Ah, the Japanese. For a country that has always been the highlight of our nation-building project (read: Japanese Occupation), we sure do love their food, their anime, their manga, their (at times) odd dressing and their Hello Kittys. Japanese food outlets have certainly been on the rise, especially so if you realise in food courts where a Japanese cuisine stall is becoming almost commonplace.
Located next to Awfully Chocolate in Vivocity is Japanese Gourmet Town, a restaurant that houses three eateries and a combined menu featuring ramen, Japanese curry and "okos" (Botejyu insists it's the hip name for okonomiyaki, a Japanese-style pancake).
Apparently, these restaurants hail from different parts of Japan, though I'm not sure if they necessarily specialise in the various food offered. Singaporeans may be more familiar with Ajisen Ramen, so if you're coming here you might want to try the other two. Not all dishes are offered though, sadly, because I initially wanted to order some omu-soba which looked really good on the menu. For the menu, you might like to check one of my favourite food blogger's posts here (she takes awesome pictures with her dslr man!).
Seafood Yaki-Soba: 6.7/10
As I mentioned, I wanted to try the seafood omu-soba, which wraps the yaki-soba (yellow noodles) in an omelette. Since they didn't have it (I forgot to ask if this is a temporary or permanent arrangement), I settled for the "naked" soba. Seeing how the menu listed "octopus" as an ingredient, I told the foreign Chinese waitress that I didn't want that, only for her to ask if I still wanted the squid. I said, yeah, just not the octopus, and she replied, "No no, octopus is squid head". Puzzled, I said that octopus is not a squid, but she insisted. I wanted to add that I understood that both are part of the crustacean family but are not the one same thing, but held back and just said, "Fine, no squid head then". When my seafood yaki-soba arrived, the first thing I saw was a small head looking at me.
Trivia from Wikipedia: Octopuses have three hearts. Two pump blood through each of the two gills, while the third pumps blood through the body.
I think this dish was pretty disappointing. There was so much cabbage and there wasn't much taste to it. The portion did look small, but then the noodles expand quite fast in you that you feel quite full after a while. Even if this is not the "salty" one (there is a salt flavoured seafood yaki soba), it is still rather salty to me, so much so that I was taking in more water than usual. Explains for the expanding soba inside of me haha.
Spicy Ramen: 6.8/10
Daphne felt the portion shrunk a little, but was merrily slurping up the soup even when she was hissing from the spiciness ha. Too little noodles, too little ingredients, this noodles would be worse for those who can't take too spicy a dish. Daphne did say she wants to take on the volcano ramen soon (supposedly even spicier) and I would expect to see her hissing her way through haha.
I might return to try to the "okos", but otherwise I don't know, doesn't seem that promising. By the way, we passed by this new fast food place called Barcelos, and it looks pretty interesting. We might head there soon if we have the time. Someone go try it fast and tell me about it!
Many are trainees, they do seem to be trying their best. Their manager was like persuading them to greet anyone who walks in. Problem is, you know, foreign Chinese service staff and the command of English... What to do, what to do. This is the government trying to maintain the Chinese population.
Oh, and you write your orders on a piece of paper (HK-cafe style), and you bring the bill to the counter at the front. And yes, you still pay 10% service charge.
$12.80 for the seafood yaki-soba
$9.00 for the spicy ramen
*subject to usual 7% GST and 10% service charge