200 Lonsdale St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
We’ve had one ramen, yes. But what about second ramen? Apparently not content with only having the best tonkotsu ramen in town, Hakata Gensuke QV has recently expanded their repertoire to include chicken ramen as well. As chicken ramen is previously unheard of in Melbourne, Hakata Gensuke has once again turned themselves into ramen forerunners, this time in a market saturated with tonkotsu that’s keen for something new.
For anyone who has been to any of the Hakata Gensuke restaurants, the QV branch will feel instantly familiar. Sitting in the glass box where Meshiya used to be, they’ve kept the quintessentially Japanese combination of neat wooden furniture, and noren hanging over the open kitchen. The narrow space is not designed for loitering, but it’s a friendly and welcoming one nonetheless.
The Gyoza ($5, 5pcs) were as good as I remembered, the silky pan fried dumplings holding a delicate centre of chicken mince.
The Signature Tori Ramen ($12) with Soy Marinated Egg ($2) was something to rave about. Made from chicken and dashi, this soup was deeply umami, with a rich creaminess that would satisfy any tonkotsu lover. I found the poached chicken to be less exciting than charshu pork, but the hand-made noodles and gooey egg were as top-notch as ever.
After the signature ramen, the Tori Shoyu Ramen ($11) with Soy Marinated Egg ($2) didn’t quite measure up. The clear broth packed a much lighter flavour in comparison, and although it was a great bowl of chicken noodle soup, that was pretty much all it was. I did however love the noodles, which were thicker than the standard offering, and satisfyingly slurpable.
I’ve devised a test to determine whether or not a bowl of meat-based ramen is good or not; if your serviette doesn’t stick to your lips as you wipe at the end of the meal, then the ramen hasn’t done its job. I call this the collagen test (PATENT PENDING), and Hakata’s chicken ramen passed with flying colours.
Rating: 14.5/20 – collagen test.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.