Saturday, August 31, 2013

Ramen Champion: Ramen lovers' paradise

Ramen Champion isn't your typical Ramen store, in that it's more of a food-court concept for Ramen stores. Considering that, we have decided to separate the review for ambience and taste since the ambience embodies all shops and is not particularly decided by individual stores. Anyways, here you go, have fun reading through our reviews of Ramen Champion stores!

Ramen Champion Stores Listing (click on links for Review):
Current stalls:
The departed:
Ramen Champion Ambience:
Ramen Champion is located on the 4th storey of Bugis+ and monopolizes an entire corner. It has an unmistakable entrance decorated close to a huge wall-hugging poster of the current Ramen stores, their Ramen and their bosses in a semi-cool, professional looking pose. The competitive theme of the eatery is obvious. 

The first thing that hits the starving foodie upon alighting from the escalator that brings him to the eaterly-laden fourth floor of Bugis+ is the joint aroma of six different ramen broths simmering away tantalisingly, resulting in an unmistakable, irresistable fragrance that is carried high above the scents of the neighbouring eateries. Many a times when I was on this floor in search of a bite to quell my gluttonous appetite, dining at Ramen Champion had not been my intention. However, once my nose catches a whiff of its awesome aroma (long before my eyes actually see it), my feet take on a mind of their own in collusion with my nose, and bring me to its entrance, akin to the effects the Star of Bethlehem had on the three wise men. Before I'm even able to protest indignantly at the prospect of yet another meal's worth of ruined plans to eat something other than ramen, I'm ready to order. Whether this effect is a deliberate, brilliantly-employed ploy by Komars to attract customers, or simply the unintended but inevitable outcome of having 6 ramen stalls in close proximity to one another, it undoubtedly works exceedingly well.

Bamboo walls line the main eating area
With its high ceilings and foodcourt-sized seating area, Ramen Champion is of monolithic proportions compared to many other standalone Ramen eateries. Komars clearly tries its best to replicate an authentic setting by way of its interior. Bamboo shoots line the walls of Ramen Champion, adding a nice exotic flair to your dining experience. The use of differing woods in the construction of the boundaries of individual stalls (instead of simply having plain dividers) creates a certain sense of individuality, causing them to resemble miniature standalone Ramen shops.

The use of dim, yellow lighting located high above the ceiling, results in a warm but at times sombre feeling. This proves to create a good atmosphere for casual chatting with friends and is supported by the large seating capacity and generously sized tables, making it an excellent choice for group gatherings. Some kind of vaguely Japanese music perpetually plays in the background, but as I'm not a purveyor of anything Japanese other than its food, I'm unable to determine the music's genre, much less understand anything that it may be saying. The music is not particularly loud and can be easily channeled out of your senses, so don't worry if you have a particular dislike for Japanese music. 

Large tables make for comfortable dining
Interestingly, there is an enclosed outdoor garden in the center of the eatery, complete with tables, plants and a water feature. In my mind, I've always thought of it as a forbidden Zen garden of sorts, and eating out there would be an incredible experience. It's always locked though, and there's a "No Entry" sign pasted permanently on the door. Besides its tranquility, I suppose the very fact that it's forbidden makes it so inviting. Overall, while Ramen Champion is unable to escape the inevitable lack of privacy that is part and parcel of any large dining area, its efforts to resemble a Japanese eatery are certainly substantial and have not gone unnoticed.

Have you eaten here before? What was your experience like? We're interested -do share with us in the comments below!
Mini Shangri-La?

Ambience & others (10%)
A good layout, attention to decorations and generous space are its greatest assets.

#04-10, Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street

Operating Hours:
11:30-22:30 daily

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