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With winter now well and truly upon us Melburnians, I have noticed a marked increase in my consumption of all things warm and soupy. During one Friday night dinner with J, my bowl of something warm and soupy took on the form of a bowl of ramen noodles at Ramen Ya.
While the venue was quite cosy, possessing limited seating, extensive seating was also available in the outdoors area. Despite the wintery cold, keeping warm in this area would have been hardly a problem thanks to strategically-placed heating units and the donning of the winter coats. However, we opted for a seat indoors due to the improved lighting for taking photos.
Our selection of sides.
Gyoza - pork pan-fried dumplings (seafood option also available).
The gyoza dumplings packed a tad more cabbage than pork, but the flavour was spot on. The dumplings were pan-fried to a perfect extent, adding much crispiness to the dumpling skin.
Chicken karaage - Japanese style fried chicken, with mayonnaise.
The chicken karaage was well-crumbed and seemed more crunchier than usual. The mayo paired well with the fried chicken, while the zestiness from the lemon presence in the mayo helped to balance out the heaviness from the deep fried crumbs and creamy mayo.
Charshu ramen (house specialty) - with sliced marinated pork and tonkatsu (pork) soup base.
Tofu salad - tofu garden salad with house dressing.
The ramen was ordered in a set, which included a cup of green tea and a choice between 3 gyoza or a tofu salad.
The bowl of ramen was an instant hit, and wowed my taste buds from the first bite to last. The similar-to-what-I-had-tried-at-the-Ramen-Museum-in-Japan tonkatsu flavouring in the soup, combined with the slight chewy resistance in the texture of the ramen noodles, took my taste buds on a trip right back to Japan. Or somewhere close to it at least… The thinly-sliced pieces of pork belly were super tender and seemed to ‘melt’ into the soup when consumed.
The house dressing on the tofu salad was quite sweet, but paired well with the fresh salad. The tofu itself was a distinct, cold ‘blob’ that sat on top of the garden salad, and the overall salad could have been improved if the tofu was cut up into smaller pieces and dispersed throughout the salad.
Whole King prawn dumplings, with noodles, in a delicate soup. Served with a side salad. *This dish was offered as a winter special.
For those of you who have tried CP Authentic Asia’s microwave King Prawn Wonton Soup with noodles (available from Costco), the resemblance in taste and composition between the microwave meal and the dish served at Ramen Ya was uncanny. Fortunately, I have always liked the CP Authentic Asia version (the soup is quite flavoursome and the wonton skin is particularly delicate), and was happy with my meal selection.
Ramen Ya serves a decent ramen, with its rich and authentic flavours sitting close enough to the quality of ramen dishes that comes out of the ramen kitchens in Japan. Either that or I need to return to Japan some time soon to ‘refresh’ my taste buds…
Shop 25G, Melbourne GPO
Bourke St/Elizabeth St
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.