In an underneath-the-train-station-like passageway, I see some flags with the word “ramen” written in katakana – ラーメン. We enter a small shop and hear a warm welcome: irasshaimase!
It is amazing how with just one step into the shop we instantly feel transported to Japan. Japanese music in the speakers, baskets for belongings by every table and Japanese menu hanging on the wall – it all looks right and very familiar. Brings to mind those ramen bars at Tokyo Station and small restaurants beneath the station in Osaka. As I flick through a Japanese newspaper I have to keep reminding myself that I’m still in Melbourne.
The menu isn’t overly complicated – you have a choice of several types of broth – tonkotsu, shoyu (soy), miso, spicy tonkotsu and a couple of different toppings – charsu, teriyaki charsu, beef, spicy chicken and seafood. You can add extra toppings and even ask for free extra noodles.
The noodles are made in-house daily and are great but the whole magic is in the broth. It’s cooked for 10 hours (of which 5 hours consist of stirring continuously). The consistency is beautiful – not too thick, but also not diluted. And it’s full of flavour.
Our first visit to Mr Ramen San was quickly followed by another. Hubby’s favourite, which he tried on both occasions, is the teriyaki charsu tonkotsu with pork slices that melt in your mouth. I’ve tried the signature charsu tonkotsu and beef miso ramen – both were great and comforting, but it’s the charsu tonkotsu that is the winner for me. The miso ramen is a little bit more rich and salty, which by the end was too much for me (maybe I should give it another chance and order it with a glass of beer next time…).
I actually can’t wait for colder days, just so I can have an excuse to go for a hot bowl of ramen. Spicy tonkotsu, I’m coming for you next.
Address: Midcity Arcade, Shop 12, 200 Bourke Street, ground floor