168 Russell Street, Melbourne CBD ph (03) 9663 6342
Woohoo! Melbourne is really stepping up in the Ramen wars, and the latest ramen joint we checked out is the famed Hakata Gensuke. I've wanted to try their ramen since they opened but have always been deterred by the long queues. Especially difficult when we have three hungry kids in tow. Luckily last Saturday we happened upon the shop at around 11:50am, quickly joined the queue and scored a table for 5 when the shop opened for business at midday.
|Not how you usually order! Excuse the scribbles as we used one of the forms to enterain Bubs and Macaron Monster whilst we waited for the ramen to arrive!|
To order you're given an order form per patron and from there you can pick how your bowl of ramen is made. You start with the base, decide on variations on how you want the noodles and broth to taste, and then add on extras. In this case we had the Signature Tonkotsu ($13), added Cha-Su ($5 for extra 3 pieces), seaweed ($1 for 3 pieces) and extra noodle ($2). The broth was meaty, and the noodles cooked perfectly.
My favourite of the day was the Shio Tonkotsu ($13), ordered here with extra seaweed ($1), with the lighter, cleaner broth, as compared to the signature. The base bowl size is quite small and Hubby would definitely need the extra noodles to feel remotely full.
We also tried the Black Tonkotsu ($14) which was a black colored broth with a nutty flavour from the black sesame and roasted garlic paste.
We also ordered some sides. The Hakata Gyoza (5 for $5, 10 for $9) were little mini morsels of flavoursome dumpling meat wrapped with a light pastry. Very delicious but each gyoza was quite small and I could easily eat the whole 10 on top of a bowl of ramen!
The Chicken Karaage ($5) was 3 pieces of well fried chicken which was delicious and more-ish. More, more, more!
Overall we really enjoyed the meal at Hakata Gensuke. It was noisy, fast, crowded and tasty food. Despite the small shop size and the busy turnover, the staff are quite accommodating to prams and small children. My only quibble would be the need to line up, and the fact that it's more expensive - at $13 for a basic, smaller bowl of noodle (with only one thin slice of cha-shu), it costs around $20 to add on to create the same sized bowl of noodles that you can get for around 3/4 of the price at other quite acceptable ramen places in Melbourne. Nonetheless I liked the delicious broth and the perfectly cooked ramen, and probably will be back as a party of 1 or 2 as the turnover is quite a lot faster for smaller parties.
Toilets - yes
Highchairs - yes
Highchairs - yes