[LAST VISITED MAY 2013]
Inside Tokyo Ramen reminds us a little of Japan, with a few tables down one wall and a counter with stools facing the kitchen, except in Japan we'd be able to see over the counter and watch the show in the open kitchen. We hear some Japanese being spoken in the kitchen which has a slobbering Pavlov's Dog effect on us.
A trawl of the social whinging sites tells us Tokyo Ramen has been around a few years and has a bunch of long-time fans. We enjoyed our ramen but wouldn't make a special trip across town to go again, though we'd drop by if we happened to be ramen-ously hungry in Horsnby.
The noodles in both of our ramens were outstanding, cooked just so, soft with just the right amount of chew, with that slight buttery flavour ramen noodles sometimes have, the best we've had in a while. The fixings didn't excite us though. The roast pork is tasty but "well done" in style. We much prefer the super tender mouth-melty style of roast pork we find elsewhere, and we reckon a runny soft-boiled egg work much better than a hardboiled googie. Softboiled egg complements the soup whereas a hardboiled overpowers it. But maybe that's just us.
Chasyumen ramen - $9. A clear broth with noodles, pork and a googy egg. It's not a hardcore ramen which suits our hairy tongued hangovers. We like the clear, simple broth, it's almost Chinese in style, refreshing and rehydrating.
Miso chasu men - $10. We weren't so keen on the broth, it was thin and light whereas we're accustomed to miso ramen being thick and rich, a mixture of miso and stock (chicken, fish or pork we think). Perhaps they used a vegetable stock to be healthy, perhaps we caught them on an off-day, who knows, but it didn't seem right on first sip, and we didn't get that magic mid-bowl moment where all the flavours meld, as happens with any good noodle soup. A shame given how good the noodles are. On the upside it's probably a lot less artery clogging than other ramens around town, and there's a fair whack of vegetable goodness in there too.
Chicken balls, from the bainmarie at the front of the shop. A little crunchy on the outside with a squidgy fishball-y, cornflour-y texture in the middle, and an interesting herbal note. It was delicious in a fish'n'chip shop kind of way. Not art but our hangovers sure appreciated it.
[BACK AGAIN MAY 2013]
We didn't like Tokyo Ramen so much on our first visit but thought we should give it another shot because the joint does have it's fans. Cripes we're food nerds aren't we? We didn't like it on the second visit either. We just don't get this place, we hear Japanese being spoken in the kitchen but the ramen tastes very Chinese, and the fried stuff in the bainmarie out front looks very Chinese as well. Mr Shawn thought the noodles were great however, Miss Chicken thought the opposite.
Sadly the miso ramen was how we remembered, the broth tasted very much like a Chinese noodle soup, and the pork was like char siu, sweet Chinese BBQ pork. It's a tasty noodle some but as a ramen it just doesn't cut the
Ditto for the miso ramen with butter and corn, though the big knob of butter was fun.
Tokyo Ramen is in the Westfield Hornsby Shopping Centre, Level 1, Shop 1042 - one escalator ride down from the entry/ground level. Phone (02) 9987 2688.