Whenever I walk past the Orchid Hotel, I will see people queueing for the Keisuke Tonkotsu King. To beat the crowd, you have to go about half an hour before noon, for lunch.
In short – is it worth to queue? Yes.
Interior – There is nothing to talk about for this restaurant. Its small, cramp and the interior simply tells you: Eat and Go. It is very Japanese style.
Food – They offer free side dishes: eggs (in two colors, one with lower cholesterol) and bean sprouts. Now the ramen, the soup is very flavorful – so flavorful and thick that by the end of my meal, I feel a bit jilat. But not complaining here because the generous and not-very-fatty charsiew and nice ramen noodles compliment the thick soup. How I wish the soup can be less thick so that it will be perfect.
Service – There seemed to be quite a lot of staff working in this teeny-weeny restaurant (or not even restaurant). Due to its small area, staff is very alert and prompt in service. One thing about this restaurant that impressed me was that they offered free barley drinks to those waiting in line. It was a nice gesture!
We arrived just slightly past 6 p.m. but the queue had already reached an incredible length, taking us close to 30 minutes before we were admitted. However Tonkontsu King clearly ooze Japanese efficiency by providing order forms upfront, allowing diners to place their orders before stepping into the store.
Upon our turn, we were ushered into a claustrophobic interior where space was a premium. It was obvious that the interior was meant just for dining. - tables and chairs were packed close to each other, and walking space was kept to a minimum, I wonder if the restaurants were this packed in japan as well.
I have to say that Ramen Keisuke's bowl of ramen was one of the best which I have tried before. Our ramen - Ramen Keisuke ramen with Japanese soft boiled egg, had a solid texture which held its own until you chew it apart. The broth was cloudy with goodies, with chashu, chopped onions and black fungus adding tastes to my palate. The liquid was so tasty that every slurp of ramen was accompanied with a scoop of broth to savor the sweet and salty taste. Ramen Keisuke really earned its namesake with this broth. However diners should take note of its saltiness - too much could leave you really thirsty.
One offering of Ramen Keisuke which I found novel and interesting is their bowl full of eggs. Each table was allocated a bowl full of hard boiled eggs, which came in brown and white variants, for your consumption. However their shells were difficult to be peeled, leaving quite a mess when removing them, often prickling the egg white and leaving it with craters. Since these were free offerings not included in the bill, I guess I should not complain about it.
Ramen Keisuke won me over with their taste, which is just above most Japanese restaurant offerings. I would choose this over most of the chain restaurants, but I would not queue another time just for the sake of it.