Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hakata Gensuke (by invitation), Hawthorn by Obelix

The ramen at Hakata Gensuke is oft spoken of in revered tones among ramen aficionados.  Queues of ramen hungry patrons are frequently seen outside the HG in Melbourne CBD hanging for a fix.  See Bureaucrat's post on HG, CBD here.

I was so excited to hear that a Hawthorn branch of Hakata Gensuke has opened!  And I was thrilled to be invited to try the new items on the menu exclusive to the Hawthorn branch.


My dear friend M and I were treated to a few entrees to whet the appetite.  We could not forgive ourselves if we did not eat the chicken kaarage, succulent spiced chicken morsels crumbed and fried, and gyoza, delicate little dumplings filled with pork and veggies and pan fried to crispy perfection.

Then came the raison d'etre, the ramen.  When it comes to ramen, it's all about the broth.  I understand the broth at Hakata Gensuke has been simpered for over eight hours until it becomes a full bodied collagenic experience.  The broth seems to me to inhabit a nominal state between a liquid and a solid, it was so dense and lovely.

The Aka Tonkotsu ramen is exclusive to Hawthorn.  It is a delicious blend of spicy cod roe with the original tonkutsu (pork) broth and served with the traditional cha-su (pork) and noodles.  My friend M, being someone who could take the heat, very much enjoyed the Aka Tonkotsu and recommended it for any fellow chilli heads.

I, on the other hand am I chilli wimp and opted for the black tonkotsu which was the basic tonkotsu broth blended with a black sesame paste.  It was sublime.  The sesame lended a further depth of flavour to the broth.  I could swim in it, it was so divine.  The cha su was melt-in-the-mouth tender.

As a companion to our ramen, we sampled the Mentai rice, another exclusive to the Hawthorn branch.  It was Japanese pearl rice topped with spicy cod roe, the mentai and surrounded by crispy shards of nori.

Any ramen connoisseur would say that the accoutrements are almost just as important as the main event. HG offers a selection of pickles, garlic paste, sesame seeds, dipping sauces to further enhance the noodle experience.

For drinks we sampled a selection of Japanese beverages.  M had the famous 'pop soda' with the glass bead gimmick and the fizzy yoghurt drink, Calpico.

I went the clean green tea option, served cold in a can.

Here are a few shots to demonstrate the ambience of Hakata Gensuke Hawthorn edition.  It is a casual and contempory fitout, perfect for informal dining with family and friends and located so conveniently along the Glenferrie Road strip.

Verdict:  We loved it.

Like the HG in the CBD, HG Hawthorn does not disappoint, offering authentic ramen experience for Melbournians.  HG Hawthorn has addition menu items, namely the Aka Tonkotsu and Mentai rice which are both definitely worth sampling.  Thank you Hakata Gensuke for the invite to the opening of the Hawthorn branch.

Hakata Gensuke Ramen Professionals Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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