Chef Takeshi Sekigawa is experienced at making ramen, even by Japanese standards. After four years at the famed Gumshara, he opened his own store, Yasaka Ramen. Here you’ll find Chef Takeshi not just reproducing ramen recipes, but also creating his own.
Worship at the altar of the giant pressure cooker where the master broth is made by pulling up a stool downstairs. The pressure cooker cuts down the time it takes to make broth out of slow cooked pork bones. The bones release collagen and fat, leading to a thick, creamy tonkotsu ramen.
Those seated at the bench will slurp soup while watching Chef Takeshi drain basket after basket of handmade noodles.
His resulting Grilled Chashu Ramen ($16.80) with miso flavouring is thick and clings to the handmade noodles, ensuring each and every bite is rich and flavoursome. It’s topped with a golden, runny soft egg and a generous amount of chashu. The four pork slices have a lovely charred flavour from a light searing.
Venturing up the stairs the narrow space expands into a more relaxed dining room. It’s full, even on a Tuesday evening, and they’re all eating ramen.
So while you can start with soft, fluffy Takoyaki ($6/4 pieces) octopus balls topped with creamy mayo. and spring onions, or Osaka’s squid pancake: Ikayaki ($6) topped the same way, they’re pretty much distractions from the main event.
Not so with the perfectly matched combination of my favourite Japanese rice beer, Koshihikari Echigo ($15/500ml), and a Karaage Set ($22.50); though you might need to come with friends to get through all eighteen pieces of fried chicken. It's served up three different ways, the best being with spicy sauce.
For a completely different take on ramen, try Tori Paitan ($16). It’s basically tonkotsu’s cousin, but instead of being made on pork bones, it’s made on chicken, using a two-phase cook. In the first phase, flavour is extracted from the chicken, before vegetables and aromatics are added in the second phase. You’ll find it lighter, but no less creamy and satisfying.
And if the thinner noodles, soft-boiled eggs, chicken meatballs, house-made chicken loaf, bamboo shoots, shallots and seaweed aren’t enough to keep your palate interested, you can load up on additional toppings right there in the dining room. Sesame seeds and chilli oil both added interesting twists to this remarkably soothing ramen.
NOTE: If you love Japanese cuisine as much as I do, become a member of Washoku Lovers (for free) and receive half price noodle refills or soft boiled egg when you dine: http://www.washokulovers.com/
126 Liverpool Street, Sydney
Ph: (02) 9262 9027