Nishiazabu-Gogyo: Burnt Miso Ramen (Tokyo)

For my second Tokyo ramen adventure, Brad took me to a little place called GOGYO. Located in the Nishiazabu District, this place focusses on Soy and Miso ramen rather than Tonkotsu while offering a few other choices as well. This is the place that Brad says he can “only eat at once in a while as the flavor is too much, its too bold, too powerful but so tasty”. Wow, I have to try this!!!

Little known tidbit of into but the owner of IPPUDO also owns this place but there are only two of them making GOGYO that much more rare. The three of us were seated quickly and quickly ordered some appies: Ramen Pocky (Deep friend ramen noodles dusted with ramen spices), Tofu Hotpot (cubed tofu and a hot & spicy sauce) and Gyoza (bite-sized and similar in taste to the Ippudo Gyoza). All three appies were excellent and just got me hungrier for the main event. I ordered the Kogashi Miso-Men or “Burnt Miso Ramen” while Brad & Drake ordered the Burnt Soy Ramen. Get that ramen in my belly!

A large black bowl arrived filled with a steaming black broth, wow, what a striking visual. The thin noodles and chashu pork were submerged in this inky black broth, only the stark white of the half egg & fish cake were visible above the blackness. Under the broth I also found ground pork and mushrooms so I mixed it all together and went for my first bite!

Wow… wow, wow, wow!

I can honestly say that this is the most uniquely flavored ramen I have had yet. Rich, salty, strong miso but delicate finish, this truly was a completely different flavor than I was used to. Also, while I an not usually a fan of thinner noodles, I found that they complimented the Burnt Miso broth, seeing the black broth and bits of fat & pork clinging to those noodles as you slurp them up was a great visual. The chashu was fresh and delicate but I was really pleased with the ground pork as it added a lovely flavor and texture addition to each bite. Also, I commend them on the temperature of their ramen, it was damn hot, the way a proper ramen should be served.

Overall, while startled with the unique flavor, I quite enjoyed it. I wouldn’t want to eat it every week but once in a while it would be a welcome flavor change. GOGYO is definitely worthy of a try but be prepared for something different, tasty, but different.

Burnt Miso Ramen

Dish: Kogashi Miso-men (Burnt Miso Ramen)
Location: Nishiazabu-Gogyo
Address: 106-0031 Tokyo, Minato, Nishiazabu, 1-4-36
Price ¥880
Rating: rating_4
Website: http://www.ramendining-gogyo.com/

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Ippudo: Akamaru Modern Ramen (Tokyo)

Once again I find myself in Tokyo and once again, I leave my Ramen-adventure in the hands of my friend Brad who I have talked, argued and laughed extensively with in regards to all things Ramen. This time we went to the Ebisu district and visited the legendary IPPUDO, which he calls his “benchmark for all other ramens” and his “Goto place when he’s in the area”. Matt, the co-writer of this blog has also been there and raved about it to me repeatedly. How can I argue with these two guys! I have to admit, I was pretty excited to try this place.

IPPUDO is considered one of the forefathers of Tonkotsu Ramen. Their original shop opened decades ago in Fukuoka was originally one of the only places you could go to get the famous Tonkotsu broth, now of course, it is available everywhere. IPPUDO became famous years back when it won a televised National Ramen competition, they originally only had the one Fukuoka shop and now have 50 all over Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, LA and NYC. But this one shop, this little shop in Ebisu is considered to be the “the” shop in Tokyo. Baller!

We had to wait for a table at 10pm, excellent sign. The staff were all super friendly and the cooks gregarious and loud. We were finally seated and handed our menus. Now for this meal, I just let Brad order, I was in his playground and I was not about to throw my weight around, I wanted him to pilot the ship on this adventure.

We were about to indulge in a dish called Akamaru Modern which to Brad is the pinnacle of what IPPUDO has to offer. The description says it’s the original Tonkotsu broth enhanced with special blended miso paste and fragrant garlic oil. Served with thin, straight noodles, pork belly, bean sprouts, black fungus and spring onions. That sounds very good to me!

