It’s been a while between ramen hunts. And while hunting in a pack is undoubtedly fun, this ramen hunter usually operates as more of a lone wolf. The problem is, sometimes a lone ramen hunter happens upon a herd of prey too plentiful for his lone stomach. Luckily, this hunter’s stomach is abnormally large.So here is the tale of two ramens, one lunchtime.
I’m not often in the city for lunch anymore, since I stopped working in the middle of our fair metropolis. So when I was recently posted there for training, I knew I had to make the most of all my lunching opportunities. I remembered that there was a little Japanese place in Little Bourke St, not far from where I was doing my training, so I headed down to see if there was any ramen to be had.
395 Little Bourke St, CBD
Phone: 9670 6688
Indeed there was! This little hole-in-the-wall type place, ostensibly known for their sushi, also offers ramen, udon and donburi.
I ordered the ‘meat ramen’ – there’s also seafood ramen. The picture on the board looked like chashu. I was expecting chashu. Did I get chashu? No. I got chicken. Really, sushi deli? Chicken? And not even kara age deep-fried chicken goodness? Things aren’t starting out well.
There was also a goodly amount of corn, a little broccoli, and some rather disappointing seafood extender stick. Ugh. The broth, however, was pretty good. A shoyu style broth, there wasn’t too much MSG, and the flavours were more complex than your basic soy base. It played well off the sweetness of the masses of corn floating around in it.
The noodles themselves were decent – a little springy, though they softened faster than I could slurp them. And I slurp pretty fast, so I would tend to think they were a tad overcooked to begin with.
As I exited Sushi Deli, I noticed little Japanese lanterns hanging a bit further down the street. I went to investigate. I happened upon Ume Sushi House. Not one to shy away from a gustatory challenge, I entered.
Ume Sushi House
385 Little Bourke St, CBD
Phone: 9670 0308
Having just had the ‘meat ramen’, I didn’t want to make that mistake twice. So I opted for the seafood ramen this time. It arrived pretty quickly, and as far as ramen goes, it was quite pretty, with a rainbow of ingredients floating atop the noodles. There was a whole prawn (de-shelled except head and tail), calamari, scallops, corn, nori, and shredded pickled ginger.
The noodles here were again pretty good. The texture was right, and though not quite as springy as I would have liked, they had the unmistakable ramen flavour (due to the alkali pH of the noodle).
The broth was something of a disappointment. It was lacking in real flavour, being pretty much just salty. I had a bit of a moment half-way through the bowl, however, when the sun decided to appear from behind the clouds, like a ramen epiphany:
Unfortunately, the sunlight didn’t make the broth any better.
To see how these two places fared in the grand scheme of CBD ramen, see my original ramen hunt post.