Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka @The Centrepoint: A Fiery Feast in Singapore

May 10, 2024

A Taste of Kyoto's Fiery Tradition: The Menbaka Origin Story

When we talk about ramen shops with a legendary following, Menbaka Fire Ramen from Kyoto is among the first to come to mind. Established in 1984 by Chef Masamichi Miyazawa, Menbaka is synonymous with the blazing Fire Ramen that has put it on the global culinary map. The concept is simple yet daring—ramen served with a sizzling hot pour of flaming negi oil over the top. This unique technique not only brings dramatic flair but also enhances the rich umami flavor of the dish.

With its recent expansion into Singapore at The Centrepoint, Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka brings this fiery spectacle and the spirit of Kyoto izakaya culture right to the heart of Orchard Road.

Photo: Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka

Fiery Welcome: Entering the World of Fire Ramen

Stepping into the restaurant feels like entering another world. The design merges Japanese aesthetics with modern urban elements. The focal point is the open kitchen where chefs ignite bowls of ramen, casting a warm glow throughout the restaurant. Every seat has a front-row view, and once the fire erupts, the entire establishment is lit with excitement.

Photo: Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka

A signature feature at Fire Ramen & Izakaya is the "Fire Zone," where diners are seated at the bar-style counter, eagerly waiting to be wowed by the live ramen performance. You can also sit at a regular table if you're not in the mood for a front-row seat to the flames.

Photo: don low

The Flaming Star: Menbaka's Signature Fire Ramen

The star attraction here is, of course, the Menbaka Fire Ramen (SGD $23.90). The broth is prepared with an original soy sauce base, and the toppings include generous helpings of fresh negi (spring onions). The bowl is then flambéed tableside with a ladle of scorching negi oil, resulting in a burst of flames that sear the onions and caramelize them, enhancing their sweetness and creating a smoky, aromatic flavor.

Tasting Notes: Fire Ramen

The first spoonful reveals a complex interplay of flavors. The spring onions lend a mild sweetness and a hint of bitterness that perfectly balances the umami-rich broth. The noodles are firm and springy, providing a delightful chewiness. The chashu (braised pork belly) melts in the mouth, with the seared outer layer adding a caramelized depth.

It's not just the flavors that leave a lasting impression; the warmth from the fire lingers in the bowl, giving the ramen a unique, comforting heat.

Photo: Ben Lee

Exploring Variations: Other Fire Ramen Options

Apart from the signature Fire Ramen, the restaurant offers several other fiery variants:

  • Seafood Fire Ramen (SGD $26.90): A seafood lover’s delight, this version includes fresh prawns and clams in a broth that’s slightly lighter but equally flavorful.
  • Vegetarian Fire Ramen (SGD $21.90): This vegetarian option swaps out the meat for a delightful mix of vegetables, including mushrooms, tofu, and spring onions, in a hearty vegetable broth.
  • Spicy Fire Ramen (SGD $23.90): For those who crave heat, this bowl packs a fiery punch with chili-infused oil adding extra spice to the experience.

Beyond the Flames: Izakaya Delights

While Fire Ramen is the main attraction, the restaurant’s izakaya-style small plates (SGD $5-$15) shouldn’t be overlooked. These dishes capture the essence of Japanese bar culture and make perfect accompaniments to the ramen.

Top Izakaya Picks

  • Ebi Tempura (SGD $13.90): Lightly battered prawns, deep-fried to golden perfection. Crispy and juicy, they are served with a dipping sauce that elevates their natural sweetness.
  • Tori Karaage (SGD $8.90): These Japanese-style fried chicken bites are marinated in soy, ginger, and garlic, resulting in tender, flavor-packed morsels with a satisfyingly crispy crust.
  • Takoyaki (SGD $8.90): Soft and gooey on the inside, crispy on the outside, these octopus-filled balls are drizzled with mayo and takoyaki sauce, topped with bonito flakes.
  • Yakitori (SGD $6.90 per skewer): Choose from succulent options like chicken thigh, tsukune (chicken meatballs), and shishito peppers, all grilled to smoky perfection.
  • Agedashi Tofu (SGD $6.90): Delicate tofu cubes fried to a light crisp and served in a savory dashi broth.
  • Kani Cream Korokke (SGD $10.90): Crab cream croquettes that ooze with creamy seafood goodness.
Photo: rexy Tan
Photo: octavia tanoto
Photo: Andy Heng

