Menson Rage – one of the many Michelin Bib Gourmand recommended ramen stores in Tokyo. And open for just over a year, a relative newcomer to the scene. From the rave reviews this hot-shot rookie has been getting, it’s a store that I’ve been looking forward to trying. I originally visited Rage to try their “Shamo Rokku” bowl; their Shoyu ramen with a soup base made from a premium Japanese crossbreed of Gamecock (the kind of tanrei-kei ramen using ultra-premium ingredients taking Tokyo, and the greater Japan, by storm). Alas, little did I realize, Monday’s are their special days where they serve ramen which is completely different to their regular menu… Oh well, no biggie. The special that day was a Niboshi Shoyu, and I love me some nibo. With only two options, a “Tokyo Niboshi” and a “Tokusei Niboshi”, I went with the Tokusei (basically the same thing with more toppings). The broth is made with a whopping 10 types of niboshi (背黒、青口、白口、平子、鯵、エソ、烏賊、海老、牡蠣、焼きアゴ) “lightly cooked at low heat for hours” according to the helpful menu, and their Shoyu tare is made with 7 types of Shoyu… I feel like there must be some sort of record here. Anyway, how was the soup? It was freaking awesome. Surprisingly so given this isn’t even their regular bowl (though they do have a niboshi ramen on their regular menu, albeit a less hardcore version). Smooth, smoky, deep. The niboshi hits you with its intensity, not insane-level bitter like the bowl at Nagi Golden Gai (now called Niboshi King) used to be back in the day, but in a refined and supremely balanced way that I suppose 10 stonking types of Niboshi gives you. All offset by the deeply delicious shoyu tare. The three types of char siu (pork belly, pork shoulder, and sous-vided chicken), were all tender and delicious. Noodles, straight and thin, matched perfectly. As you may gather from my description, I sort of like this place. Coupled with the quirky, quasi-skater feel of the place (punkish soundtrack, skateboard decks hung on the wall), and their awesome bathroom secret, it’s a place I can’t wait to revisit.
Tōkyō to, Suginami ku, Shōan 3 – 37 – 22
The first bowl of tsukemen was so satisfying, I decided to go for another bowl. This time, the ramen they’re actually famous for! I opted for the Shoyu soba (醤油そば). Soup base was shiro shoyu (white soy sauce), chicken, and niboshi (dried sardines). Very well-balanced. No one element of the soup was too overpowering or “shitsukoi” (annoying/noisy in Japanese). Nice undercurrent umami from the niboshi without the usual strong fishiness. The flavour of the shoyu balanced well with the dashi. Charsiu was good, with a tender bite and nice pinkness (slow cooked at low temperature). Mitsuba greens, menma, nori. All went well with the soup. Noodles were straight, thin and boiled to an appropriate bite. Nice and a bit slippery, went down well.
There’s just too much good ramen around. The trend of lighter soup bases is going very strong and I love it! I’m all for jiro-kei ramen but sometimes you just don’t want to destroy your stomach for the next 3 days with an industrial-strength bowl.
#koseik_tokyo #koseik_ramen #ラーメンインスタグラマー
Tōkyōtokitaku Nishigahara 1 – 1 – 15
(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)