I Like Ramen started in unlikely circumstances. When founder and co-owner Bobby Douglas was on six months recuperation for an injury sustained as an electrician he spent his time experimenting in the kitchen with different kinds of foods and flavours.
Eventually, with his partner’s encouragement, Douglas traded wires and cables for noodles and broth. Not long after, Dominic Benjamin found Douglas cooking vegan ramen at the Miami Marketta. He was soon a co-owner of I Like Ramen.
“I tried a sample of the panko mushrooms and thought these guys are cool as hell,” he says. “From there I just jumped on board.”
I Like Ramen opened a permanent shop at The LC marketplace on the Gold Coast earlier this year. Now comes Brisbane’s turn. After a successful August pop-up in The Coop Bistro underneath The Flying Cock, I Like Ramen took over the space permanently in late October. It’s been a relatively seamless transition, Douglas and Benjamin keeping the front and back-of-house staff from The Coop, adding in a chef from the Gold Coast store to oversee the opening.
The space itself is much the same – white tiles, black tables and a huge capacity for seated dining – with some added line-drawing artworks from Gold Coast-based Danielle Falls (Brisbane artists will be exhibiting works on rotation). There’s seating outside on Brunswick Street and plans for a communal table for a more family-style dining experience.
I Like Ramen’s menu eases you in with smaller plates such as agedashi tofu, shiitake mushroom croquettes and panko mushroom and kimchi bao (a nod to Douglas’s time working in a panko oyster food truck in Canada). Make no mistake, though – it’s the noodle broth you’re here for. There are seven different bowls on offer, all 100 percent vegan. The shiitake mushroom ramen is perhaps the pick; its rich, earthy broth is served with chopped spring onions, fresh sprouts, fried shallots, roasted seaweed, chilli threads and sesame.
The drinks menu leans on a list of natural, organic wines, including Unico Zelo’s Esoterico and Delinquente Tuff Nuff. Beers are available on-tap and by the bottle.
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on October 27 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.