Melbourne, VIC 3000
Where is Spring? Instead of being able to wear all the cute tops sitting in my closet, I’m forced to shiver in the same 3 jumpers. And instead of ice creams and impromptu picnics, I find myself reaching for hot soups and spicy curries, despite it being the middle of October. So when an unseasonal cold day (or should that be seasonal, given Melbourne) came up, my ramen switch was immediately flicked to the ‘on’ position, and I hit up Ramen Ya with Ethan for a spot of early lunch and a long-overdue gossip session.
|Table Number/Plastic Food Display/Japanese Styled Pictures|
And it’s a good thing we were early, because Ramen Ya may look empty now, but experience taught me that coming during the lunch rush will mean standing in line, waiting for a space to open up. But as it currently stands, we were able to get a seat inside the restaurant, away from the windy al fresco seating.
The menu at Ramen Ya is exactly what you’d expect it to be – lots of ramen, and a few bento boxes for the people who aren’t ramen-philes like the rest of us. There’s a choice between five different ramens: charshu, tsukune, gyoza, seafood gyoza, and strangely enough, kimchi ramen. Once you’ve chosen the type of ramen you want, you can then choose between tonkotsu, shoyu, or miso soup. And if you’re extra peckish, make that ramen into a set meal for an extra 4 dollars, which comes with the addition of gyoza or salad, and some miso soup. There are also a couple of sweet options but, like how almost no one comes for the bentos, there’s not much point in ordering dessert here. The ramen is where it’s at.
|Gyoza Ramen with Tonkotsu Soup ($10)|
Ethan went with the combination of Gyoza Ramen with Tonkotsu Soup ($10), which came with 5 gyozas and all the trimmings. It was nice to see menma (fermented bamboo shoots) in the ramen, as it’s not used nearly often enough in noodle dishes. The soup was also rather nice with a good depth of flavour, though perhaps not as fatty as I’d like it. The egg and the noodles however, were a bit of a disappointment. The egg was boiled within an inch of its life, and the noodles whilst bouncy and chewy, were egg noodles, rather than ramen noodles.
|Charshu Ramen with Tonkotsu Soup ($10)|
And being the charshu lover, I chose the Charshu Ramen with Tonkotsu Soup ($10). This was exactly like Ethan’s ramen, except instead of gyozas, the ramen was topped with 4 thin slices of charshu. Naturally, they were smoky and melt-in-the-mouth tender, but there was just so little of it!
Whilst not the best ramen in town, it’s definitely not the worst, and it’s perfect for warming up on a cold day. And I really do love the wooden tray that the ramen is served on, and the big wooden ladle you’re provided with for the inevitable soup slurping.
And if you do finish all your ramen, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of lights hanging above you reflected in the remains of your soup. And if you finish all your soup, you’ll be rewarded with a warm and happy tummy.
Rating: 13/20 – winter warmer