Brisbane doesn’t have many dedicated ramen places. Unless they’re visiting Taro’s or Hakataya, ramen fans are likely to end up trekking across town for a good bowl of their beloved noodle soup. Ramen hunters around Toowong can now breathe a sigh of relief. Genkotsu Ramen (originally at Runcorn) has come to them.
In a calculated sneak attack, Genkotsu opened its Toowong shop on Saturday, January 2 – a time when so many cafes and restaurants are still closed for their summer break.
More importantly, their four “original” bowls of ramen: shio (salt), shoryu (soy), miso, and gyokai (fish), were half price for the shop’s first three days. Both tactics worked; by Monday, it was clear word had got around about the new place offering large $5 bowls of ramen.
Serving sizes are certainly generous, and for those who need a little more, Genkotsu’s hospitality extends as far as an offer of free kaedama – extra noodles to add to any broth remaining in your bowl. The different broths are strongly flavoured, but not overpowering, while the thinly sliced pork is deliciously soft.
All the usual sides are on offer, from takoyaki (octopus balls) to karaage (fried chicken), with the standout being the plentiful gyoza dumplings.
The menu also runs to more offbeat ramen flavours, some of which look to be new to Brisbane. The most interesting are the karaage ramen, black garlic ramen, and for gourmet noodle fans, soft shell crab ramen.
The fit-out is understated, rather than colourfully kitsch; this is what a suburban noodle shop in Japan looks like. The atmosphere is completed by the staff’s welcoming call of “irasshaimase” as customers enter, and another as they exit.
On a recent visit, one group arrived just as another left and the kitchen momentarily descended into a kind of sing-song shouting match as each group was welcomed and farewelled simultaneously.
tl;dr: Open for just over a week, Genkotsu is bringing high-quality ramen to the inner west.