

Anyway, no Miso Soup displeased me. The rice was so dry and bland. It would go well with a bowl of Miso Soup.  They could charge for it, I don't mind. But to say they don't have Miso Soup, is really... disappointing, especially when it's just a simple request.    

[Translation: とにかく、味噌汁は、私を不快にしない。お米はとても乾燥して当たり障りのでした。それは、味噌汁の椀とよく行くだろう。彼らはそれを有料化できた、私は気にしない。しかし、彼らは味噌汁を持っていないと言ってそれだけで、単純なリクエストの場合は特に、···、本当に残念です

Japanese people proud of their food, would serve the customer in a way that adds pleasure to the food for the pleasure of the customer. I was thinking of Goro-san (Kodoku no Gurume 孤独のグルメ) when asking for that bowl of Miso Soup.

[Translation: 彼らの食糧を誇りに思う日本人は顧客の喜びのために食品に喜びを追加する方法で顧客に役立つであろう味噌汁の椀を求めたとき、私は五郎さん(孤独のグルメのことを考えていた ]

I didn't finish the rice. The bottom half of it, Bro ate it for me.

Zen-nen desu. No Miso Soup. 残念味噌汁ありません

The bill for 3 side dishes (water free) with service charge etc.. = $18.25 

Before then,  I had at some point asked Bro how much was his rice, he thought for a while and said, "Very cheap only. About $4.".


"Yeah. Around there.".

The manager is a woman with the name of "Nao". Strange short name. I'm sure it's a short version of something longer? I thought she was a China woman with her fair square face, but from her name tag, seems she's Japanese.

She sure took her time to stroll out to be our cashier. No apology for keeping us waiting.  (In the time we waited with no one at the counter, it was tempting to just walk out without paying. Would serve them right if someone did walk out.).

I asked the manager to confirm if their rice is from Japan. She said yes. I said "It's nice.". She just smiled a little. I said, "It tastes different.".  She didn't hear or understand what I said. So, I said, "It's different from other restaurants.".  She smiled a little again. I don't recall if she thanked me for the compliment. Maybe she did. Maybe she didn't.

As a manager, that's pretty cold and impersonal attitude towards customers.

Will we be back there? ...Maybe not.

Food... Bro is more lenient than me in grading restaurants.  I give it 5/10.
Service... 5/10.
Price... Well, it's not too bad. For the authentic taste and flavor of the rice... at that price. 6/10. I was surprised the bill was only $18.25.

Who wins them in terms of service?  Tsukada Nojo Bijin Nabe @ Plaza Singapura.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Gackt looks so Cute being a Girl. Really Cute.

No wonder it's said he's androgynous (-looking).  I never thought he looked handsome as a man. But as a woman... Wow. He's really cute. Amazing. His face softens when dressed as a woman/girl.  As a man,  he's not handsome because he looks like a woman (that's what I have always thought, although he is handsome sometimes especially when wearing dark sunglasses.). 

Meaning... his face is actually a woman's/girlish/feminine face.  The only man I have seen who looks cute in a nurse's dress and girl's uniform. Pretty amazing. I won't believe he could look like this if he was in his usual male clothing.

Well, just for fun is fine.  I find him a very stern, weird (he has a thing for darkness & spicy food) yet funny and surprisingly intelligent & practical man (for a heavy metal/rock person that I don't associate intelligence with) who thinks differently from the usual (his idea of marriage is surprisingly same as mine) & is very lonely (even though he says he is not interested in marriage or a relationship, I think he's just afraid.).

Wish to get to know him better (maybe). Not that I don't want to, but I get the feeling there could be something very strange about him outside of these public appearances.

Look at him, so sexy being a nurse! Oh my god. So Cute!! I'm smiling.

In this video below, he is really, really, very cool. I love his quiet handsomeness. Very cute. Makes girls want to know what is he thinking. I am however, surprised that Vivian Hsu is here? Isn't she Taiwanese? How come she's on a Japanese show with Gackt? Vivian Hsu is very sweet & pretty here. No wonder he likes her, though I think it's more because she's not Japanese.  He seems to like foreign or exotic things (Chinese food & westerners)? He thinks nothing of rejecting the Japanese girl who is also very pretty & making her feel awkward. These 2 videos are actually when he was younger. He doesn't look like that now, unfortunately.

He is both left and right-handed (right? Gackt fans?) coz in another video, he switched hands.