Our food critic’s name may be false, but the credentials are not. This gastronome has studied the history, cultivation, preparation, science and technology of food for more than 30 years.
My partner loves ramen. Can’t get enough of the stuff. So when Boru popped into our heads as a dinner idea, the choice was simple.
Located inside The Electric Depot on Government Street, the vintage warehouse-cum-modern-vibe suits the ramen restaurant well with brick walls, industrial concrete floors, and simple wood and metal dining tables and chairs.
We began with a light starter, the Shoyu Goma Kyuri. Sliced cucumber with a sesame sauce and toppings looked so simple, but the flavors were anything but. Shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) sesame dressing, spicy sesame oil and katsuobushi (smoked, fermented dried tuna) created such umami that no cucumber salad could ever compare. It was a completely addictive combination.
I was immediately drawn to the Blistering Shishitos starter because I could eat pounds of shishito peppers. It’s a wonderful snack I fell in love with years ago. Sprinkled with pungent bonito fish flakes, salt and a yuzu aioli, these shishitos are a perfect nosh. Fair warning, though usually quite mild, occasionally a pepper will really zing you with heat.
Moving on to the ramen bowls, the Vegan Shoyu was highly recommended—especially as a counterpoint to the heavier Kumamoto Black Garlic Tonkotsu ramen. The broth had a pleasurable salinity with hints of smokiness. Thin green noodles that kind of tasted like matcha were mixed with shiitake, roasted radish, tomato and caramelized chopped onion to create a light yet complex bowl. An addition of dried seaweed helped marry the sea and land together.
The Kumamoto Black Garlic Tonkotsu had a far richer, slightly thicker pork broth with lots of soy flavor. Chewy slices of kikurage mushrooms along with fresh bean sprouts gave a ton of textural contrast to the soft noodles and the thinly sliced roulades of fatty roast pork. An ajitama half (two-day cured soft boiled egg) looked like
a jewel glistening on top, and when the golden yolk was spilled and dispersed in the broth, a dainty indulgence emerged.
After all the salty goodness, we needed a sweet palate cleanser. Attached by a short hallway at the back of Boru is Sweet Society, a shop dedicated to Asian-inspired desserts.
We went all in with the pick-three Taiyaki Pockets rather than ice cream—though I did sample the most divine ube ice cream, a purple yam; as well as a pandan leaf ice cream, which is a tropical leaf with light flavors similar to coconut.
Taiyaki Pockets consist of waffle cone-like batter poured into a charming fish-shaped mold, cooked crisp on the outside with a soft doughy inside that’s stuffed with filling. We chose custard, red bean and Nutella for our three. Mildly sweet vanilla custard oozed out of the warm fish-shaped pocket, reminding me of a more adorable profiterole. The Nutella pocket was a bomb of sugar. Hazelnut flavors definitely came through, and we were both grateful the not-so-saccharine batter helped dissipate a bit of the overt sweetness. The red bean had the earthiness of, well, red beans with a soft sugariness that helped lessen the blow of the Nutella. I’ve always been fascinated by bean desserts and found the low sugar a delightful reprieve from the cloying nature of some other desserts.
Sweet Society is part of the same restaurant family as Boru, so wander by after your meal, show your receipt and get 10% off.
Some of the ingredients in both the savory foods and desserts may baffle the uninitiated, but the staff at both businesses are very happy to explain all the details.
The most noteworthy compliment is that my partner, who actively seeks out ramen joints whenever and wherever available, loved it and was completely impressed by each delectable bite. A true stamp of unabashed approval.
This ramen restaurant opened in Electric Depot in October 2020 as the brainchild of brothers Ronnie Wong and Patrick Wong, who share a history at Ichiban Sushi Bar & Grill. Next door, Patrick runs Sweet Society with shop co-owner Karen Vong. After a bowl of ramen, the ice cream spot can be reached through a central hallway for your dessert needs.
WHAT’S A MUST:
The ramen, obviously, which features housemade noodles and seven variations showcasing a medley of ingredients and flavors. For some light starters, try the Shoyu Goma Kyuri cucumber salad or the Blistering Shishitos for something spicy. And don’t forget the unique ice cream flavors at Sweet Society for dessert!