More than just Ramen!
Although I have been to this location numerous times, I didn’t know about Ramen Taiko Japanese Cuisine. It was recently through the Facebook vines that I came to know of this well-established Japanese restaurant. Little did I know, Ramen Taiko has been around for a decade and had a new look only the last 2 years ago. Run by 3 owners who kept this restaurant intimate and personal, Ramen Taiko certainly has a lot to offer to avid Japanese foodies.
Located on a shoplex in the Mont Kiara area, it certainly wasn’t hard to find if one were to keep a watch out for the small shoplex right after Mont Kiara mall. Being an avid Japanese cuisine lover, I simply love it all. Sushi, sashimi, teppanyaki, tempura, ramen and so forth, I am gamed for all Japanese dishes. One evening, our foodie gang congregated at Ramen Taiko for taste of its offering. For a quaint restaurant, Ramen Taiko’s menu is large, with many photos of tempting dishes that had my mouthwatering in delight. A peek revealed lots of ramen choices with a lovely range of appetizer, donburi, tempura, itamemono, yakimono and more. Sushi and Sashimi are also available at another restaurant next to Ramen Taiko named Taiko Sushi & Salad Bar, which is also owned by the same owners.
Ramen Taiko’s ambience is fairly simply, showcasing Japanese influences in some corners. Lots of wood elements are used with natural themed colors. Japanese ornaments and decorative paintings plus simple hanging lights dressed the restaurant warmly. There are two entrances for the restaurant and both framed with a majestic rich wood panel and door.
Enough said about the interior, let me show you what we ate that night. We were recommended the Iced Lemon Green Tea. I must say, it’s delicious! Green tea has a soothing and subtle tea notes and when brighten with lemon, it’s refreshing and light. Dinner was a few appetizers, a couple of sushi rolls, four yummy porkie dishes and lots of ramen!
Taiko Gyoza (RM12) comes in 6 pieces per order and has a side of golden sear on it. A bite of this rendered yummy juices. It’s utterly scrumptious. Simply well flavored, the pork filling with cabbage and chives are so yummy. A must-order if you are a gyoza lover!
A decent appetizer, Aigamo Smoke (RM18) is simply slices of smoked duck paired with finely shredded scallion. Nothing super impressive but nothing to fault. The smoked duck is as what it should be, tender, moist with a smoky hint.
We just couldn’t resist ordering some sushi from Taiko Sushi & Salad Bar. Yes, we are glad we can order these over from there and vice versa. As soon as I saw Salmon Ginger Roll (RM30), my first thought is generous. Thick slices of salmon wrapped around crab stick, cucumber, pickled ginger and masago, its awesome. The flavors are spot on and the pickled ginger lends are different note to the salmon. A crowd pleaser that night at our table.
Another generously stuffed roll of Soft Shell Crab Maki (RM32) filled with an abundance of crispy soft shell crab, crunchy cucumber, crisp lettuce, crab stick and drenched in mayo with little mounts of flying fish roes. Nothing else to say much except yummy!!
When this arrived, there were only lots of praises and lots of ahs… and how not too when it is laden with neat cuts of my favorite part of the hog? This bowl of Taiko Buta Kakuni (RM25) that may set one’s quota of cholesterol to hit the roof at one go, I daresay I would still be happy chomping this down. Echoing our Chinese classic take on ‘Dong Poh Yuk’, the version here is sumptuous and rich. Absolutely drool worthy in taste, the slices of layers of lean and fat is soft and flavorful, showing hours of love put into the dish. Hand me a bowl of rice please…. I need to drink up all the gravy…
Don’t be deceived by this ordinary looking dish called Taiko Yakiniku Butabara (RM20), it’s delicious. Tender pieces of pork belly are sautéed with lots of onions. Love the familiar sweet and savory flavors. This one has a good dose of wok heat too, rendering it to the much deliciousness I mentioned earlier. Makes a great one dish meal with rice.
