130 Bourke Street, Melbourne Vic 3000
Phone: (03) 9662 1100
Ambience: 6/10 (we were given the seats right in front of the door, not advisable when the weather was COLD!)
Food: 5/10 (was it ramen or instant noddles?)
After a week of slogging my ‘youthful’ life at work, it’s finally FRIDAY! Time to let the crazy hair down and reward oneself with a good dinner. 😀 With the temperature fluctuating like the ups and downs of the sharemarket, having a bowl of hot soup and noodles was a superb idea!
Colleagues suggested going to Ajisen Ramen as they were craving for their soup broth. I can dare say that many people must have tried ramen at AR at some point in their lives, be it in Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan or Singapore. Based on my experiences n Singapore, I will say that their quality of ramen ain’t top-notch, but for the price you are paying at a fast-food joint, it is acceptable.
As it was a Friday night, the restaurant was already packed when we arrived. The waitress led us to the seats that faced the front door, so whenever someone opens the door, a cold breeze will ensue. The menu was different from the one back in Singapore, it had more variety and more sides.
My colleague and I were craving for some takoyaki and we decided to order one plate to share. To my dismay, they were deep fried and not made the traditional Japanese way with the machine and all. The ones I had at the Japanese Summer Festival in Docklands were tastier! However, the large pieces of octopus in them salvaged the dish. >.<
I ordered one of the signature ramens: Char-grilled Ramen. I had the beef done medium-rare which was executed quite nicely. The noodles were horrible and tough. It felt like eating instant noodles! The soup was not at all fantastic and the egg should not be well done like this! I reckon that Ramen Ya, a small standalone Ramen place @ GPO, serves up better quality and more authentic noodles and they are also reasonably priced for its large portion. It also reminded me of ramen at Taro Cafe on Ann Street in Brisbane, a down-to-earth Japanese guy making authentic Japanese ramen, serving various thickness of noodles according to different soup base available on the menu. How nostalgic!
One of my colleagues had the Seafood Ramen which to her disappointment was equally bad as mine. She also complained about the noodles being too ‘tough’ for her liking. But they were rather generous with their servings on the seafood.
World-renowned ramen? I bet to defer. It is famous for its ‘branding’ (a cute little girl holding a big bowl of ramen!) but not the authenticity nor the quality of ramen. If you want cheap and delicious ramen, I will strongly recommend you to pop over to Ramen Ya or walk over to Ito Japanese Noodle Cafe which is located just two shops away from Ajisen Ramen where Japanese chefs prepare the noodles for you properly. Returning to stuff myself with such sub-standard noodles, NO WAY! 😦