Located underneath the Corner by Psaros building on Beaufort Street, this low-key eatery is the first restaurant from Luke Lee, the former head chef of Shiro Izakaya in the CBD and part of the opening team at Nobu Perth. Prior to coming to Perth, Lee cooked in Sydney where he racked up time at powerhouse restaurants such as Quay, Rockpool, Sepia and Bentley. A self-confessed ramen geek, Lee says he’s enjoying utilising his fine dining know-how in a less formal – and less expensive – setting.
Ramen Lab’s opening menu features two kinds of house-made noodles, starting with the spaghetti-like Hakata-style wheat noodles. Thin and straight, they are designed to latch onto the rich tonktosu (pork bone) broth synonymous with the Fukuoka district of the same name. The milky pork- and chicken-based broths are rich and unctuous in all the right places.
The other noodles on the opening menu are best described as a cross between soba (Japan’s indigenous buckwheat noodles) and udon (Japan’s thicker, chewier wheat noodles) and are deployed in two mazemen (soupless noodle) bowls.
The thickly sliced chashu is a lesson in porky deliciousness and is also available tucked into a pillowy steamed mantou bun. The lightweight takoyaki (octopus balls) figure among the city’s better examples. Unlike the standard accompaniments of kewpie mayonnaise and barbecue sauce, Ramen Lab’s versions (five to a plate) are seasoned with garlic aioli and Parmesan cheese. Traditional? No way, but it’s hard to argue with this level of deliciousness.