Apart from being known for its long queue, Hakata Gensuke is also synonymous with authentic tonkotsu ramen in Melbourne. Since 2014 it has opened shops in Chinatown, Hawthorn and Doncaster.
Its latest venture in QV, though, is a curve ball – ramen dedicated to chicken.
The shop comfortably sits 30 people. There’s a counter area from which you can see the ramen chefs in action. There's a giant photograph of a very long queue taken during the Russell Street opening to remind you of its history, and to show you're in good hands.
Through years of experimenting in Fukuoka, Hakata Gensuke is introducing four new flavours: signature creamy; black sesame; spicy “God Fire”; and clear chicken broth. The noodles are thicker to complement the new delicate flavours, topped with fully seasoned sliced chicken breasts to replace the conventional char siu (barbeque pork), with chicken gyoza and karaage playing mean supporting roles.
The tick-to-order forms on the table; the red-and-white bowls; the Hakata-style condiments; and the ear-piercing greetings have all made it over to QV.
The surprise will be the special chicken rice. Here's some advice: order ramen and the rice. Once you're done with the noodles, pour the rice into the remaining soup to make zosui – Japanese-style congee.