You may have noticed, but ramen is kinda having a moment right now. Seriously, you can’t escape its soupy, noodly grasp, no matter where you go in Melbourne right now. Might have something to do with the city experiencing Arctic-level cold snaps.
It’s not just new ramen joints popping up (hey there, IPPUDO), some of Melbourne’s greatest dining institutions have started slinging ramen bowls. You know the deal—three’s a trend.
Ramblr | Tonkatsu Ramen
This is one we’re super excited about (TBF we’re excited about most things ramen-related). Over in Prahran, Nick Stanton and the crew at Ramblr have upped their ante, introducing a lunch menu stocked full of mouth-watering ramen. You need more than the average 30-minute lunch break to properly savour these bad boys.
Personally? We’re ordering the Tonkatsu every day. Scallion sofrito bean shoots, 24-hour pork stock emulsified with pork fat, and katsuobushi thin-sliced soft braised pork belly. Does it get any better? Veggos will head for the 'Shrooman'—Shitake and kombu dashi, emulsified with Portobello mushroom puree, miso + peanut butter scallion sofrito (!!!), bean shoots and chilli oil. Who are we kidding? We’re getting both.
Supernormal Canteen | Fried Chicken Ramen
You know things are getting serious when Supernormal get involved. This Winter, Andrew McConnell is hopping on the bandwagon (or…getting back on it) by bringing back his much-loved ramen. This one used to only be available at Supernormal in the CBD, and only when the chefs have been feeling it (it’s never officially been on the menu).
That’s all changing this year: over at Supernormal you’ll see a white-soy infused chicken broth ladled over a bed of noodles with soy egg, prawn and chicken dumplings, grilled chicken and togarashi. Make your way down to Supernormal Canteen though, and you can slurp up a bowl of ramen with fried chicken instead, plus a side of pickles. Even better, both bowls are sticking around all of winter.
Tokyo Tina | Smoked Brisket Ramen
It’s a Melbourne institution all about modern, delicious, Japenese food—as if Tokyo Tina wasn’t going to show up with a ramen set to blow everyone away. This Winter they’re introducing smoked brisket and black pepper ramen into the mix, inspired by their head chef’s recent acquisition of a ‘Bradley Smoker’ (and resulting obsession with anything and everything smoked). Cue Masterchef 2017 flashbacks, amiright?
It may have been a self-present, but we’re the real winners here. Smoked and sliced beef brisket, Black Tare (that’s a mix of soy, mirin, sugar and dashi), ramen egg, baby bok choy and leek—we haven’t stopped drooling since we first heard the news. It’s getting kinda gross.
Get your ramen on at any of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants.
Image credit: Annika Kafcaloudis