Thursday, 19 July 2007

Ramen Kan

Are you prepared to risk your life for the ultimate thrill? I hate to put things up on a pedestal, but ever since my first visit to this inconveniently situated Japanese restaurant, it’s hard not to. I’m not lying when this is the pinnacle of casual Japanese dining. It’s Pat Rafter in his prime, the total package. Earthy aesthetics and soft lighting create an informal yet classy designer feel.

The menu keeps up the standard. A seasonal (summer and winter) menu accompanies the regular so there’s always something new. From the normal menu, the karage entrée and karage don are a must, succulent pieces of deep fried chicken thigh fillet, with Japanese mayo and sweet chilli for dipping. Still the best I’ve had in Australia. Unagi is standard, deftly sweet soy and mirin marinade takes a slightly charred taste from the grilling of the eel. The agedashi tofu is lightly fried to leave the inside pillowy soft, the batter helps to soak up the light soy and mirin it swims in. Kaisen don is a stalwart and one of my favourites, great value with a generous amount of quality chopped salmon and tuna sashimi drizzled with Japanese mayo. So simple yet so satisfying. From the new menu, the wasabi tofu has two purposes: tasting good and flushing out the head and nose. The negi-miso tonkotsu ramen has a roasted miso flavour that’s strong and powerful, not for the feint hearted or nauseous. Now, think history’s top combinations. Batman and Robin, Torvill and Dean, Milli Vanilli, Bert and Ernie. That’s what you get with the Curry Cheese Karage Chicken, my favourites on one plate. A healthy dose of thick, quality, full bodied Japanese curry smothering the gorgeous chicken pieces and grilled tasty cheese on top... my knees buckle just thinking about it.

To reach all this, you must negotiate the dodgy lift which claims to have room for nine bodies (flat piled on top of the other?). It’s a number closer to three and there are fears if the rattly construction of steel will hold together. If you suffer claustrophobia or someone puking your Onitsuka Tigers, you may struggle. Do you have the courage to do it? I assure you, it’s well worth it and always a fun experience bringing unsuspecting friends along for the adventure. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, eat your heart out.

4 / 5 yums!


Where? 90 Hay St, Haymarket

What? Average Entrée - $6, Main - $10

Left to Right : Pork and Kim Chi ramen, Karage don, Unagi Don, Agedashi Tofu, Wasabi Tofu, Takoyaki, Karage, Negi-Miso Tonkotsu Ramen, Seafood and Kim Chi stone pot, Curry Cheese Karage Chicken Don, Kaisen Don

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