Motenashi Kuroki

  饗 くろ喜 ー Motenashi Kuroki . The highly ranked and popular ramen – ya near Akihabara (though Asakusabashi station is closer if you’re going by train). Not to be mistaken with Murasaki Kuroki 紫くろ喜 the concept store selling duck soup base shoyu ramen that they transform into every Friday only . The standard ramen here is their shio clear soup base , which is what I got , but Kuroki is famed for always changing things up and offering special ramen , hiyashi chuka and some forms of mazemen (when I visited last week it was their take on tantan men , a soup – less version) . Back to the shio 特製塩 そ ば I got – visually beautiful . Moritsuke , or the plating, is definitely something they pay attention to. The soup itself , like any shio base, is clear, but the amber tone of the soup was again beautiful . Soup – wise , the heavy chicken (whole carcass , chicken bones and meat) with supporting pork bones Complementing the chicken and pork konbu, roasted Ago fish, and 節系 (I guess katsuo and saba). Then, a blend of 6 different salts are also added. The process of making this broth must be intense. What it all adds up to is a soup which is light texturally on first sip, but depth of flavour and umami. Noodles – you get an option of thin or wide – I chose thin , the default option . The noodles were thin straight , with good bite . Matched well with the soup . Toppings – roast charsi , chicken chars , half boiled egg , fried gobo , komatsuna ( Japanese mustard spinach ) and a shrimp wonton. All executed with quality expected of a chef formerly trained in a ryotei 米特 , as well as in Italian and French . Some may find this bowl of shio soba doesn’t fit their expectation of a bowl of ramen being something heavy and intense , but for me it was a balanced , elegant bowl which I thoroughly slurped.

Address: 東京都千代田区神田和泉町2-15 四連ビル3号館 1F (Tokyo)

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  (Inoichi) – you can find a decent bowl of ramen pretty much anywhere in Japan and Kyoto is no exception. I always considered a bowl to be a good reflection of the prefecture, an indication of their local culture and tastes. With this popular local store, you get an interesting variety of ramen and rice dishes; got the pretty standard 支那 そば 黒 which is just their version of 中華そば shoyu ramen (apparently their 支那 そば 白 or shio ramen is their most d’oh). The soup was quite assari (light) and went down easily, maybe a tad light for me. Noodles were quite straight with good bite. What interested me more were the two complimentary toppings which are placed on each table yuzu peels and tororo konbu (shavings of is always a nice compliment to a clear- soup base ramen, yes, the first time l’ve seen tororo konbu as a side (you see it sometimes with udon/soba). This actually worked well with the assari ramen soup adding a unique slimy texture, as well as some extra umami and saltiness to an otherwise light broth. These sides and the lighter broth lent a very Kyoto-like sensibility and more wafu feel to their bowl. Though I personally like even a clear-soup base to have more kick, I can appreciate the regional touches they apply to their ramen.

Address: 京都府京都市下京区恵比須之町528 エビステラス 1F (Kyoto)

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