Ramen Ya

Shop 25G Melbourne GPO, 350 Bourke St Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 1st April 2012

Ramen Ya literally means ramen shop.  Opened in 2007, it is located at Melbourne's GPO building right next to Kenzan.

MerlinFan and I came here for lunch this Sunday, to find that it was not opened yet.  There were already two groups of people waiting outside - a good sign, I guess.  One of the shop staff happened to come along and saw us - he told us they would be opened in a few minutes.  A girl came not long after and opened the large glass doors for us.

MerlinFan and I chose to have the Ramen set, which was your own choice of ramen with three pieces of gyoza or salad, and served with Japanese green tea - all of which was part of a very good deal for only $14.  With your ramen, you could choose between three broths, tonkotsu (pork), shoyu (chicken and soy) or miso base and your toppings of charshu (sliced marinated pork), tsukune (minced chicken), gyoza (pork dumplings), seafood gyoza or kimchi (charshu and spicy vegetable pickles).

Our hot Japanese teas came in these beautiful cups.  
 As soon as we lifted the lids, we noticed something curious.  There was a tea strainer inside!
Being a moron as usual, I lifted the strainer out and stuffed it back in quickly without thinking, and the hot water in the cup gushed out and flooded the table!  >:D  Funnily enough, the family behind me did the exact same thing, flooding their table LOL.  Needless to say, there were a few people skulking sheepishly to the counter for paper towels @_@

Now, Ramen Ya used genmaicha, which was Japanese green tea blended with toasted brown rice.  It was warm and hearty, with a beautiful savoury, roast quality that I love in green tea.

I just had to try their house speciality, the Tonkotsu ramen with charshu and gyoza.  MerlinFan tried the Tsukune ramen (minced chicken) with miso broth and salad - I was glad she tried this, because this was the other option I would have loved to sample myself.

My gyoza was hot, crispy and had delicate thin skin with a meaty, gingery filling.  

The Tonkotsu ramen came with charshu, seaweed, narutomaki, bamboo shoots and half a boiled egg.  There was also some sort of pickled ginger which I felt didn't really go with the dish.  The first thing I noticed about my ramen was the noodles.  Ramen comes in various shapes and lengths and this ramen looked very much spaghetti noodles.  

The star of the dish was definitely the charshu.  The pork stewed in soy-sauce really melted in your mouth and although it was paper thin, there was quite a good amount of them.  

The tonkotsu broth (made from boiling pork bones over many hours to infuse the broth with that deep flavour) had a cloudy appearance and a rich, creamy consistency.  It was on the salty side - being a salt-freak, I really enjoyed it at first, but towards the end it got so salty that even I was literally like Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince, begging for "water!" <smack lips a few times> after drinking the mind-altering potion to get the Horcrux locket.

The salad consisted of tofu, vegetables, tomato, cucumber and topped with puree.  It was cool, fresh and juicy and MerlinFan really enjoyed it.

As for the ramen, MerlinFan's miso broth didn't quite taste like regular miso soup - it had a different, almost familiar taste that I couldn't quite put my finger on.  MerlinFans said she couldn't really taste the minced chicken as it was overpowered by the broth.  

Overall, the ramen was pretty average - portions were good and for a price reasonable.  I however, doubt I would be back, not unless I want to have another Dumbledore ramen experience.

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon
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