Quick Picks: Roll-Up & Ramen Bari-Uma

Once again, its time for a couple of quick picks around town. Spots where you can jump in and out for a meal on the fly, yet still emerge with a stomach full of contentment at the end.

Roll-Up, an unpretentious little joint dishing out kebabs along the riotous boat quay area is a good time. You'll smell it before you experience it, thanks to the fumes of Indian spices floating from the tandoor oven within the kitchen. Despite the spoken affiliation to most late night kebab stands, the lack of grime and inherent insipidness in the decor, made it hard for me to build those connections. Needless to say, my stay in Sydney itself, housed right smack on George street in the city, saw me breeding familiarity with the neighbourhood kebab shop - a filthy 24 hour outlet churning out huge platters of grilled meats for the drunkards late into the night. Truth be told, Roll-Up was none of that, the finesse in the final product further proving this point.

Order what you want, sit back with a beer, relax while you wait. The menu is kept abjectly simple, making the decision process relatively manageable. I would strongly recommend the Fish Ti-Cuffs ($11), fish tikka marinated in a yogurt based dressing perforated with zesty spices, is then cooked in a tandoor oven and rolled into a tight wrap. the combination of sweet and salty with hints of spicy creaminess sure making for a delectable meal on the go. While the Creme Poulet ($11) - chicken malai tikai offers up a slightly spicier option with aromatic chicken pieces, still moist and succulent from its effective marination in a yogurt based dressing littered with mild Indian spices for hours. Those looking for something a little stronger in flavor can opt for the Mughal Mutton ($13), a wrap stuffed with the likes of minced lamb skewers thick with smoke and rich with traditional Muglai and other spiced infusions.

The formulae is simple, fresh slices of onion, lettuce and a tinge of creamy dressing with copious amounts of grilled meat, fresh from the tandoor then rolled altogether using a soft flour tortilla. The emphasis is on the marination and the grilling techniques of the protein, and the verdict was as clear as day (without ominous signs of the haze) - Roll-Up has nailed it.

Here, vegetarians aren't ignored and the Vegetable seekh kebab ($11) is a tasteful option with fresh vegetables blended together with potatoes and stuffed on skewers before hitting the intense heat of the tandoor. Yet again, resulting in something clean and light, complemented by a tangy in-house mint aioli type-esqe sauce. The peckish will revel in the side of Masala Fries ($3), the usual freezer bag fries crispened up and christened with a good masala spice powder bath. Strangely addictive.

76 Circular Rd
t: 6221 4382

Operating Hours: 
Mon - Thurs: 12pm - 11pm
Fri: 12pm - 1am
Sat: 6pm - 1am

After a record breaking, 3 back-to-back ramen meals after coming back from my trip to Sydney, I can safely vouch for the fact that ramen does make for a super quick meal and Ramen Bari-Uma scores high on the satiety index. 

Originating from Hiroshima, this ramen shop based in Orchard area is well hidden away from the mainstream hustle and bustle given its obscure location at the basement of Tanglin Shopping Center (you will recognise this as the mall with the standout signage advertising Kenko refloxology and fish spa as your cruise down from St Regis towards ION Orchard); it specialises in pork flavored shoyu based ramen - so for those who don't take to the richness and characteristic creaminess of tonkatsu broth - congratulations - you've found your best match.

Get the Ajitama-Uma ($15), their basic bowl of ramen with a thick slice of flame grilled charshu and an ajitsuke tamago to boot. Or, go the caveman route and order the Chashu-Uma ($19.50) where instead of a singular piece , you get 4 pieces of heavenly chashu. Fans of Santouka, as I openly claim to be; you'll be happy to know that this comes a close second to the former, the provenance of the pork is debatable, however its smoky coat of arms derived from being painstakingly flame torched definitely imparts a winsome formula to the tender slices; all of which have fat streaks meandering through its constitution. Broth scores for being extremely flavoursome, with the umami-ness bestowed from the use of shoyu instead of the over dependency on pork bones for stock, whilst the noodles fared a lot better than Santouka; our repeated trips to the former key player joint providing us with tons of hits and misses where doneness of the strands are involved. Everything is fine and dandy, up till you take a gregarious bite of the ajitsuke tamago, tasteless whites and chalky innards - barely passable. 

Even with the slight glitch in performance, I rest my case. Ramen Bari-Uma could be my next favourite ramen place, especially so, since its prices are tons more wallet friendly and you don't get the impression that the restaurant is trying to cramp its diners like sardines. 

Ramen Bari-Uma
19 Tanglin Road,
t: 9720 2791

Operating Hours:
Daily: 11 30am - 10pm

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