I've been to Japan twice, but have only visited Tokyo, not Kyoto where this ramen store originates from, so when a friend suggested we go after an afternoon clinic, I was definitely keen to try. I've also been to Hong Kong multiple times, but there is so much food there that I also never tried this ramen there either.
I wasn't expecting much, but was pretty surprised at the decor inside. It gives off that 'expensive restaurant' feel, even though you're only eating ramen. Yes, this ramen costs more than your cheap Chinatown ramen (don't get me wrong, those Sydney favourites still on my list to eat just haven't had time). Made a booking for Monday night, and it was quite busy after 6pm, with all the bar tables and high tables with stools full. They give you bibs to wear which I thought was quite cute. Normally you have bibs if you eat ribs. It's nice to protect your work clothes if the noodles does splash in the broth.
Kogashi Miso: charred miso base, original chicken broth, half umami egg, pork belly chasu. Noodles: #16F medium-thin (low hydrolysis)-$18
This is definitely worth trying at least once. It's a very unique sort of broth as you get that burnt after taste. The broth was more oily and because of that burnt aftertaste, it's hard to drink the broth after you finish it. Normally I don't drink it because it's too salty, but here the burnt miso aftertaste rather than being salty is only nice with the noodles. The only time I've ever fully drank ramen broth was in a Michelin ramen restaurant in Tokyo. The noodles held together well and had an al dente texture, since there's less water and more flour. Was hoping for a larger slice of pork, but it was super soft. There isn't a lot of noodles in the bowl compared to other ramen places, but I guess that allows you stomach space to try the side dishes.
Tried a tiny spoonful of this, and it was enough to make meet my spicy tolerance. Apparently this ramen tasted really fresh because of the coriander and tomatoes in it.
I normally don't order fried chicken unless other people want it. This was crispy on the outside, and super juicy and moist on the inside. Worth trying this Jap style fried chicken. You get 6 pieces which is sort of an odd number to share.
Gogyo Original Gyoza-$14
Asked the waitress for popular side dishes and she recommended this, and also said it was larger than your average gyoza. Well, tbh, it's smaller than your average gyoza, and it's not cheap for 5 pieces. It could have also been crispier. The meat inside was seasoned well without being too salty, and the skin was really thin, so I guess you're paying for the freshness and I'm assuming it's handmade by the chefs here. They have heaps of other sides to try compared to other ramen places.
They have 8 chefs which is a lot for ramen, then again there is more seating here. Although in Japan, the award winning ones only have 3 chefs serving 10-15 people at a time, but they constantly work the whole day. The service was quite attentive at the beginning and they kept refilling water, but once it got busy, it was hard to get more water and waited a bit to pay the bill.
I don't drink alcohol much at restaurants, but here they don't allow you to try the glass before you purchase the bottle. Even though a friend did get a glass, they didn't pour it in front of the table, which apparently is what happens at other restaurants. Not sure if this is a Japanese thing of not pouring the bottle in front of the customers?