Japanese ramen has never looked this good! Unlike its Vietnamese counterpart, ramen has gone from strength to strength in Melbourne. No longer being a sloppy broth served with a hard boil egg, today it shines with its extensive and diverse broths that are complemented with high quality ingredients. It has become a proud addition to the well-priced meal options for cold nights.
With the surge in ramen locations around Melbourne, there is one restaurant in Richmond that shouldn’t be over looked. Shizuku Ramen burst onto the scene a year ago with its interpretation of the Ramen Burger. With a bold start to their ramen adventures, 2014 has set the scene for a new menu being implemented. Have no fear, the the Ramen Burger is still available, and The Modern Connoisseur was offered to try its menu.
The decor of Shizuku Ramen is friendly and bright with an assortment of low hanging lamp shades laced around the room. In the corner of the ceiling is a large wooden amplifier. The dark table and chairs work in harmony with the ambient lighting that creates a pleasant atmosphere. It’s a refreshing and modern look for the Victoria Street locality.
To start off, we had a few bites of popcorn as we navigated through the menu. The new menu strongly aligns with a contemporary Japanese theme, pushing beyond the traditional dishes. The list of starters is comprehensive with plenty to choose from – think Fried Chicken, Banh Mi, Pork Sliders and even Souvlaki! Also on offer are the traditional dishes for those who prefer safer options.
Intrigued by their take on a souvlaki, we started with Cha Shu Souvlaki – char grilled free range pork belly, cucumber, leek, sauces, thin pancakes, 2pcs [$14]. Eating into this pork sandwich, the first distinctive flavour is the sweet Japanese kewpie mayo. The combination of strips of pork belly and fresh vegetables was divine and made for a superb starter.
Next up was a move towards a traditional dish, Crispy Rice Cake (Vegetarian) with spicy plum & chilli sauce [$6]. We were expecting the typical soft miniature like patties that you get at a Thai restaurant. What was plated far exceeding our expectations. The extremely thick rice noodles had been fried to be delicately crispy and was served with a deep and spicy plum sauce. The sauce was quite addictive and really a treat as we didn’t leave a drop behind.
The wet and winter night had dictated the decision for mains – ramen. The Sui Gyoza ramen – boiled dumplings, with the choice of shoyu/shio flavour, egg, menma, negi, nori [$15] was exceptionally smooth with a lovely miso soup base. The boiled gyoza dumplings were of a high quality with fresh pork mince that naturally complemented the egg noodles. Overall it was a light, refreshing and very satisfying ramen.
The Tan Tan Men free range pork mince, chilli oil, preserved vegetables, rich sesame sauce [$15] is the chef signature dish and is a full bodied ramen. The yellow broth is simply irresistible and, combined with the pork and bok choy, makes for a filling main. There is a strong sesame seed taste to this dish, however the pork and chilli flavours perfectly cut through it and made for a filling but beautiful dish.
We were on our way to be well and truly stuffed, however, our waiter for the night was quite persuasive to try some desserts to finish the night.
Espresso Pudding coffee carnation milk gelee curd [$6.9] had a smooth and creamy espresso flavour that was made possible with the carnation milk. It’s a nice dessert dish if you are after a subtle sweet taste.
Green Tea Ice Cream Japanese black sugar fusion melt, dusted with soy bean powder [$6.5] was the better of the two dessert dishes. The green tea ice cream was smooth with a subtle and soft bitter taste. Mixed with the black sugar and soy bean powder allowed for a richer taste. The perfect send off for the night.
Shizuku Ramen is a unique treasure that aims to continually push the boundaries. Whether it’s tasting the bacon-flavoured beer or the Ramen Burger, if an unique Japaneses food experience is what you desire than Shizuku Ramen can deliver.
The Modern Connoisseur dined as a guest of Shizuku Ramen. All opinions and views are true and honest to the contributor’s experience.
Online reservations can be made here.
309 Victoria Street
Mon – Sun: 11.30am – 2.30am, 5.30pm – 10pm