Sake and More: Drinks to Accompany the Feast

No izakaya experience is complete without a good drink. Fire Ramen & Izakaya offers an impressive range of sake, beer, and cocktails to complement your meal.

Drink Recommendations:

  • Sake Flight (SGD $29.90): A curated selection of three sakes, perfect for those who want to explore different flavor profiles.
  • Japanese Highball (SGD $9.90): Light and refreshing, made with Suntory Whisky and soda.
  • Sapporo Draft Beer (SGD $8.90 per glass): A crisp and clean Japanese lager that pairs wonderfully with the fiery ramen.
  • Yuzu Sour (SGD $11.90): A citrusy cocktail that’s both tangy and sweet.

Atmosphere and Service: A Slice of Japan in Orchard Road

Photo: Susanne Haake

The staff at Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka are warm, welcoming, and well-trained to ensure every diner has a memorable experience. The ramen spectacle is both fun and informative, as chefs narrate the process and explain the flavors behind each bowl.

The restaurant's bustling yet cozy vibe, combined with the smoky aroma of grilled meats and the buzz of excited diners, makes it feel like you've been transported to a traditional izakaya in Kyoto.

Final Verdict: An Unmissable Fiery Feast

Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka @The Centrepoint delivers on its promise of a thrilling culinary experience. The spectacle of the fire ramen draws you in, but it's the depth of flavor that keeps you coming back for more. Whether you're a ramen aficionado, a Japanese food enthusiast, or just someone seeking an unforgettable dining experience, this is a must-visit spot in Singapore.

Photo: Nguyên Phạm Thảo

Must-Try Dishes:

  1. Menbaka Fire Ramen: The original and best, the signature bowl that started it all.
  2. Tori Karaage: Crispy, juicy fried chicken that pairs perfectly with any drink.
  3. Yakitori Skewers: Grilled to perfection, with a delightful smoky aroma.
  4. Kani Cream Korokke: Rich, creamy, and utterly indulgent.

Pro Tips:

  1. Book Ahead: Seats in the "Fire Zone" are limited and popular, so it's best to reserve in advance if you want a prime view of the fiery action.
  2. Be Prepared: The fire show can get intense, so wear something you don't mind getting a little smoky.
  3. Come Hungry: With all the ramen and izakaya options, you'll want to try a bit of everything.
Photo: Pohboon Yeo

Practical Information:

  • Address: Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka, #02-12/13, The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Rd, Singapore 238843
  • Opening Hours:
    • Monday to Thursday: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    • Friday: 11:30 AM - 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    • Saturday: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
    • Sunday: 11:30 AM - 9:30 PM
  • Contact: +65 6208 0020

So next time you're wandering Orchard Road and craving a unique dining experience, make your way to Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka. Embrace the flames, savor the flavors, and enjoy a night of fiery indulgence.

Fire Ramen & Izakaya by Menbaka @The Centrepoint
176 Orchard Road, #01-53 / 54 / 55 / 56 The Centrepoint Food Street (from B1, far rear end ATMs - up escalator, 238843
Opening Hour:
Friday, 11:30 am–10 pm
Saturday, 11:30 am–10 pm
Sunday, 11:30 am–9:30 pm
Monday, 11:30 am–9:30 pm
Tuesday, 11:30 am–9:30 pm
Wednesday, 11:30 am–9:30 pm
Thursday, 11:30 am–9:30 pm




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