Monday, October 31, 2011

Ajisen Ramen

Location: 82 Kingsway, Glen Waverley
Signature Dish: Ramen
Pro-Tip: Upsize your Ramen for $1 extra
Cost: $10-$20
Ajisen Ramen

Nestled amongst the various Chinese restaurants, Cafe's and Groceries is Ajisen Ramen.  This place opened a while ago and somehow managed to be overlooked by myself for quite some time.  I have now remedied this situation.  Twice.

From the wallpaper, it looks like Ajisen is some sort of franchise with branches around the world, so this made me slightly skeptical as to the quality and authenticity as to what we were about to receive, however I was pleasantly surprised.  I've eaten many an authentic Ramen in my time (some even in Japan), so while not top notch, Ajisen certainly delivered above my expectations.

Food:  There are many ramen to choose from, most have a thing called chyasu in it.  A term I am not really familiar with, however some quick Googling tells me that this is Pork, or more specifically, weird, unsatisfying slices of fatty pork in my soup.  This may be the authentic meat to have with ramen, or even me just being picky, but it was not to my tastes - especially with only 2 slices in a big bowl of soup.  This was on my first visit, when I partook in the 'Ajisen Ramen' dish.  The second visit I decided to uber it up and smash a spicy ramen.  This comes with spicy minced meat, an egg, various veg and of course, noodles.  I am pleased to report that the spicy is quite spicy, even to a seasoned (hah get it!) chilli veteran such as myself.

Spicy Ramen - Upsized
There are a couple of combos available: The first is any Ramen with any entree, and the second (which gets my recommendation) is any small sized rice, or donburi, with a Ramen.  I have had the opportunity to try the Eel on rice, as well as the Kimchi fried rice.  While the Eel was nice, the Kimchi gets my tick of approval.  Both combos come with tea, however we had a hard time getting refills.  There are also plenty of extras available on the menu for a nominal price - usually 1-2 dollars.

Eel on Rice (Junior Size)
As per most of the chinese cafe's in Kingsway (and yes, I'm aware Ramen is Japanese), you need to walk in with 2 fingers in the air which is code for 'table for two'.  The meals are fast enough, and we had no problems with the service.  I'd like it if the rice and ramen combo had the meals coming out at entree/main times (i.e. one after the other) however I got both at once, and had to divide my time between my ramen and rice, for fear of one getting cold.  This is a minor gripe, and I'm always happy to get food sooner rather than later.  I'm not sure where this place loses points, maybe I hold it to too high a standard after being to another Ramen place (which will remain nameless for a future review).  1 Thumbs up!

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