We started with some bite-size Gyoza that was served with a homemade chili paste, amazing. The Gyoza had a little hit of citrus mixed in with the pork and when you added the subtle heat of the chili sauce, it was a full-flavored win.

Within five minutes, the ramen arrived and I was immediately knocked out with the amazing smell of the dish, it honestly got my mouth watering. I mixed in some fresh garlic, mixed the entire bowl together and tucked in! Whoa, that broth son! THAT BROTH SON! Tonkotsu, miso, garlic oil and fresh garlic mixed together to honestly give me the best tasting broth I have had in a long, long time. It had a rich, thick, vibrant flavor that stayed with me well into the evening, seriously, it is a winner. The pork belly was incredibly tasty and very tender, the veggies were fresh and there was a little dollup of that homemade chili on top too, perfect. Where it fell apart for me, ever so slightly, was with the egg which I found slightly overcooked and the extremely thin noodles that for my liking, honestly did not compliment the rich, textured broth. For me, with thicker noodles, this would have been a near perfect bowl of ramen.

Of all the ramen I’ve tried abroad, this was definitely the strongest bowl I have had since we started the blog. I cannot recommend it enough, IPPUDO is a fantastic bowl of Ramen, I can see why it is Brad’s goto bowl. This is a must for anyone who ever comes to Tokyo, trust me, if you want an absolutely stellar bowl of ramen, this is your place.

 

ippudo pic

 

  • Dish: Akamaru Modern Ramen
  • Extras: Egg
  • Location: Hakata Ippudo
  • Address: 1-3-13 Hiroo, Shibuya-ku, Ebisu, Tokyo
  • Price ¥910
  • Rating: rating_5
  • http://www.ippudo.com/

Bone Daddies Ramen Bar: Tonkotsu Ramen (London)

Before the trip to England, I did some research on Top Ramen Joints in London and each of the lists and articles I found called out a funky place named BONE DADDIES somewhere in its favorites. Add to that, BONE DADDIES RAMEN BAR was a 10-minute walk from Hotel in Soho, made me realize I found my meal, score! So with that in mind, it was time to try an English take on my beloved Ramen.

A light rain that turned to sun and a walk through the amazing Soho district and we arrived at our destination just as it opened. Obviously this place was popular as we were one of four tables that awaited an opening table and by the time we were done, the place was packed. The place itself is very cool, filled with art and pictures of Japanese Rockabilly Bikers and Nick Cave blaring on the sound-system. Everyone sits on hightop tables and shares as needed. There’s lots of great appies to choose from while the five of us enjoyed sharing but we were all here for one thing. BONE DADDIES has four choices: Soy, T22, Tonkotsu and Spicy Miso. I opted for the straight Tonkotsu Ramen which included Spring Onion, Chashu Pork, Black Garlic Oil and ofcourse it’s legendary 20-hour pork bone broth. I only added some additional Ground Pork and fresh garlic which was available on every table.

When the bowl arrived, I was pleased to see that an egg, mushrooms and bamboo were also part of the meal. It was a good looking bowl of ramen, a nice creamy looking broth, bright colors, a hell of a golden egg and a drizzle of that lovely black garlic oil. I mixed it together, dug in… and was somewhat let down. Now don’t get me wrong, it was good, solidly good but not great. The broth was creamy, but not too rich and frankly, a little bland, especially for a touted 20-hour broth. The chashu was a chewy and dry (overcooked?), and the noodles weren’t that astounding. The ground pork and egg were fantastic, the black garlic oil legendary and with a little of the chili from the table added to the bowl, a nice little kick.

As I said, this was a good bowl of Ramen but not great due to its overall uneveness. That said, I would give BONE DADDIES another go thanks to its cool ambience & decor and other unique bowls of soup delight to try. There are a lot of Ramen Joints in London and I know that I will have to try a different one next time I am there but knowing that it’s close to my regular hotel and that it will be a decent meal, I would go back.

Bone Daddies

  • Dish: Tonkotsu Ramen
  • Extras: Ground Pork
  • Location: Bone Daddies
  • Address: 31 Peter St, London W1F 0AR, United Kingdom
  • Price: £13
  • Rating:  rating_3
  • http://bonedaddiesramen.com/