Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Australia Day 9: Melbourne, Momotaro Ramen

I have so many great memories of university, too many to count, definitely too many to mention. One of them would definitely be driving around in my pyjamas (not pyjamas, you know, just what American college kids sleep in) to try random local eateries and explore different districts in the Bay Area.

After our wine trip, my cousin Z. and I were pretty exhausted. We went back home to shower and that revived us to our earlier plan of finding a light dinner before settling down to work. He showed up with his car and one of these great Cheap Eats books. This one is published by The Age in Melbourne for eating places under $25 and it's updated every year and categorized by district and cuisine type.

The book led us to Richmond and a hole-in-the-wall ramen joint called Momotaro Tomato. Richmond is an interesting area, you sort of drive through little Vietnam, streets where you might think you were actually in developing Asia, then you would also pass an old English church, or a suburb with pastel houses, curb parking and rainbow-hued trams.

This is my cousin checking out the variety of choices of ramen, all listed on the board above and all made on this little countertop by a friendly Japanese family.

This is sort of your equivalent of a more upmarket hawker stall and yup, you pay, in cash, at the counter before receiving any food.

The restaurant only seats about 20 people but the ramen is steaming hot and comforting, as well as moderately priced. We had the shoyu ramen and miso ramen with a plate of gyoza. The bowls of ramen are huge and the ramen is home-made and springy. The broth is also well-made and tasty and the set comes with a Japanese coldslaw salad. You can also have katsu curry and some other Japanese specialties and the shop does takeaways.

The decor of the place is minimal, wood, tile and lots and lots of Japanese magazines and comics. It's cute and liked that lots of aspects of this place were very niche- you can find for example, a Japanese newspaper stuffer about a meeting for Japanese gay anime lovers.

We ate quickly and then went home to his apartment-with-the-beautiful-view (I envy you your student life Z.!) to hit the books in his case, or start reading for meetings the next week, in my case.

I felt like a 20 year old again. It was a bittersweet feeling!

Momotaro Ramen
392 Bridge Rd
Richmond, VIC 3121
Tel: 03-9421-1661

Ambiance: 4/5
Service: 3.5/5
Location: 3/5
Food: 4/5

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