Ramen, ramen, ramen… My obsession with ramen continues…
Hakataya Ramen recently opened a new branch in Sunnybank Square, demonstrating its demand in Brisbane. I tried Hakataya Ramen in the Gold Coast many years ago, and confess I didn’t enjoy it very much – the tonkatsu soup base was very fatty and not that flavoursome. However, we were recently in the Sunnybank area and Mr Ana had a hankering for ramen – so we decided to check out the new restaurant.
We got to the restaurant at around 6ish and waited in line for 5 minutes or so. Hakataya has a fairly limited menu, which basically focuses on 4 main ramen options – Nagahama ramen ($10) – which is the basic tonkatsu ramen base with char siu pork slices; char siu ramen ($13) – the same ramen with extra pork slices; karaka men ($11.50) – a tonkatsu base ramen with chilli; and finally the miso chilli men ($12) – a miso base ramen with chilli. Hakataya also has fried dumplings and tonmeshi, which is rice flavoured with pork soup and topped with pork slices.
Mr Ana and I both chose to try nagahama ramen and also the dumplings. As it was fairly busy, we had the chance to watch the chef at work. There was just one chef doing everything, and I was really impressed at how quickly he got the orders together. We also saw the huge stock pots simmering away, with loads of pork bones floating around… Yummy…
Our ramen arrived and I was ready to tuck in! A few blows on my hot soup and off I went – the tonkatsu soup base was quite simple and not as heavy as I remember. It was actually quite pleasant. The pork slices were quite generous I thought, and I had enough to last me through the entire bowl – the meat was lightly seasoned, but went well with the soup base.
The noodles were a little disappointing as they were very thin and not that chewy. However that didn’t stop me from getting into the extra serve of noodles that the chef popped onto our counter (kaedama – it’s free too!). I have to be honest – for $10, this was a decent bowl of noodles.
It took quite a while for our dumplings to arrive (normally they should come before or at least at the same time that our mains come out – but anyway). When they arrived I eagerly took a bite – the dumplings were will cooked, slightly crispy on the bottom and tender skin on top. The filling was quite a simple pork filling, but enjoyable all the same. I do wish they had proper dumpling sauce rather than what looked like white vinegar and regular soy sauce.
Overall we enjoyed our meals and considered it good value (especially with the free noodle top up!). The restaurant is quite squishy and it is not a place to sit and take your time to eat and lounge. However it is very popular and we could see why.
If I had to choose, Taro Ramen produces a much better bowl of tonkatsu ramen – the soup is much deeper in flavour and the noodles are fabulously chewy. However you are paying a fair bit more for Taro’s ramen (which I’m happy to pay mind you). I’d happily return to Hakataya for a quick bowl of ramen – while it is not that complex in flavour, it is a quick meal and much better value then say, MOS burger 🙂
Shop 13 Market Square
Cnr. Mains Rd. & McCullough St., Sunnybank