17 Mar Hakata Gensuke, Hawthorn
I’ve heard many things about Hakata Gensuke, but have been daunted by the long queues and the fact that I prefer other types of Japanese noodles (I looove soba). Unfortunately I had missed out on the Hawthorn branch’s 50% off launch special, but a visit was on the cards once I discovered they had another special offer on. This particular offer consisted of $16 set menu with a bowl of ramen of your choice, plus either gyoza (5 pcs) or karaage (4 pcs), and a can of cold green tea. Dropping into the Hawthorn store with mum allowed us to try both entree options and two different varieties of their famed ramen.
The tables come with a variety of condiments such as pickled ginger, spicy pickles, gyoza and ramen sauce, minced garlic and sesame seeds. Mum absolutely loved the spicy pickles. There was almost always a large mound of it on her plate.
The bite-sized gyoza were much juicier than I was expecting. Eagerly biting into one resulted in juices spurting out the side, landing some distance away. Fortunately there was no one else sitting next to me, saving me the embarrassment of a display of inelegant eating and/or being responsible for wetting someone’s arm.
The karaage were crispy on the outside and like the gyoza, also very juicy on the inside. I particularly liked the karaage seasoning that came on the side.
Mum wanted the akatonkotsu ramen, which is one dishes exclusive to the Hawthorn store. The red colour of the broth comes from the addition of spicy roe paste.
I went with the black garlic tonkotsu. Mum also added on extra noodles ($2), whilst I decided to add on a flavoured egg ($2). The ajitsuke tamago had a nice texture, but I didn’t find this version particularly flavourful. The broth of both versions were rich and tasty. The single piece of chashu was nicely seasoned and tender. Mum’s extra noodles were presented to us later, on request. Although she had asked for them to be cooked to the same consistency as her noodles (normal) they came out harder. We kept it anyway, just to see what they were like, but both of us liked the regular ramen better.
It was hard to pick which ramen I preferred, but the akatonkotsu just edged out the black tonkotsu. It is a bit of a shame that ingredient inclusions are not as generous as other establishments. I can’t say whether the ramen at Hakata Gensuke is the best in Melbourne, given I haven’t tried out many ramen joints here, but I have to admit that we were pretty impressed.
860 Glenferrie Rd
Hawthorn, VIC, 3122
(03) 9819 2558