Shinzo ramen

After coming back from Osaka only two weeks ago, I knew one of the things I would miss (besides seeing kawaii things EVERYWHERE) would be the food, more specifically, the ramen. So my eyes widened when I saw a Facebook post that Nu signage had just completed the signs for Shinzo ramen in the ANU area. The menu looked limited but it was filled with different versions of tonkotsu, my favourite ramen of all time.

Here’s the menu:I don’t know what we did before social media, but I am used to restaurants counting down to when they open, creating hype, having giveaways; meanwhile, I couldn’t even find a phone number for this restaurant. There are two random photos using the shinzo hashtag on Instagram, but there was no Instagram account, no Facebook page, not even a poorly designed website that had ‘website coming soon’. I had to resort to good ol’ fashion stalking. I sent my friend who works near the Unilodge at ANU on a mission to find the shop front, he was able to send me the opening times and warned me it was almost a hole in the wall as he walked past it twice without realising it.

They seem to have a section for making noodles cornered off at the front.TimmyC and I arrived just after they had opened for dinner and there were already a few people inside. There are three big tables with 8 stools each and it’s an order at the counter and then find yourself a seat type of system.Soft drink can aloe vera juice drink with pulp bits + peach juice ($3.00) this was a nice drink with aloe pieces and tasted like peach flavouring.Signature tonkotsu ($15.00) when I saw that the broth had a rich colour, I had such high hopes but alas, I was only disappointed. There was flavour there, but it wasn’t fatty, almost to the point of creamy – which is what I look for in a tonkotsu. The noodles were a bit harder than I would have liked and although I don’t usually indulge in the egg, it was completely hard-boiled. The pork was done well and seemed to be the only saving grace.A promising opaque rich brown colour.That egg is definitely hard boiled.The bowls have a weird sloped shape, so they are wide at the top and narrow at the base. After a while, you find there isn’t much soup because the bowl isn’t that big, throwing off the soup to noodle ratio.Black garlic tonkotsu ($16.00) I was really disappointed when I couldn’t taste much difference between my black garlic and TimmyC’s signature tonkotsu. I bit into a tiny black chip hoping it would taste like black garlic bit it felt like I was biting a burnt wood chip. Again the broth could have been more flavoursome and have more depth, the egg was also completely hard-boiled, while the pork was good, it was messily cut and broke into chunks when served in the bowl.Pork gyoza ($7.00) I was a bit dubious when they put down the plate, the gyoza wasn’t pan-fried on one side which is what I’m used to and when we bit into them, they were cold and not cooked all the way through. When I told them, they were very apologetic and replaced them. There was a bit of a wait until the new set arrived and they gave us complimentary edamame beans. The second plate was cooked all the way through, but the dipping dish wasn’t big enough and you had to awkwardly dip both ends of the dumpling or double dip. I wouldn’t order them again, they don’t have a crunchy texture when one side isn’t pan fried but the taste was okay.The edamame beans we got given while we waited for our second set gyoza.They had a flyer saying that they were a family owned business and wanted to improve, you can write feedback on the back and return it during your next visit to receive 10% off. I wanted to give them my feedback but didn’t know when I would be back, so I left it there on the table when I left. My list of improvements included: pan fry one side of the gyoza, maybe improve on their tonkotsu broth, don’t overcook the egg, have a better shaped ramen bowl and also suggested they could maybe they could have a noodle ‘softness’ choice for customers.

I did like the staff’s friendly attitude and the price (for Canberra) is fair considering it includes the bamboo, seaweed, egg etc. I was hoping to cover my lips in a fattiness that only a collagen-rich tonkotsu could provide but I don’t think I’ll be getting that here. It is still early days considering they only opened last Thursday, I hope they improve.

Venue: Shinzo ramen

Address: 35 Childers St, Canberra ACT 2601 (next to Shanghai dumpling cafe)

Opening times:

Monday – Friday 11:00 – 15:00, 18:00 – 21:00

Saturday 11:30 – 14:30, 18:00 – 21:30

closed Sunday

Handy tip: there are no bathrooms at this restaurant

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Ryo’s noodles

I experience FOMO a LOT, especially when my cousin and sister are surrounded by ramen restaurants and I am not. So when I was last in Sydney, I headed straight to Ryo’s noodles where both of them had been recently.

