It's the little things that always catch my eye, like the quirky spoons at Ichi Ban Boshi. We join the daily lunchtime throng of city folk, congregating impatiently to pay our respects to large steaming bowls of ramen. On my first visit to Ichi Ban Boshi I had been obsessed with the collagen-rich only-15-bowls-made-per-day tonkotsu ramen. This time I can't stop admiring the cleverly designed soup spoon, a specific cut-out enabling it to rest on the bowl edge, instead of sliding down and drowning in one's soup.
Negi Ramen $9.90 with extra leeks $1.00
Miso ramen with roast pork, leeks and hot chilli sauce
The G-man opts for the negi ramen with extra leeks, a rich miso soup boosted by a cheery boiled egg and a haystack of finely shredded baby leeks.
Chashu ramen $11.50
Ramen topped with Japanese-style roast pork
Mia sticks with perennial favourite chashu ramen, five luscious discs of fat-ribboned pork adorned with scallions, a blob of chilli and a clear soy soup containing chewy tendrils of ramen.
Aburi chashu ramen $11.50
Ramen topped with thick flame-grilled roast pork
I have my eye on the aburi chashu ramen. Three strips of decadent pork belly are meltingly soft, a blow torch searing the surface to a smoky just-charred allure. This is a dish for those not afraid of a little fat, its richness counterbalanced by refreshing morsels of pickled bamboo shoots, a muddle of wilted vegetables, seaweed and finely chopped scallion.
I convince Cho Cho San to choose the aburi chashu ramen on another visit. She pokes at the meat cautiously, lifts a piece to her mouth, chews thoughtfully and then smiles broadly.
It is very rich though, and she's feeling a little queasy by the end.
Cheese Ramen $11.50
Flame-melted cheese mixed with roast pork
on a bowl of shoyu ramen
I, on the other hand, must order the flame-melted cheese and roast pork shoyu ramen. Cheese, meat and noodles? It demands to be ordered.
The cheese is a mild parmesan cheese powder, melted until stringy in parts, swaddling a huddle of roast pork and onions on a seaweed raft. It's a little salty but not as rich and gooey as I'd expected.
It all gets eaten though, and as we push back our chairs I'm already thinking about what to order on my next ramen visit.
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Ichi Ban Boshi (menu)
Town Hall branch, Sydney
Level 2, The Galeries Victoria, 500 George Street, Sydney
Tel: 02 9262 7677
Open Monday to Sunday 11am - 9pm
Bondi Junction branch, Sydney
360 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Tel: 02 9369 3980
Monday to Friday 11am-3.30pm, then 5pm-9pm
Saturday to Sunday11am-9.30pm
Southport branch, Gold Coast Queensland
Shop 1 Cecil Hotel Complex, Scarborough Street, South Queensland
Tel: 07 5528 2112
Open Wednesday to Monday 11am-9pm (closed Tuesdays)
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Japanese ramen -- Menya Japan Noodle Bar, Haymarket
Japanese ramen -- Ramen Kan, Haymarket (Aug 05), (Nov 04)
Japanese ramen -- Ryo's Noodles, Crows Nest (Mar08), (Aug07) and (Jul07)
Japanese ramen -- Tokyo Ramen, Hornsby
Japanese ramen -- Zenya Noodle Bar, Eastwood
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2/13/2008 12:45:00 a.m.