Since I have this mission to exhaust all F&B outlets at IFC - helps with the movie outing thing, I had to try Wakayama despite the lukewarm reviews.
Started well enough with my favorite drink of the moment. More Japanese restaurants should stock it. My tolerance for a yogurt based soda is higher than it is for Sake so all Japanese restaurants please take note! And if you're not a Japanese restaurant and you stock this, you get extra brownie points!
For starters, the grilled ox tongue was tasty enough although a couple of pieces were overly chewy and took away from the experience - hate it when that happens. What's the point of chewing on something that cannot be broken down and then having to gingerly set it aside back on the plate. So what's the etiquette on this? Do you do that or do you just swallow? But the couple of pieces aside, the rest was decent enough and kept us busy until the main came.
The peeps come here for the ramen. Here's my take: the pork soft bone ramen is probably the signature here. I liked that the pork soft bone was as it should it - well braised to break down easily on the palate, a delicate crunch from the cartilage to give the entire piece of meat added texture, and then just enough fat to seal it off with a touch of grease. The ramen itself wasn't bad - retaining enough springiness but apart from that, nothing to write home about. The soup base was unusually clear by today's standards but had enough flavor from the bonito, a difference from other ramen joints. So this is definitely a healthier version than most so there's less guilt in drinking up. Plus, there is significantly less salt.
We ordered the Wagyu beef ramen to try too, but alas, this was disappointing for the meat that is supposed to be Wagyu. First of all, I don't think it was the freshest piece of meat. It had a little off smell/taste, not by a lot, but you can definitely discern it. Secondly, it wasn't melt-in-your-mouth quality which you might expect if it's in ramen. So other than a nice stock with a generous sprinkling of corn kernels, which I like, I would not order this again.
Finally, but oddly so since this was meant to be an appetizer, our shrimp tempura roll arrived. Overly mayo-ed, it was decent enough but a little blah since the shrimp had been sitting out for too long, and the rice a little sad from accompanying the shrimp. Edible anyhow although again, didn't do much to get us excited.
Overall, if you really have to have ramen in the complex, Wakayama is fine. Just don't go in with high expectations. I don't really think it's a ramen joint that's worthy of being called that, and perhaps that's why there's no mention of it in the restaurant's name. An average joint, and perhaps great for those who do an airport check-in. It is better than Ajisen at the airport, or at least, it's a healthier option.
Shop 3020, 3/F, IFC Mall
1 Harbour View Street