We arrived around 1:10pm on a Sunday to be greeted by a short line, I started to panic as they shut at 2pm but the line only took 20 minutes to get through. img_9370Maybe I’ll bring someone who can read Japanese with me next time, I hope this is just the menu in Japanese and that I’m not missing out on something awesome.#1 Tonkotsu ramen in salt flavoured soup with roast pork, shallots and sesame seeds ($13.00). I don’t eat the egg and nori so I wanted the basic ramen; it was easy to order for our table, ‘we will have three number ones please’. In a matter of minutes our order arrived. The broth was magical, the noodles were perfect and so was the tender pork. I really enjoyed the broth because it wasn’t really fatty and thick.Gotta love a broth where you can’t see the bottom of the spoon.Home-made pork bun ($4.50). I couldn’t help but try one of their home-made buns, the bun came out fresh and hot with a soft fluffy texture. The pork filling surprised me because it had a pulled pork texture.  Excuse the mangled mess, I ripped it in half to share with my Mumsy.This place is TINY. I can see why there is a wait, the food is delicious but there also not a lot of space to put many tables and chairs.We were in and out in 22 minutes. We weren’t pressured to leave but it was a tight squeeze in the restaurant with people waiting to be seated right next to us. We came for delicious rich tonkotsu ramen and that’s what we got, this is not a place to sit down and catch up.

There is also another Ryo’s noodles located in Bondi Junction.

Venue: Ryo’s Noodles

Address: 125 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065

Phone: (02) 9955 0225

Ryo's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ramen Ikkyu

It seems like every man, celebrity chef, blogger and their dog have been to Ramen Ikkyu despite having been open for just a couple of weeks. So I did what any sane keen ramen eating blogger would do – I dragged my whole family, including my pregnant cousin to the other side of Sydney to a busy food court to try this place for myself.

I was a bit worried that since Harunobu Inukai, the former chef of the French-Japanese fusion restaurant Blancharu in Elizabeth Bay now turned ramen chef, only made 150 bowls a day. I couldn’t think of anything more sad than if I dragged everyone out to the other side of town and there was only one bowl left and they had to watch me enjoy it. image

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It seemed like an easy system, there were 8 ramen types to choose from and a cute little easy to use touch screen system. Well that’s what I thought until I realised I could only eat 1/8th of the menu (1/4 at the most). Decisions… Decisions…

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Chili oil ramen ($11.50).

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Ikkyu (miso) ramen ($10.50).

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Tokyo (shoyu) ($10.50). It was the special of the day which really swayed my decision. I didn’t think much of the broth, I mean it was better than anything than we have in Canberra but Sydney has so many other establishments that offer a much superior soup base in flavour and in ‘richness’. The pork was very delicious though, with a high fat ratio layered between the meat and the noodles had a great texture, but I find that all three things- broth, noodles and pork need to come together to make a ramen experience absolutely fantastic and magical.

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Ikkyu (shoyu)($10.50).

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Sides~

Cha-shu 3 slices ($3.00), shallots($0.50) and sweet corn($0.50).

The bowl of ramen itself would have been very affordable and considered cheap but I just had to indulge and see what their $14 pork rib was all about. As it sat there on the tray while I waited for my noodles to arrive, all the other patrons would point and ask what that delicious piece of meat on the bone was. All I could think was ‘don’t get grubby fingers too close to my pork’.

A bit dry in areas but that is expected due to the size and the thickness. Not as great as other ramen places but great to nibble on to get some extra pork to your bowl. Maybe share between two people?

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What makes this a unique dining experience is the free extra kaedama that you get with each bowl of ramen so that if you gobble up all the noodles before you finish the broth, there is a round #2.

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I don’t think Ramen Ikkyu lived up to all the hype. I see bloggers and instagrammers posting photos of queues and noodles but I would much rather walk down the street and grab a bowl from Gum Shara. If I get the chance I would come back in a few months to see if anything changes.

Venue: Ramen Ikkyu

Address: Shop F1A, Sussex Centre food court, 401 Sussex Street, Haymarket, NSW

Phone: (02) 9281 0998

Good Food articlehttp://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/eat-out/review/restaurant/ramen-ikkyu-20130716-2q0z9.html?rand=1374101910073

Opening hours: Seven days, noon-8pm until sold out (150 bowls a day)

 

 

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