Ramen Kan used to be one of my favourite places, with a kaisen don on their menu ticking all the boxes with its generous cubes of salmon and tuna covering a bed of well-vinegared sushi rice drizzled with sweet soy sauce, all for a very reasonable price. Then after a positive first experience after their remodelling, I started getting bones in my fish and I ended up with a few sad cubes of salmon when they ‘ran out of tuna’ and didn’t replace the tuna with salmon. After these disappointing experiences, I steered clear of it for a while until N convinced me that perhaps the third time’s the charm.
There are new dishes on their menu, like this Tekiyaki Eggplant ($8.90), with battered cubes of eggplant in teriyaki sauce, along with onions, asparagus and renkon chips. The batter on the eggplant is a major turn off for this dish — it’s not easy to bite through, and once bitten through a small piece eggplant slips out and you’re left with the battered pouch with its slimy and chewy mouthfeel. It would have elevated the dish immensely to have these deep fried, or not battered at all. The asparagus stalks were very tough fibrous. The crispy renkon chips were the highlight for an eggplant dish.
But! Their Takowasa ($8.90) is still delicious. N and I love the crunchy mouthfeel of raw octopus and the kick from the wasabi. Some Japanese restaurants don’t have the crunch to their octopus, but Ramen Kan gets it right every time.
And of course, the Crab Cream Croquettes ($6.90). Four pieces come out piping hot.
They’re best eaten when they’re piping hot as you get the optimal crunch from the panko coating and the soft creamy innards. But they’re still good when they’ve cooled so you can experience more of its creamy deliciousness in each bite. Mmm!
The Kaisen Don is N and my favourite dish at Ramen Kan. Sushi rice topped with cubes of raw salmon and tuna then drizzled with a sweet soy sauce, this dish hits almost all the sushi spots. Unfortunately, the portion of the raw fish and the pricing are unfailingly inconsistent –
For one reason or another, the Kaisen Don from December 2015 ($11.90) never made it to the blog. But this is the Kaisen Don that N and I fell in love with for the three years up to the end of 2015. The raw fish is shiny and fresh and most important of all, piled so high you can barely make out the rice.
Fast forward to October 2016, and this is the sad state of affairs to which the Kaisen Don ($13.90) has been reduced. That’s a $2 price increase for a pile of choppy off-cuts. The fish and the rice tasted good — it’s hard to do it wrong — but the generosity that was its main draw card is gone.
They say third time’s the charm, and it is indeed, with the Kaisen Don ($12.90) returning to somewhat of its former glory in February 2017. It’s still more expensive and with less fish than in December 2015, but I’m happy with this. This time, though, the rice was so piping hot that it partially cooked the tuna (hence it’s lighter colour). It still tasted good, though!
Part of the remodel at Ramen Kan saw bowls of condiments and toppings for ramen, which used to be brought in containers to each individual table, now located in front of the counter.
I’d return to Ramen Kan as it does serve up decent Japanese food, but the quality and value for money that defined Ramen Kan as a mainstay has diminished.
Ramen Kan is located at 90 Hay St, Haymarket NSW 2000.