It seems like the norm as of late, Big Fly and I would just go out to try restaurants, whether new or old that we haven’t been before, and it turned out to be terrible. Terrible is such a strong word, at times it is just not up to par for us, or my standards as he puts it, or just borderline mediocre.
I’ve previously heard someone mention a new ramen shop opening up inside Richspot Plaza, but it was Big Fly that invited me to try it out since he’s driven by it recently. I had mixed feelings going in, thinking it would either be another flop on our list or a high contender for Yah Yah Yah for ramen restaurants in Richmond.
Ramune – original & Coke
Just some refreshments as we waited on food. The coke was from a soda dispenser, which I do have my fears about cleanliness of the equipment and proper storage of the soda syrups. I was lucky to have ordered a bottle drink.
For a couple dollars extra, you can make your ramen into a combo by adding either small appetizers or rice bowls. Only Big Fly opted for the combo by adding Chicken Karaage, the Takoyaki was actually complementary, a promotion they were doing for their grand opening. You get a free, full order Takoyaki, when your bill is $25 or over. The Karaage were nice and crispy, the chicken was juicy but rather bland. It’s served with a side salad that seems to have the same dressing as AYCE house green salads.
The Takoyaki on the other hand, took me by surprise. It seems to have been made fresh, not the packaged retail ones, but the type where you actually have to pour batter into the grill to form. My hypothesis comes from the shape of the Takoyaki, there was a distinct ‘line’ just cutting the middle, with it being a complete sphere. Most store bought or packaged Takoyakis would be flat on the bottom. The flavours were nice, and with that knowledge, my hopes for Hakata had skyrocketed.
Spicy Miso Ramen; served with chashu, beansprout, bamboo, green onion & seaweed slice
Big Fly went for the Spicy Miso, surprised it wasn’t me? Ajitama was not included in any of the ramens, save mine, so he added one on the side. This time checking how many were in one order, to not repeat the mistake from Yah Yah Yah. I tried a bit of the soup, it had a nice miso flavour with a hint of spice but not extremely spicy, yet something was still missing. It wasn’t deep or rich enough despite the flavours being all there, yet it didn’t seem watered down at all.
Two halves were given in one order. The egg is far better than that of Yah Yah Yah’s, the yolk was gooey but just barely tipping the scale to be fully done. It was a pass.
Tonkotsu Ramen; served with chashu, corn, bamboo, black fungus, half an egg, green onion & seaweed slice
The reason why I didn’t go for the spicy option was because I wanted to try out their soups, and what better way than to order the most simple and basic that was the fundamental of most ramens: Tonkotsu. The toppings were slightly different, as I had half an egg and the black fungus. The chashu was nice and tender, it had a good fat-to-meat ratio and was pretty generous in portion size. The soup had a nice layer of oil on top, and was rich with umami but still ‘light’ at the same time. Contradicting, I know, but that’s exactly how I felt about the soup. Like the Spicy Miso, all the basis for a good soup base was there, the flavours were present yet it still left you with a bland feeling.
Bottom line, I didn’t know if I liked it or not, I wanted to but it seemed like it didn’t want me to. Like a striptease, just leading you in on a bit but then left you hanging in the worse way possible, not knowing whether or not you still wanted more. With that type of dissatisfaction, though I hope they would do better, it didn’t make me want to give them another try with all the other, better, options out there.