One of my favourite places to purchase bottled beer (and get a growler fill) is Slowbeer in Hawthorn. If you’ve been reading this blog, that’s no secret. The owner, Chris, had this magnificent idea: to have a lambic tasting. So much radness!
Tristan and I didn’t get time to have dinner before the tasting, so we decided to grab a quick bite to eat very literally across the road at a Japanese eatery called Ocha2go. We both decided to get ramen.
I had a bowl of the soy ramen – a vegetarian bowl. Excellent amount of menma, shittake and bean shoots, though sadly the latter was not overly fresh. Also lots of wakame, mmm! As far as decent ramen goes, this ain’t it but it’s an ace bowl of noodles.
Would Tristan’s pork and kimchi ramen be any closer to approaching authentic ramen? Again, sadly no. Spicy broth and quite flavoursome, but not ramen. A good ‘fusion’ bowl of noodles perhaps? The meat was a little on the limp, lacklustre side.
No matter, still we guzzled them down at record speed, ready to fill ourselves with all the delight that Brett and co. had to offer. There were lots of other enticing items on the menu at Ocha2go so despite the ramen experience not being the finest, I’m still going back to test the rest of the menu!
Sigh. Melbourne. Raining like almighty feck. Just another wintry day*. What could make the day better? Ramen. From a shop no bigger than a hole in the wall.
Menya is located en route to Melbourne Central train station and it’s really bloody small. A shame, given that it serves semi-decent ramen. It’s not really a sit-and-have-an-existential-crisis kind of joint, it’s more of a eat-and-fucking-get-out-you-decadent-Western-swine one. This isn’t actually a problem.
Like two stoned and/or drunk teenagers, guts ruled over the higher faculties. T and I sniggered like Beavis and Butthead and insisted that the gyoza pizza was mandatory. No, never mind that a bowl of ramen was on the way. We were intent on gorging like those wacky Romans (minus the bulimia and worms). Behold – it is a work of pure, meaty beauty.
Yes, yes, it’s not really a pizza. However, after sharing one of these bad boys, you won’t have a gyoza craving for a month at least. As far as gyoza go, these are really good. Beautiful, crispy dumpling skins as you can see, and a generous amount of meat filling them. I used to get told off for filling gyoza skins not even this generously when I worked as a Japanese restaurant waitress.
There was a bit of a wait for food and the idea was that the gyoza ‘pizza’ would be for starters. There wasn’t actually much time between that and the arrival of our chosen bowls of ramen.
I chose the pork ramen. Surprise, surprise. I was actually hit with a wave of existential nausea over the plethora of ramen choices, so went with a good old friend. Indeed, @cookinwithgoths might like to know that I am not one of those dickheads who doesn’t eat pork. Under the pretence of making my dinner healthier, I ordered it to be topped with menma. Actually, I lie: I love menma and don’t get many occasions to eat it.
The chashu was thickly sliced and generous in supply. This is ramen I’d return for.
T had the Menya ramen – kind of like an everything ramen: seafood and pork. The eggs looked like those I lust after on the ramen blogs I read, minus the soy-soaked tinge.
At Menya, you can choose what broth you want for most bowls, but I don’t believe that option was available for ours. Judging by the opaqueness of broth in the ramen we ordered, I’d say it was possibly a tonkotsu-type broth?
T also informs me he’s become an expert at slurping down a takeaway ramen as he travels home on the train. Alas, that is a skill I’ve yet to master.
*Melburnian winter reserves the right to make itself known outside the designated period known as ‘winter’ and will continue to do so until further notice. In the meantime, read your horoscope: it’s probably more useful than consulting a meteorologist.
Entertaining Kathleen in humble old Melbourne-town was not just yet done – she was suffering a good deal thanks to the cold and it came up in conversation that a bowl of ramen was just the thing to help. Initially, Ramen Ya was mentioned, but I recalled that I Eat Therefore I Am and Tummyrumbles had mentioned DonToo, the more elegant sibling of DonDon on Swanston Street.
But first, some drinks. A serve of sake will set you back $3.50.
Don’t want cheap alcohol (they have beer too)? Then go for some green tea.
Because K had never had ramen before, I recommended she get the kura ramen – first one on the menu. Chashu, nori squares and crisp vegies. Oh, and the egg! It was brown with a nice soggy yolk, just like I’ve seen on some of the Japanese ramen blogs I read!
Tristan had the chashu ramen which is kura plus more slices of chashu. It looks very similar to the above, so I won’t post a picture. I opted for a seafood soup based one – the asari ramen. Yep, pippis and bean sprouts galore.
We were all given the choice of thin or thick noodles and all went with thin which I’d actually recommend against. I prefer thick noodles to soak up my soup.
What a wonderful quick dinner. Time to head back into the Melbourne chill and secure a seat for the one MIFF film I got to see. Hope we don’t have to line up for seats!