Yasaka Ramen CBD
A love of ramen brought Ben Zhang and Takeshi Sekigawa together in 2009. Fresh from earning his ramen stripes in Tokyo, Sekigawa was cooking at Chinatown’s lauded Gumshara. Zhang would come in to feast no less than five times a week.
They struck out on their own at the end of 2014. As at Gumshara, the long-simmered tonkotsu (pork bone broth) is a popular drawcard. Sekigawa flew in Japanese pressure cookers to ensure maximum flavour intensification. But the Kyushu staple has slowly been outshone by other house specials, such as spicy black garlic ramen.
The lesser-known kakuni ramen, made using soft pork bone, is also on offer. Featuring slightly sweet, marinated hunks of meat swimming in a savoury, translucent broth, it has all the makings of an umami hit. Even Yasaka’s lacklustre selection of big-name lagers prove a good pairing here.
Groups can opt for the share plate of the ramen world, the tsukemen (dipping noodle ramen). It’s prepared using wholegrain wheat noodles. Like all the noodles at Yasaka, they’re made in-house.
Passers-by can learn the process by peering into the shop’s front window, which takes you straight into an industrial-scale noodle-making factory. Nearby, takoyaki (octopus balls) are churned out in crisp golden schools.
Reflective pendant lights, exposed brick and timber round out the minimalist multi-storey space, which is punctuated by the words "No Ramen No Life" printed on the wall. The sentiment is echoed on the staff’s shirts – and by many of Yasaka’s diners, we suspect.
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