No Ramen No Life. With a motto like that printed on their napkins and on the back of the staff’s shirts, you better believe that Yasaka Ramen takes ramen seriously.
To start, we have drinks. On the left is the Guava Calpis ($4.50) and on the right is Mango Calpis ($4.50). Both taste like the flavour of Golden Circle’s Guava Nectar and Mango Nectar, but the signature sweet yoghurt flavour of Calpis is near undetectable. Not pictured is T’s Lemon Tea ($2, with a ramen order), which is lightly sweet with a mellow lemon flavour.
I indulge my soft spot for soft-boiled eggs and decide on the Egg Ramen ($14.80) with Yasaka original tonkotsu soup seasoned with soy sauce paste and topped with chashu, spring onion and bamboo shoots.
The tonkotsu soup at Yasaka Ramen is suitably thick, with the head chef having worked at Gumshara Ramen, the food court restaurant famous for its thick soup. The thickness — the kind that congeals — opacks a depth of flavour that you don’t find in thinner soups. The noodles are made out front behind a glass window and also of the thicker kind with a moreish chewy texture, while the chashu is tender and the soft boiled egg is perfectly gooey, soaking up the flavour from the soup.
T decides on their Kakuni Ramen ($16.80) that swaps the chashu out for simmered pork soft bone. The pork is deliciously melt-in-your-mouth.
As an entree (that arrived well and truly after we’d received out ramen), we try their Karaage ($8.50 for 6 pieces) with ponzu mayo.
We’d initially wanted to their the ikayaki (a squid pancake famous to Osaka), but were told that it was no longer sold even though it was advertised on their menu downstairs. Anyway!
The pieces of chicken arrived barely cooked, many still pink in the middle. The pieces were small at about 3cm, and it looks as if bulked up the dish with an overly generous spring onion salad with very few actual salad leaves. That aside the batter was crispy, although the pieces of chicken thigh weren’t as juicy as we’d liked.
And finally, dessert with Green Tea Ice Cream ($5). We’d ordered the roasted green tea ice cream, but the Japanese waitress had such poor command of the English language, that we ended up receiving green tea instead. We’d waited some time for them to arrive that we couldn’t be bothered kicking up a fuss.
The ice cream was icy with a slight sweetness and mellow green tea flavour. Pleasantly, there wasn’t a strong dairy flavour, but the sweetness and strong chocolate flavour from the wafer stick overwhelmed the subtle green tea notes when eaten together.
Yasaka Ramen does indeed take ramen seriously and it shows. Come here for the ramen, but I’d pass on the entrees. Groups of three or more can expect a wait during around midday, as they only accommodate groups in their upstairs seating area.
Yasaka Ramen is at 126 Liverpool St, Sydney NSW 2000.