During one hot summer afternoon, I found myself looking for a new restaurant to try out. After browsing the net, we went to Genkotsu Ramen, situated across the road from Warrigal Square.
A menu was stuck outside, so you could consider whether you wanted to eat before going in.
The shop itself is very small, and I believe that max capacity would be around 15 to 20 people. It was full when we arrived, so we ordered and waited for a seat. Luckily the customers left quite quickly.
The menu consists of 9 different types of ramen, with different variations of soup base, five mini rice options to accompany your ramen, and a number of sides and extra toppings.
We were given a number after ordering, and waited patiently for a seat.
Luckily for us, we got a seat at the bar table, so the chefs could pass us food directly after cooking, rather than waiting for the waitress to bring us food. It also allows me to observe and appreciate the hard work that goes into preparing a meal.
Each table had chili oil, and a sesame grinder. I love freshly ground sesame on my ramen, it definitely adds to the the fragrance of the dish.
Of interest was the loyalty card at Genkotsu. Whilst other places allow you to place multiple stamps on one card, despite ordering three bowls of ramen, the cashier informed me that their policy is one card per person, so despite ordering and paying for three bowls of ramen (and one side), we could only get three cards with one stamp on each, making it much harder to achieve any of the loyalty rewards. Other than this, I noted that whilst the restaurant was quite hot and crowded, the waitress was quite rude and abrupt in her dealings with us, which is definitely rare in a Japanese restaurant. Probably something which could be improved.
Aside from this, the authenticity of the restaurant really impressed me. Whenever I go to a Japanese or Korean restaurant, one of the first things that draw my attention relate to whether the staff are really authentic. On this point, Genkotsu Ramen definitely did not disappoint. What really impressed me was that the clientele were also Japanese (one child came and tried to start a conversation with me in Japanese). To me, thats a sure sign of authenticity.
After being seated, our meals came out rather quickly. This was the Karage Miso Ramen. It definitely exceeded our expectations. The chicken was crispy (the parts that weren't dunked into the soup), and the batter was light. The soup was rich and creamy with the strong taste of miso. The only improvement I could suggest for this bowl, (and the two following) is that the egg yolk could have been a bit runnier. But overall, it was a very enjoyable and satisfying ramen.
This is the Shoyu Tonkotsu Ramen, which is exactly the same as my bowl of Genkotsu Shoyu Ramen, with the only difference of mine having more pieces of Cha Shu.
When it comes to ordering in a new store, I usually order their signature dish by default when uncertain. So I ordered the Genkotsu Ramen with Shoyu soup base. Again, I found the egg to be rather overdone, but other than that all other elements were done wonderfully. The Cha Shu was very tender, but not super fatty, and the noodles had a good texture.
The highlight of the dish of course, was its soup, for soup is the soul of a bowl of ramen. The shoyu soup was strong, and rich and creamy. I could definitely taste difference in the soup being cooked for an extended period of time, and it definitely sets it apart from other ramen shops, making it one of the best in Brisbane.
As you can see, the pork wasnt overly fatty, although the soup inevitably was.
Between the three of us, we also shared a Pork Gyoza. Six pieces for $5 was definitely one of the cheaper options, and although it wasnt as good as the gyozas at harajuku, it was very yummy. The bottom was crunchy and the skin was thin. It would have been a bit better if the filling had a bit more taste, but that may have been due to my drinking the strong ramen soup.
As I was finishing, a companion suggested getting the option of extra noodles for $1. The portion provided was quite generous, but I note that some other places offer extra noodles for free. Nevertheless, $1 wasn't too expensive.
Overall, I found my experience at Genkotsu Ramen to be very positive. Whilst there were several areas which could have been done better, I was impressed with their standard of food, and convinced of its authenticity (which I hold in very high regard). With the opening of many ramen shops in Brisbane (Hakataya, Ramen Champion, Taros, etc.), it is very important to set yourself apart from your other competitors, I believe that Genkotsu Ramen has been able to achieve this, and look forward to going back for another meal in the near future.
Price Range: $10 - $15 per person