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The Ramen Diaries: On Ramen revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews. On Ramen was probably the last contender on the list – we wanted to visit seven places after visiting 14 for the first round.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Opaque milky broth, thin.

Price: $11.50 (Tonkotsu) or $13.50 (Tenderous rib)

Noodles: Average size serve, cooked well.

Meat: Delicious sweet tenderous pork rib.

Toppings:  Tamago – one half egg, with a nice flavour on the outside. Seaweed and scallions. Tender, sweet bamboo shoots.

Setting: Little restaurant on Hay Street.

On Ramen tenderous pork rib

On Ramen tenderous pork rib

Overall thoughts: I wanted to try On Ramen a second time to get a feel for the tonkotsu now that I’d tried so many others. The broth is a little garlicky, as I mentioned on the previous visit, and overpowers the pork flavour – maybe the pork flavour isn’t strong enough. If you’re adventurous, go try the ramen burger.

Remember that this rating list includes only the establishments which were good enough to revisit, so only 7 out of the original 14.

If you’re up for it, go to Gumsharas for the thickest tonkotsu around, or check out Ikkyu for their deliciously fishy paitan broth. Check out Menya or Ichi Ban Boshi for some tasty tonkotsu with great toppings and decent lighter broth.

Honourable mentions, for those not on the list, are Hakata-Maru and Ramen Zundo. Steer clear of Tenkomori, Ajisen, Goshu and Condor. Try On Ramen’s tenderous pork rib and Ramen Kan’s awesome side dishes. Last of all, if you want to drop a $20 on your ramen go to Ippudo.

Overall rating:

1. Gumshara & Ikkyu

2. Menya

3. Ichi-Ban Boshi

4. Ramen Kan

5. Ippudo

6. On Ramen

On Ramen on Urbanspoon

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The Ramen Diaries: Ichi-Ban Boshi revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews. Ichi-Ban Boshi is a special case. I didn’t enjoy my first bowl of ramen, but I knew I had to go back and try the tonkotsu broth, as it gets a pretty good rap around the internets.
For my second visit to Ichi-Ban Boshi I ordered the tonkotsu.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Tasty, salty pork broth. Thick – Menya thick, not Gumshara thick. Opaque but clear broth.

Price: $11.90

Noodles: Nice noodles with a good amount of chew. Quite a large serve.

Meat: Tasty chashu.

Toppings:  Tamago – one half egg, softboiled and tasty. Seaweed and scallions.

Setting: Busy restaurant upstairs in the Galeries.

Ichi Ban Boshi Tonkotsu

Ichi Ban Boshi Tonkotsu

Overall thoughts: Go to Ichi-Ban Boshi for the tonkotsu. I didn’t feel their other ramen offerings were up to scratch. It was a huge serve – did not finish. Enjoyable, solid bowl of ramen that has the basic toppings. Will knock you out. Only serves 30 bowls of tonkotsu ramen per day.

Remember that this rating list includes only the establishments which were good enough to revisit, so only 6 out of the original 14.

Ratings so far:

1. Gumshara & Ikkyu

2. Menya & Ichi-Ban Boshi (How can I choose?! May have to revisit…)

3. Ramen Kan

4. Ippudo

Ichi-ban Boshi on Urbanspoon

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The Ramen Diaries: Menya Noodle Bar revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews.
For my second visit to Menya Noodle Bar, I went for the black garlic tonkotsu. It’s good stuff.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Good pork flavour with a mid thickness broth.

Price: $11.90?

Noodles: Average sized serve. Curly and cooked well.

Meat: Tasty chashu, but nothing exciting.

Toppings:  Tamago – one half egg, softboiled and tasty. Seaweed, scallions and the pink and white swirly things.

Setting: Little restaurant off of Market St that gets packed pretty early in the lunch hour.

Menya Tonkotsu

Menya black garlic tonkotsu

Overall thoughts: Menya Noodle Bar is highly rated around the blogosphere and it gets really busy. It’s a decent bowl that doesn’t get tiresome until you get near the bottom.

Ratings so far:

1. Gumshara & Ikkyu

2. Menya

3. Ramen Kan

4. Ippudo

 

Menya Noodle Bar on Urbanspoon

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The Ramen Diaries: Ramen Kan revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews.
For my second visit to Ramen Kan, I went for the same bowl as last time, tonkotsu.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Thin, not overly salty, good pork flavour.

Price: $10.90

Noodles: Average sized serve. Thicker with the ability to hold liquid. Maybe a little overcooked.

Meat: Three slices of chashu. Decent.

Toppings:  Tamago – one half egg, hardboiled and plain. Spring onions, bean sprouts, carrot shavings.

Setting: Upstairs from Cold Rock. Spacious restaurant.

Tonkotsu

Tonkotsu

Garlic miso

Garlic miso

 

 

Overall thoughts: Ramen Kan offers a decent bowl of tonkotsu. The serving size is a little less generous than Gumshara and Ikkyu. The broth is a thin liquid that is luckily not overly salted like some. The spring onions are a little too generous and it comes over strong. I feel that if I were looking for a decent bowl of tonkotsu in that area, I’d still go for Gumshara. If you want a lighter lunch, however, Ramen Kan is exactly what you’re looking for.

