Glen Waverley, VIC
Despite it having opened more than three years ago, I still haven’t managed to head to RaRamen in Glen Waverley. Uni meant that I had to spend most of my available hours studying, as opposed to going out for leisurely family dinners. It’s a bit of a travesty really, considering that the previous restaurant on this premise, Bob’s Kitchen, was one of my favourite neighbourhood eats. Luckily according to my parents, the new RaRamen is supposedly exactly the same as its predecessor, aside from a couple of price increases. So it was with high hopes that I finally headed there for dinner.
It turns out that my parents weren’t being entirely truthful after all. There were a few more changes than that of the prices. Let’s start with the good ones first. Number one: FREE SLURPEES. Sure they were kind of really grainy, and sure the cola didn’t taste like cola, and the orange didn’t taste like orange. But they were sweet, cold, and freeeeeeeee! Number two: the whole place is now cleaner, neater, and just better looking in general. Unfortunately the two good points come with a bad one – the authentic northern-Chinese menu had been diluted by dishes such as lemon chicken, curried beef, and to my intense horror, teriyaki chicken. Never trust a restaurant that dabbles in multiple cuisines I say.
|Steamed Peking Pork Dumplings ($7.5 for 12)|
My favourite thing from Bob’s Kitchen had to be the dumplings, so the first thing on our radar was some Steamed Peking Pork Dumplings ($7.5 for 12). Ignoring the fact that they price has gone up whilst the quantity has gone down, these weren’t half bad. If it weren’t for the fact that Bob’s Kitchen used to have the best dumplings in Melbourne, I would actually be quite impressed. Except now these dumplings are at best third, after Auntie’s Dumplings and David and Camy’s. Thank goodness their house-made chilli oil is as good as ever.
|Stewed Beef On Rice ($8.5)|
We also ordered a dish of Stewed Beef on Rice ($8.5). I would’ve ordered my old favourite of Special Chilli Beef on Rice to see how it compared, if it weren’t for Chris' issue with spicy things. The dish that we were served wasn’t pretty (though I didn’t expect it to be); a pile of rice came topped with chunks of lean beef, a generous handful of those Asian pickles, and some pickled cabbage. I wasn’t a big fan of the beef; it was lukewarm, a bit too sweet, and lacked the depth of flavour I’m used to. Hence it was a surprise when I found that it actually tasted quite good when paired with some of the crunchy pickles and a mouthful of rice. So that’s a win for RaRamen I guess?
Maybe time has given Bob’s Kitchen a rose-tinted glow, but I don’t care what anyone else says. RaRamen isn’t the same as Bob’s Kitchen. Not even close. It lacked the dirt-cheap prices, large portions, and authentic northern Chinese flavours its predecessor had, and no amount of free slurpees and clean tables can make up for that.
Rating: 12/20 – bob’s kitchen, why did you leave me?!