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Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen

A few weeks ago (mm yeah that blogger backlog) we were invited to the soft launch of a new ramen place.

There are so many places in the CBD that do ramen, I was intrigued to see if there would be anything special about it.

IMG_2286 copyIt’s underground on Russell St and and it’s the hard-to-find, underground nature that often adds to that cool-factor in Melbourne city.

IMG_2297 copy The layout of the place was pretty impressive. There were quite a few tables, a bar and a bench along the area where you could see staff preparing ramen.

There were also private rooms and some sliding doors with awesome Japanese-themed art, leading to more seats hidden away.

IMG_2299 copyWe were presented with menus to choose our ramen base, noodle texture and more, but we were told not to worry about the toppings as all would be provided.

We were then advised that we had to wait a while to have our ramen served along the counter, so we sat at a normal table in the meantime.

IMG_2287 copyThey served us a few drinks including the above sake. I am very much a lightweight and the last time I had sake I was pink for the rest of the night – but this felt very light in comparison and drinkable.

IMG_2291 copyIt’s not just ramen on offer, as they have tapas dishes on the menu too. We were given some tastes of the Yakimeshi (Japanese fried rice), gyoza (dumplings) and karaage (fried chicken) whilst we waited.

IMG_2304 copySurprisingly for such a simple dish, a lot of people were impressed by the fried rice. The chicken and gyoza helped tease our bellies as we waited, but they are standard dishes that don’t stand out too much from other Japanese places.

IMG_2301 copyWe continued to wait. We arrived at perhaps 6.30pm and waited more than an hour. As the wait game continued, we were offered another Japanese drink – choya. Most Japanese alcoholic beverages are often too strong but once again this was light and a little fragrant/fruity. Loved the balancing glass too!

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We started to get a little confused. An entire restaurant full of people was present for the soft launch but most of them were waiting to eat their bowl of ramen at the few seats at the counter. We asked whether this would be a permanent feature, but they said it was just for that night.

We were continuously offered more fried rice and karaage but it didn’t help much. I hope they re-think this if they ever need to launch another store.

We were finally given a seat around 8pm. It was not quite at the six seats at the counter but to the right of the action.

IMG_2314 copyThe only reason I could think of for wanting to have us sit at these seats was to see the kitchen action. But surely you could see that by just wondering around the restaurant.

IMG_2318 copyAh, but finally the ramen came out. Despite the strangely structured night, the real importance was the taste of the ramen broth.

IMG_2323 copyI ordered the original tonkotsu, because I thought the standard and popular (pork-bone) broth would be the best way to test out this joint. I like ramen and am no ramen expert, but I felt the pork flavour was not as strong as it could be. I didn’t mind the soup with its light flavour, but a little more depth would do it for me.

Meanwhile @the.adventouriist got the yuzu tonkotsu – a chef-recommended dish that I’ve never seen before. It’s flavoured with yuzukosyu, a spice, and it definitely had a tangy kick to the soup.

IMG_2324 copyI still preferred my original tonkotsu as the yuzu was a bit odd for my liking. I am yet to try Hakata Gensuke down the road, supposedly the closest to authentic that it can get, but I have heard many people express they prefer Ikkoryu now.

I think deep down I am happy with a Shoyu (soy sauce-base) ramen!

I bumped into a foodie friend at this event who said the place is owned by his Indonesian friend. The name is actually a franchise that has many stores in Asia, so we’ll see how successful they are here. There are so many ramen places in Melbourne, it’s getting a little congested, but perhaps the Yuzu ramen will make this place stand out.

Meanwhile, here’s a little video featuring snippets of the soft launch and some words from the top dogs at Ikkoryu about opening their first store in a Western country.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen – Launch video from Robin Christian on Vimeo.

You can find Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen in the Basement at 27 Russell St, Melbourne CBD. Check out their menu and trading hours here.

Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen on Urbanspoon

 

*Mon’s Adventure was invited as a guest to dine at Ikkoryu Fukuoka. All opinions are my own.
Photos by myself and @the.adventouriist



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