Ramentic brings the narrow, small-noodle bar vibe of Tokyo and puts a Braddon twist on it, offering a range of ramen with different broth bases. I tried the Ramentic ($18), with the tonkotsu broth, chashu pork belly, mushrooms, bamboo, spring onion, mushrooms and takana mustard leaves, and added an egg ($3). Arrive early – Canberra loves a trendy food, and there are long queues at peak mealtimes. There are still some ‘newly opened restaurant’ hiccups (kitchen dockets not printing, register issues), but the staff handled them well and a short wait after ordering my ramen arrived, so I was happy! The broth was buttery, rich and filling, although it was rather runny, and didn’t have the depth of flavour I’d hoped for. But the toppings helped, especially the mushrooms and takana (the little bit of spice was delightful). There were three thin pieces of fatty pork, which were tender, but I found the noodles to be rather thin, and they clumped together. I do have high expectations of ramen, and love that we can get it here, but I’d hoped for a little more authenticity. I’m keen to go back and try another broth for sure though.
Ramentic, 134/24 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, no website
You know you’re onto something good when you’re the only foreigner in a restaurant, and, when it comes to ramen, the only woman. This was my experience walking into Musashi in Roppongi, and it was one of the best decisions of my trip. Mostly a tsukemen restaurant, I chose the ramen option and have zero regrets. This is one of the best ramen I have ever eaten. The noodles were thick and actually had pepper inside them, which I’d never seen before. You can choose your quantity of noodles (size doesn’t change the price) and it comes with bamboo shoots, spring onion and two pieces of char sui pork. Watching the pork being cooked on a special grill plate, I knew this would be unlike any other ramen pork. Full of flavour, incredibly thick and tasty, this was without a doubt the best I’ve ever had. Oh and the broth – the broth was unctuous, thick and buttery with such a beautiful flavour I didn’t really think about how to describe it or break it down, it was just there to be enjoyed. Definitely a must-visit for ramen fans.
Menya Musashi Kosho, 4-12-6 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo, Japan, no website
We ate so much at Lazy Su I’m not going to give a preamble, beyond ‘please go and eat there, the food is amazing’. First up was the yellowfin tuna tataki ($21), which was a small serve but had high quality, tender, plump tuna crusted in spices and served with wasabi. I could have eaten four plates of this and still wanted more. Dish 2 was the Ganjang fried chicken ($13), with three large pieces perfectly fried with a nice, not-too-thick batter and served with two beautiful dipping sauces, plus pickled veggies (mostly caluiflower). The chicken was so tender inside and the aioli in particular was super more-ish. Dish 3 was the chicken tonkatsu bao-ger (bao cross burger, $10) – obviously I went OTT on the fried chicken. Same quality as the full portion, but with extra aioli and slaw. The bun was fresh and soft, but I found this very filling (great value). We saved the best for last – hello “Bossam” noodle soup ($18), with 12-hour pork broth, pork belly, soy egg, pak choy and noodles. Oh my. The broth was to die for, with just the right amount of heat and perfectly flaked bits of pork floating in it – the ultimate comfort food. The noodles were cooked to perfection, and you all know how much of a sucker I am for ramen eggs. Heaven. I repeat – please go eat here, the food is amazing.
Lazy Su, 9 Lonsdale Street, Braddon ACT, https://lazy-su.com.au/
I’d always thought of Chaco Bar as a yakitori place, and it is, but only for dinner. We went for a weekend lunch, and discovered that the lunch menu is all about the ramen. I picked the yuzu scallop ramen ($16), with one bearded Hokkaido scallop, a wanton, black mushrooms, leek, Japanese mustard greens (mizuna) and butter, plus an egg as extra ($3). I also ordered a yuzu and lychee soda ($7), which was huge, beautifully refreshing and possibly my new favourite drink ever. Now, the ramen was a first for me – I’ve only ever tried ramen with pork, miso or soy broth, but this was a seafood broth, and it was beautiful. It was lighter than the other kinds, although surprisingly rich, particularly with the butter stirred through, and the yuzu in the broth really helped balance it out. The scallop was a little bit chewy, but I’d never had a bearded one before, so that may be usual. The ramen had a perfect amount of bite, and I really liked the mustard greens, which also helped cut through the rich seafoodiness of the broth. The egg, as all ramen eggs are, was perfection, and I saved it until last (although the wanton was a close contender for best bit – soft skin, tasty insides). I will definitely be back!
Chaco Bar, 238 Crown Street, Darlinghurst NSW, http://www.chacobar.com.au/
One of my childhood friends was visiting Canberra recently, and we had time for brunch on a Saturday during her visit. It was a tough call deciding where to go, but A Baker won the day. We sat outside in the (patchy) sunshine, and I was particularly excited to see a noodle soup on the menu! I ordered the ginger chicken broth, with soba noodles, egg ribbons, spanner crab and coriander oil ($18.9) and was utterly delighted with the meal. Firstly, the flavours were perfectly balanced, with a perfect kick from the shredded ginger and a subtle tang from the coriander oil. Fried onion crisps and spring onion added great flavour and texture, and there was a fair amount of tender, super-tasty crab floating around. The soba noodles were perfectly cooked (looooveee soba!) and I enjoyed the ribbons of cooked egg as a filler. The dish was also nicely seasoned, enhancing the elegant ingredients and making the broth very moreish to drink. I also grabbed a fresh apple juice ($6.50), which had a nice amount of pulp, and needed regular stirring to stop it separating. As the weather warms up even more, this will be an irresistable combination of location and quality food!
A Baker, Unit 2, 15 Edinburgh Avenue, Acton ACT, http://abaker.com.au/
Gumshara is a happy place for me. Not because of the ambiance, or the décor, or the service; Gumshara is pure bliss for the taste buds. I know I’ve said it before, but this really is the best ramen in Australia. I ordered the tonkotsu ramen with a ramen egg, which is ready in a flash and served in a humungous bowl. There are two things that make Gumshara the best. One: the noodles. The ramen here have such great bite – it’s really very satisfying eating them, almost like the most perfect al dente pasta. Two: the broth. Ok, so this isn’t going to do your cholesterol any good, but who can resist a rich, thick, fatty, salty pork-bone broth in winter? Not me. The broth has a way of coating your mouth, like a layer of porky velvet. Mmm. The pork slices are tender and fatty, and I always like to add a sprinkling of sesame seeds for extra flavour. As always, the ramen eggs are the best, with the gooey, runny yolks and marinated whites that I can’t get enough of.
Gumshara Ramen, Shop 211, 25-29 Dixon Street, Haymarket NSW, no website.
Canberrans rejoice! Ok, well, people working in Barton, rejoice! There is finally a (relatively) cheap Japanese place for lunch! I popped in to Genki for a weekday lunch and had trouble picking which of the many favourite Japanese comfort-food dishes to pick. In the end chose the tonkatsu udon ($14), which is a big bowl of udon noodles in broth with crumbed, fried pork on top. For this pricepoint, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the broth, although the dish isn’t exactly authentic. I did really enjoy the vegetables served in the broth – snowpeas, broccoli, mushrooms and carrots, plus the liberal sprinkling of not-very-Japanese crispy eschallots. The tonkatsu was nicely crumbed and drizzled with the appropriate sweet sauce, and the serving was really quite generous. I am a sucker for udon noodles, and these were just what I wanted on a chilly afternoon. Plump, soft and chewy, they hit just the right note for comfort food. The service was a bit abrupt (very little explanation of the system – pay and wait for your number to be called), but this is a very welcome addition to the Parliamentary Triangle’s limited dining scene.
Genki, 48 Macquarie Street, Barton ACT