MELBOURNE | Wrapping up September’s photoshoots for What’s On Melbourne was a visit to Japanese ramen chain Mensho Tokyo’s recently opened first Australian locations. Opened by chef Tomoharu Shono in Tokyo in 2005, Mensho today has locations in the USA (San Francisco outpost has a Michelin Star), Thailand, India, China, and Australia.
The Melbourne location is in a part of town that ramen lovers will know well, next door to Hakata Gensuke, and across the road from Musashi. It has the feel of a Japanese ramen joint down pat. A long counter with 12 stools wraps around the open kitchen, with a further 16 seats in the rear dining room.
On the menu you’ll find six types of ramen. Mensho’s signature tori paitan ramen is a great place to start. A bowl of rich, creamy, smoke and yuzu flecked, slow simmered chicken broth filled with house made noodles, topped with duck char sui, crisp enoki, and meaty matsutake mushrooms. If that’s not indulgent enough, there’s a wagyu option topped with Yarra Valley salmon roe and uni.
A matcha option showcases Shono’s creativity, with the other options rotating seasonally. The noodle varieties, all made on site daily, rotate with the seasons too. Ingredients are predominantly Australian, with as much made on site as possible. Additions like ajitama egg egg and extra noodles and ingredients can be added when ordering, which all occurs via a QR code.
Ramen is the main event here, but there are a few small dishes available. Takoyaki are perfectly acceptable, a the juicy fried chicken, with a crispy salt and vinegar coating, is also worthy if you want more than just ramen.
To drink, it’s only unsweetened green tea and a soda at the moment, with a liquor license approval expected to come through soon.
Mensho had lines of over an hour when it first opened, but things seem to have settled down three months in. I arrived at 4:40pm on a Thursday night, and was seated as soon as the restaurant opened. The line was larger when I left, but from what I’ve heard, the wait time these days is around 20-30 mins. Worth it, I say, for one of the best bowls of ramen in town.
Mensho Tokyo Ramen
166 Russell Street
Telephone: 1300 339 603
Tue – Sat: 12:00pm to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 10:00pm
Sun: 5:00pm to 10:00pm