Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen Melbourne is the first Austrailan branch of the popular Philippine based ramen chain. We love a good bowl of ramen at The City Lane so when we received an invitation to attend the soft launch of Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen we couldn’t say no.
As mentioned before Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen is a chain based in the Philippines. It’s developed quite a cult following for its focused range of “do it your way” ramen dishes and Izakaya style snacks. Guests at the soft launch were given the opportunity to sample a variety of the Izakaya starters as well as, of course, a bowl of ramen.
The basement space is very impressive. It’s a bright space with clean lines, clever use of wood and all in all very simple – very much true to the Japanese aesthetic.
We were particularly impressed with the Japanese mural pained by a famous unnamed Japanese artist along the sliding doors that take up the entirety of the eastern wall of the restaurant.
The sliding doors open to reveal a traditional Japanese dining room with sunken tables and mats on which to sit. The walls are lined with impressive Japanese calligraphy.
Drinks wise there’s a surprisingly decent range of sake, umeshu (plum wine), wine, spirits and beer on offer at the bar.
As well as Asahi Super Dry on tap, there is also a small range of craft beer in bottles.
A refreshing option is this sake with apple juice that was being offered to guests on the night. The apples when eaten were quite unexpectedly boozy.
On the food front, Ikkoryu Fukouka Ramen offers a variety of Izakay style dishes to get things started.
The Japanese style fried rice was really tasty and reminded us of one that we tried when in Toyko. Short grain Japanese rice is the big difference when compared to Chinese style fried rice, along with the overall lighter, more mild flavours. The fried rice wasn’t oily at all and tasted really authentic.
The gyoza were also spot on, crispy and chewy skins wrapped around a moist, flavoursome filling. We could have munched on these all night.
The Karaage, or Japanese style fried chicken was cooked perfectly. The chicken was moist and tender and the coating was nice and crispy. Flavour wise it could have done with more of a punch, be that either by upping the salt and pepper levels or by the use of a dipping sauce.
Moving onto the featured item at Ikkoryu Fukouka Ramen we selected our menu. The process here is very simple. You choose your ramen based and then adjust things like oil, pork, garlic and noodle sized based on your preference. Finally you can boost your ramen with a number of additions – extra meat, extra egg etc.
I ordered the Original Tonkotsu. As regular readers of The City Lane know, when it comes to comparing ramen we always use the Tonkotsu as an even basis of comparison. The size was decent – I couldn’t finish mine and it was quite tasty however there wasn’t the depth of porky flavour or creaminess that I expect from a Tonkotsu ramen. I’m not sure whether this is just how Ikkoryu Fukouka Ramen do their Tonkotsu or if perhaps the broth wasn’t left to simmer for as long as is usually the case. A tasty bowl of ramen no doubt, but not quite what I look for in a Tonkotsu.
Lauren ordered the Yuzu Tonkotsu which had the undeniable citrus punch of yuzu as well as a decent spicy kick to it. This was actually better than the Original Tonkotsu in our opinion as the flavours matched the lighter broth well.
Apart from a few teething problems, which is to be completely expected at a soft launch, the service at Ikkoryu Fukouka Ramen was good. The staff were very friendly and were genuinely keen to be working there and serving us all. The open kitchen was a hive of activity and the whole atmosphere was very vibrant.
Food wise we’ll reserve final judgment on the ramen for another visit, as we can’t say with certainty that the Tonkotsu ramen was indicative of what the final product will be like. We still have a feeling that the broth was not given the full time it needed to get to the right level and would be keen to come back a month or so after opening (1 April 2015) to reassess. We really liked the space, and on the quality of the bar and Izakaya food alone could see Ikkoryu Fukouka Ramen being a great place for a drink and a snack.
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen
27 Russell Street
Mon – Thu: 11:00am to 3:00pm; 5:30pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat: 11:00am to 3:00pm; 5:30pm to late