Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Shop Ramen - so glad you have permanent digs now!

Ok ... simply put, Shop Ramen is a Shop that serves Ramen. She now has a permanent address ... conveniently located (well for me anyways) on 329 Smith Street ... the Johnston Street end.

I'm tempted to leave it at just that and allow your tastebuds to do the rest ... in keeping with Japanese restraint and minimalism.

If I was of cleverer or more creative stock, I'd caligraph a sign that says - no more chatter - just go- or I'd haiku something that will persuade you in syllables.

And then stick a bunch of beautifully crafted pictures on that will make the mind salivate and the eye hunger for sustenance.

Instead, let me just point out two things ... handmade noodles and perfectly balanced broth.

So there was an occasion, as there usually is these days ... a colleague's birthday. Our office is a short tram ride away or an enervating 20min walk in the bracing cold ... we split the diff and did both.

Its your standard Melbourne cafĂ© fitout ... simple clean lines, muted colours and a hint of distress. There is a large communal table which is where we were sat at ... right next to the pasta machine ... churning out single serves of pale ramen noodles.

The menu is small - 3 types of Ramen a couple of Gua Baos and oddly enough a couple of shakes. There was also a Peach Pie looking absolutely delectable at the counter, which we thought we might have as a treat, but were too full to even attempt a shared slice at the end of our meal.

GA had the Pork Belly Bun ($3.80) which looked fluffier and more succulent than the one recently imbibed at Wonderbao. GA attested to its moistness and flavour ... giving it a big thumbs up.

 I crossed fingers and threw caution to the wind (ever so slightly lactose intolerant) and ordered the Salted Caramel Coconut Shake ($7.00). Perhaps a little less coconuty than I would have liked but a whole lot of salted caramel goodness which more than made up for it. Served with an old fashioned Wax straw which almost didn't last the distance.

As for the noodles, I had the Pork Belly Shoyu ($13) which arrived at the table with a piece of seaweed, fat pieces of juicy belly pork, King Oyster mushrooms, and garnished with spring onions, fresh watercress leaves and a softly boiled egg. The dark clear stock (chicken and dashi) was a perfect balance of flavours ... although I think some might find this a little too light compared to the char-siu style offerings found elsewhere.

Along with the usual Japanese chilli flake sprinkles, there was a bottle at each table of what looked like chilli infused oil. It was the perfect condiment to the noodles. Slightly vinegary with a bit of a kick.

AW's Dan Dan Ramen (also $13) was equally attractive. Hers had beef brisket, pickles, celery and also peanuts. She gave hers a big thumbs up too! Definitely one I will be trying at my next visit, which I hope will be very soon.

I think its high time I watch Tampopo again.

Shop Ramen on Urbanspoon


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