We were told that this one is a Japanese take on another classic of ‘Ku Lou Yok’. Though it is somewhat different in flavors, there are the similar flavors of sweet and sour in Taiko Subuta (RM25). Chunks of crisp and well battered pork are glazed with a lightly sweet vinegary sauce. Again there are great wok heat and flavors with onions and bell peppers to give this dish textures and sweetness.
By now, I am already convinced that Taiko whips up really great dishes of pork! Though this maybe a Japanese restaurant, apparently they managed to get the wok heat going in all their dishes, a smart move. Hoikoro (RM20) is another stir fried pork dish. Using leaner cuts with lots of cabbages, onions, bell pepper and carrot, this one has a richer and saltier flavor due to the use of bean paste. It’s more robust and rice is definitely needed to counter the heavy and salty flavors.
Ramen time! I will say this now, Goma Hiyashi (RM25) rocks! A bit weary at first, I honestly never had a ramen that looks like a salad. Lots of strips of tomato, egg omelette, pork, cucumber, crab stick, seaweed and corn cover the ramen. Drizzle in the sesame sauce that accompanies it and simply mix it up. My first bite of the ramen was oozing with such freshness. The ramen was chilled and had such a fresh and great bite to it. There is another version of this with house vinaigrette. Must order for a different experience of ramen!
Taiko Chashu Ramen (RM22) has a good portion of Chashu with bamboo shoots, spring onions and flavored soft boil egg (yolk still runny!) in a light brown pork broth. The ramen beneath is al dente and has a nice bite. The broth is not as strong as other ramen houses but it might still be a favorite with many as it is easy to finish the broth without the normal ‘jelak’ queasiness that one gets from those intense broths from famous Ramen houses.
I prefer the Hakata Tonkotsu Ramen (RM20) over the earlier one simply because I adored the creamy milky white tonkotsu broth. This one has the addition of seaweed and sweet corn niblets. Portion is a good size and I love that all the ramens here are served piping hot.
It not that I don’t like this one; it’s just too ordinary for me. Gomoku Ramen (RM20) consists of clear pork broth with pork, cabbage, carrot, black fungus, bell pepper and sunny side up egg makes up the dish.
This one much better, the Kimuchee Ramen (RM22) has enough kimchee flavors in the broth. Served with pork, kimchee, bean sprouts and chives, it makes a nice change from all the regular ramens. Too bad it doesn’t come with the flavored soft boiled egg but that can easily be remedied by ordering extra egg for this bowl. Spicy too… for those who need their chili kick…
I have mentioned a few times before, I am not fond of sweetness in my curries or savory dishes. This version of Curry Don (RM 18) is pretty good simply because it’s not too sweet at all. There is a light sweet under note but I tasted more spices and it was fairly creamy. Lots of potatoes and carrots to accompany the pork which makes up another point on my score because I love potatoes. My only gripe with this one is the pork which was a bit too chewy. Other than that, it’s a big portion and the flavors are spot on with rice. Lots of gravy is also how I like it. I spotted another version of this curry with deep fried pork cutlet… I will order that one.
Ramen Taiko tries to please, offering many choices in their menu. When I was there, there are quite a few Japanese diners enjoying their meal comfortably either with a book or their gadgets. The restaurant offers a lot of single dishes which makes it easier for everyone to order and yet, there are some that one can order to be shared. Though the restaurant is obviously garnering for ramen fanatics, I find other dishes to be really good… even better that some of the ramens. To be fair, they also have the one thing that I always feel that all ramen houses should have, perfect flavored soft boiled eggs with runny yolk! If you need your ramen fix, do try the Goma Hiyashi and Hakata Tonkotsu else make sure to try other dishes like Gyoza, Buta Kakuni, Subuta and Sushi Rolls…
RAMEN TAIKO JAPANESE CUISINE
Unit 15-0-2B & 2C
Mont Kiara Shoplex
50480 Kuala Lumpur.
Business Hour: 11.30am ~ 10.30pm