“Part of the secret of a success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” -Mark Twain
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen is a recent, and very welcome, addition to Melbourne’s blossoming Japanese ramen scene. Post Old Fashions and Sazeracs at the wonderful 1806, we ventured down the stairs in search of the black garlic ramen.
Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen enlists an interactive ordering system, requiring patrons to select their broth, whether they would like the free extra noodles (hard or soft), a choice of pork belly or chashu sliced pork, and any extra trimmings they desire. This large A3 sheet is quickly swooped up by the friendly waitress and the ramenfication begins. We also opted for shochu because a long weekend was on the horizon and the sake list was too good to pass-up.
A large window pane separated our bench from the guy expertly straining the noodles and preparing delicious bowels of ramen. I quickly become hypnotised by an open kitchen in ramen restaurant – it is a wonderfully harmonious process which is delivered in careful strokes. Here, I could tell from the measured steps, was a place that was well-versed in their broth preparation.
I was not wrong. The tonkotsu broth was deep, creamy and the noodles were perfectly hard. The pork belly was pleasingly fatty. My egg was perfectly prepared with the yolky centre maintaining its form. At about $16 for a bowl with an egg, this is on the more expensive side of the Melbourne ramen scale. It is, however, completely worth it, and the ability to customise one’s bowl is a huge plus for me.
I opted for the extra noodles to be included in my dish and I was struggling to slurp my way to the bottom.
Black garlic ramen is not something I am familiar with, despite my adoration for all things ramen. I only had my first experience with Hokkaido style corn broth a couple of weeks ago. The more adventurous of our duo opted for the black garlic so that I could steal a glug – oh my goodness this was incredible. I have had garlic-laden ramen before but the roasted black garlic gave a smokiness to the tonkotsu broth that was unmatched. The old adage “Once you go black, you never go back” could be fittingly applied here.
Ikkoryu Fukuoka has really friendly service and our bowls arrived swiftly. It was quiet when we dined here but it was also quite late on a Thursday evening so your mileage may vary. I would return, if only for the black garlic ramen.