Taro’s Ramen & Café (Ground floor, Boeing House, 363 Adelaide St, Brisbane. Ph: 07-3832 6358) is one of the most highly rated ramen restaurants on Urbanspoon (a restaurant review site), and reading the owner and chef’s (Taro-san himself) manifesto on what makes a good ramen, you can certainly understand why. Taro’s dedication is boundless, – he makes his own noodles, uses only the best ingredients and has honed his ramen-making (and eating) skills. Taro writes a very informative blog, ramendo.wordpress.com (‘path of the ramen’) on ramen, the restaurant and also food reviews of restaurants around Brisbane.
The Japanese lady who was setting up when I arrived was the epitome of Japanese courtesy. She offered to take a photo of me when she saw me snapping away, and chuckled when I said I don’t like appearing in my own photos.
I was here to sample the Tonkotsu ramen ($14.90), Taro’s signature dish. The blurb says that the rich stock is cooked for 16 hours over 2 days using Bangalow (an artisan Australian pork producer) sweet pork bones. The ramen comes with charsiu pork, nori, soft-boiled soy-infused egg and shallots, and a side dish of pickled ginger and Takana (mustard leaves, – Chinese ‘kiam cai’) pickles. The fantastic fragrance of the rich, milky tonkotsu soup hits you when the beautiful bowl appears. The noodles are perfectly cooked al dente, the charsiu is meltingly tender (I wished there was more of this succulent meat), the egg yolk is just the most amazing translucent quivering glob, with the light taste of soy in the egg white. I kept wondering how he managed to cook the egg so perfectly.
And the best part, the tonkotsu. The unctuous soup is full of wonderful pork flavour, though because it is so rich, it is akin to drinking cream. It didn’t stop me from sipping large spoonfuls of it, though I did leave half in the bowl reluctantly.
The other dish to try is the Shoyu ramen, which is made with ‘golden triple soup’ of vegetable, chicken and dried seafood. Taro’s is open for lunch Mon-Sat, 11:30am – 3:00pm. For dinner (Mon- Sat 5:30 – 9:00pm), Taro’s also serves Japanese tapas.