(Chasyu ramen at Ajisen Ramen in Hawthorn)
It is a fact of life that all good things must come to an end. And so my year of maternity leave is over and I am now back at work. As much as I really enjoy working, I have no time to even eat out as much, let alone keeping this blog updated.
But try, I must. And happily, I would like to welcome 2012 with an annoucement that I have found The Best Ramen In Melbourne. So far anyway.
Now I know what you think. Ajisen? Chain ramen? Pah! But really, this Ajisen is so different from all the Ajisen ramen I have had (and I have had them in four different countries including the one in Melbourne CBD).
(Ajisen Hawthorn menu)
We went to Ajisen Ramen in Hawthorn because it is basically the closest ramen joint to us and one weeknight when I have a craving for ramen (I do that), I decided that we should give this new(ish) joint a go. It was rather quiet with only one or two patrons. I suspect that, being near Swinburne University and right at the lobby of UniLodge, it does a bit more roaring trade during the lunch hours.
Ajisen does their ramen Kumamoto style – that is, with tonkotsu broth (rich, white, pork bone broth) that has been cut with a little bit of chicken stock. The result is a lovely well balance broth that, while fairly rich and fragrant with its pork fat glory (yes, I said pork fat glory, get over it), is not so stickly fatty and rich that you feel ill after two spoonfuls (though admittedly I have absolutely no issue putting away a large bowl of one.)
Josh went for the Chasyu ramen ($11) which turned out to be the absolutely correct choice. The broth was delicious. Excellent balance between great flavours and not too salty or rich. The noodle was bitey and firm. The roast pork, or chashu, was so meltingly tender and just so damn perfect. The crunchy wood ear strips provided a great balance of texture. The egg was just a touch too well done for my liking but I’m happy to report that I have been back twice since and the egg is now perfectly soft boiled.
What a great bowl of ramen.
(Volcano ramen – $12?)
Unfortunately for me though, on our first trip, because I was in a mood for spicy ramen, I ordered their Volcano ramen. It was a mistake. The Ajisen volcano sauce in this instance was so overpoweringly spicy and bitter than it completely ruined the dish. (more…)