Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ramen Ya, Melbourne CBD by Big Fil

We all have secrets which we choose to keep hidden away, slightly embarrassing things we would prefer others not to know. One of mine was that I was a ramen virgin before visiting Ramen Ya. There I've said it. Do I feel free or empowered? Not really, but I did enjoy my first experience of this Japanese noodle soup.

Ramen Ya kind of reminds me of Camy's in Chinatown. While well known and busy it's tucked away in a fairly obscure laneway and you could easily pass it many times and never realise it was there. For lunch on a wet and windy Wednesday we were relegated to a laneway table and were lucky to get that; on a better day we may have had to queue for a seat. The cute, concave seats are prettyclose together and while this would normally annoy me I didn't mind it so much here. I suspect it was because everyone was concentrating on their food and it didn't feel like we were stuck in the middle of a whirlwind of conversations. Hard to know whether it's normally like that or the weather had resulted in only serious ramenites coming out to eat.

The two main eating options are ramen (obviously) and bento boxes, with three or four options for each. Pick what you want, decide whether to go for the optional gyoza/salad or tea, collect your number and try to find a seat. Ordering didn't strike me as being as quick and efficient as some other similar style places around town but it did feel a bit more personalised when the staff taking the order (and later delivering the food) was willing to take a moment to assist rather than just rushing to deal with the next order.

Given Snooze was interested in trying one of the Bento boxes I headed for a ramen - seafood gyoza with the pork (tonkotsu?) broth - as well as the optional gyoza and tea. So, how was my first bowl of ramen? Things I liked about it were the generous size, the richly flavoured broth, the tasty gyoza and the nicely cooked and so 'springy' noodles. On the other hand the broth was quite salty, it could have been a bit more generous with the ingredients and the gyoza were a bit awkward to handle, disintegrating as I tried to pick them up out of the soup. So while I don't have anything to compare it to overall I thought it was pretty good but not amazing.

That's probably a fair description of Snooze's Bento box as well. From what I tried the teriyaki chicken was well cooked, moist and tender and not overpowered by the accompanying sauce, the rice nicely fluffy. As with the broth it could probably have been a touch warmer but the taste was good. One thing worthy of comment is the presentation of the dishes, loved both the lidded box the bento come with and the large wooden spoon to drink the soup.

To finish off I decided to go with the green tea ice cream. It's often a bit hit or miss, even bitter on some unfortunate occasions, but I thought this was nicely balanced without being too sweet and the accompanying chocolate filled stick looked and tasted good.

It's funny, despite the weather, the food taking longer than expected to come out and the cramped seating we both enjoyed our lunch here. Part of that could have been the novelty as neither of us are typically routine eaters of Japanese cuisine, but I think it also reflects the food being quite good given that you can grab a large bowl of soup or Bento box for a tenner. Also, polite and attentive (if a little slow) service always goes a long way with me.

Food - 7.5
Service - 7
Ambience - 6.5
Price - 7

Shop 25G Melbourne GPO
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel: (03) 9654 5838

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon


katy_em said...

this looks much better. did you have a good time?
xo newintstudents blog

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Benny had been there before seperately as well and liked it too.


katy_em said...

i think there is another one on bourke st somewhere close to Parliament station. are you willing to give this a go?
xo: newintstudents blog

Lumiere noire said...

If you go again make sure you get the chashu tonkotsu ramen, I find it much better than the gyoza ramen :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Kate-Em.

Do you know where on Bourke Street?


I'll try the chashu next time, although it may be a little while. My list of places to try always seems to get longer, not shorter.


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