Usually, I try to make it out to hot new restaurants as soon as I am able. However, due to my busy schedule and the fact there are many other restaurants to try, some get lost in the shuffle. Torafuku happened to be one of the casualties as I completely forgot about it until Emily was complaining she was hungry after rollerblading. She asked if there was a restaurant near Science World that I hadn't tried yet. Well, it happened to be Torafuku and despite her skepticism (she read previous reviews), we decided to quench both our appetites and thirst.
Strangely, we were started off with Miss Piggy's Lost Left Trotter (ironic as to who I was eating with...). Sporting terrine cubes of pork and pork jelly, these were rather bland on its own, but when smeared with the house made ketchup underneath, there was more pop. Texturally, the pork was soft while the jelly could've been firmer. The crispy bacon fried rice was firmly crunchy and pretty tasty. The most impactful item on the plate was actually the plump acidic tomatoes. Up next, we had Nice to Meat You featuring "big bang" sweet & sour ribs that were crispy from the deep-fry, yet moist and chewy underneath. These were coated with a sticky, sweet and spicy glaze along with peanut sauce. I enjoyed the accompaniments the most including the candied peanuts on top and the pickled cukes.
Since we ordered our fair share of protein, we thought some greens would balance our meal. Well, I'm not sure the Crack Salad was really a healthy addition, but true to its name, the concoction of brussel sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, crispy rice and lap cheong croutons was tasty. There was the immediate influence from the gochujang curry balanced off by a lingering spiciness and sweetness. Since the whole thing was a bit greasy, the ingredients weren't as crunchy as we would've liked. When the Lucky Tiger Ramen arrived, it looked more like a Dan Dan noodle. However, with ground pork, corn, pea sprouts melted cheese, smoked garlic oil, tomato tonkotsu broth and soft egg, it did not taste like one. In terms of viscosity, the broth was like a Dan Dan noodle as it was thick and almost peanutty (despite there were no peanuts). Rather, it tasted like creamy tomato soup with background tang with elements of savoury and sweetness. We agreed that this was an awesome soup, but not really a ramen as the slightly past al dente noodles got lost.
We were pretty excited to try their award-winning Rye So Messy Wings, but ultimately, we weren't that impressed. We found the that there was too much batter that resulted in unrendered skin (it was crunchy though). Also as a byproduct (and probably intentional), the meat was kept juicy and succulent. The meat wasn't really that flavourful on its own, but there was so much rye & gochujang sauce and mango glaze that it really didn't matter. On the other hand, this reminded us of an over-sauced specialty sushi roll where everything was too sweet. Also afflicted with too much batter was the Calamari Done The Right Way. Hence the squid-to-batter ratio was off where I could barely detect the tender squid (of note, the batter is gluten-free). Flavours were good though featuring a chili-oil influenced angry tiger sauce (that was equally sweet, salty and nutty from the soybeans). I liked the compliments including onion, tart tomatoes, sweet lychee and pea shoots.
Our final dish, Old MacDonald's Dirty Business, was probably my favourite. This was a fairly complex dish with many ingredients including appealingly chewy sliced rice cake with tender and buttery chicken hearts (cooked just enough). From that, there was also the texturally-pleasing bounce of the well-charred pork cheeks. In addition to the array of vibrant veggies, there was one more hit of protein in the tender and well-seasoned flank steak. Bringing everything together was a spicy Chinese black peppercorn sauce that was full of umaminess and background acidity. This item was the most complete of any of the dishes we tried. The others had some things we didn't like, yet at the same time, could be improved with one or two tweaks. We thought the prices were fair and the service was fairly attentive.
- Kudos for using many ingredients and different flavours
- Okay pricing
- Attentive service
- Food needs some refinement and tweaks
- Overall, many dishes were pretty sweet
- Food came out a bit too fast for our small table