Way back when, before the Lawyer was a lawyer and Bureaucrat was not yet a bureaucrat, the Lawyer and I used to go to Ajisen Ramen on Bourke Street (near Parliament) for a cheap, good meal. But after a while, alot more restaurants popped up in the city and we sort of stopped going to AR.
There's now a relatively new AR located near Melb Central, which Snooze reviewed back in June 2012. However, not too long ago, one opened up in Glen Waverley.
And on one night, the Lawyer and I caught up with Ms W for dinner. Inside it's kinda bland. Brown walls with dark tables. It's a narrow space, but they do the best they can. Having said that, it feels a bit 'cold' to me.
For drinks, green tea for the Lawyer and Ms W. I went for a root beer float.
For entrees to share, we ordered deep fried octopus. Quite a generous serve and not oily or over-salted.
Also we got my favourite takoyaki - also a very generous serve (there's about eight). Surprisingly, I have to say that this is one of the best takoyaki I've eaten. The flour batter that encases the octopus was perfectly smooth (but I suspect it may be mashed potatoes as it was really smooth), and inside had a plump piece of octopus. What I really liked was the very generous layer of bonito flakes (You can hardly see the takoyaki!) - most places tend to be stingy with it, but not here.
For mains, the Lawyer went for the gyoza ramen - perfect for the cold night.
I went for another favourite, the unagi don. I couldn't fault this - a big fillet of eel with the lovely smoky flavour from the marinade.
Ms W opted for a small serve of kim chi fried rice...
...and the miso grilled eggplant (which is another favourite Japanese dish of mine). It looked so good that a few days later, when I was back at AR for lunch, I ordered this for myself.
Speaking of which, at the lunch, we also ordered a small serve of fried rice for Bubba Chuck. Once again, I was quite surprised at how good it was. Incredible wok hei (impressive steam kept wafting out of the rice), with nice grains of rice and pieces of egg.
Mr P went for the katsu curry. The presentation for this was kinda messy - it looks like everything was just plopped onto the plate. I don't know much about katsu curry, but I wasn't expecting to see that much carrot (if any) in this dish.
Last but not least, Beaker went for the deep fried tofu ramen. Similar with the other ramen, lots of ingredients (the seaweed, the perfectly poached egg) and garnishes.
Chain restaurants are often a safe bet. However, you often lose out with quality. But I have to say, this wasn't the case for AR (at least at the Glen Waverley restaurant - I think Snooze wasn't too impressed with the one at Melb Central).
Very generous serves and pretty good in quality and cooking. Service is good and quick.
Food - 8.5
Ambience - 6.5
Service - 7
Price - 7
Glen Waverley 3150
Telephone: 9560 9018