Ratings so far:

1. Gumshara & Ikkyu

2. Ramen Kan

3. Ippudo


Ramen-Kan on Urbanspoon

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The Ramen Diaries: Ikkyu revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews.
For my second visit to Ramen Ikkyu, I went for the same bowl as last time, Ikkyu Shoyu. It’s too hard to go past a winner. My dining partner also went for the same dish – the Seaweed ramen with paitan broth.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Thick, deep flavour of fish and chicken. Paitan broth is to Ikkyu what Tonkotsu broth is to Gumshara. If you’re into soup with deep, complex flavours then this is where you want visit.

Price: $10.50

Noodles: Thin and fairly straight. Generous serve. Free kaedama available (t&c apply)

Meat: Three slices of pork belly. Delicious sweet flavour. One piece was slightly chewy.

Toppings: Bamboo shoots – best so far, crispy, sweet. Tamago – one half egg, sweet on the outside with a soft slightly running yolk. Spring onions, spicy black fungus, and bean sprouts. Beautiful presentation.

Setting: Dixon St Food court – not quite enough tables but nice surroundings.

Ikkyu Shoyu

Ikkyu Shoyu

As you can see, my delicious paitan broth with soy sauce, covered in quality toppings, filled with noodles…

Ikkyu Seaweed

Ikkyu Seaweed

If you like seaweed, you’ll love this dish!

Overall thoughts: Ramen Ikkyu shines in a sea of otherwise mediocre ramen. The head chef comes from Blancharu. He started this business because he really believes in it – and that shines through. This is not ramen slopped into a bowl to appease the masses, it’s a fantastic meal that leaves you both full – bursting at the seams – and wishing you could eat more! the complimentary Kaedama doesn’t help one bit!

I’m rating Gumshara and Ikkyu together. Ikkyu’s toppings are better but at the end of the day, the most important part of ramen is really the broth and noodles. These guys do the broth and noodles so well that I think they deserve to sit at the top of the ladder. I’m not sure why Ikkyu’s ratings are still so low. I’m assuming it’s competitors. It’s a bit sad, really, as they do a wonderful bowl of ramen. Don’t let ratings put you off.

Ratings so far:

1. Gumshara & Ikkyu

2. Ippudo


Ramen Ikkyu on Urbanspoon

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The Ramen Diaries: Ippudo revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews.
For my second visit to Ippudo, I chose from the seasonal menu, a $15 chicken/bonito broth with chicken meat and tamago. I’ll review the black garlic/miso/tonkotsu, however.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Thin, creamy, smooth. Slight warmth from the miso paste. Nice flavour.

Price: $16

Noodles: Thin, slightly hard. Straight.

Meat: One slice of pork belly. Light on flavour.

Toppings: Pork belly, shallots, miso paste ball, nori. Optional: sesame seeds. Optional cost: Egg ($2.00) etc

Setting: Westfield Food Court, level 4. Closed in restaurant, busy, cramped feel.

 

Seasonal Special Ippudo

Seasonal Special Ippudo

Overall thoughts: Salt is not a substitute for flavour. I prefer thicker broths, or broth with more “body”. Price IS important to me.

Ratings so far:

1. Gumshara

2. Ippudo

Ippudo Sydney on Urbanspoon

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Newstar Revisited

We’re big fans of Newstar Takeaway.

Duck and Bamboo shoot Soup

Duck and bamboo shoot soup

The duck and bamboo shoot soup was great, delicately flavoured although the slippery noodles were hard to control for some – luckily forks are available!

BBQ chicken and rice noodle salad

BBQ chicken and rice noodle salad

My rice vermicelli salad really hit the spot, with generous toppings and a light, fresh flavour.

The price is great, the place is small but in a good way, and it never gets so loud that it’s hard to hold a conversation. Highly recommended for pho, noodle soups, bun and combination rice, if you’re in the Balmain area!

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The Ramen Diaries: Gumshara revisited

It’s now time for round two, the review of the best reviews.
For my second visit to Gumshara, I chose the straight Tonkotsu, passing over the black garlic.
I’ve included a review table for this round of reviews, so you know exactly what you’re getting yourself into at each establishment.

Broth: Thick, creamy, smooth, unctuous. It’s a broth for hardcore pork fans.

Price: $10.50, $1.50 to add the perfect egg. Black garlic version is $11.50 (plus $1.50 for egg!)

Noodles: Thick, chewy. Good at picking up broth.

Meat: Tasty, generous serve of chashu. Not cold.

Toppings: Chashu, bamboo shoots, spring onions. Optional: pickled garlic, pickled ginger, garlic flakes. Optional cost: Egg etc

Setting: Food Court – Eating World, Haymarket.

Overall recommendation: Gumshara does a mean tonkotsu. It’s highly recommended – not just by me, but by many others. It’s enjoyable but it’s not for the faint hearted. Be prepared for pork. Lots of pork.

Gumshara Tonkotsu

Gumshara Tonkotsu

Gumshara Black Garlic Tonkotsu

Gumshara Black Garlic Tonkotsu


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