It was with optimism and a blank slate that I returned as the snow set in and coloured everything in suicide. A group of us huddled into the corner by a sturdy wall and proceeded to order the Spicy Miso Ramen with pork belly.
An extremely pleasant waitress balanced a tray of four piping bowls expertly, setting them down and hurrying off to fullfill other calls. It looked different from last summer. I mixed the chilli oil into the broth and sipped.
Creamy hits of miso, heavy but hearty broth, thin but well prepared noodles, specs of greenage, charred cabbage, an egg and the "house special" pickled jerusalem artichokes all appeared in order. This was a better than last year. Exactly why? It was those small details that made a huge difference. First of all last year the egg was barkingly salty, not in a "I love salt" kinda way, but a "Jesus I just licked a pile of Maldon" way. This time it was perfectly cooked and nicely marinated. I guess the noodles were the same as before, but they were never a problem. Ignoring the less important toppings, the meat had improved, but only slightly.
Gone were the pink thin slice of pork that tasted more like a ham last year, in place for a caramelised pork belly. Two slices lay half-submerged in broth. One tasted great and came apart in my mouth with good flavour, the second piece (perhaps an end slice), was rather chewy and dry. Such mistakes can be overlooked when the rest of the bowl was a treat to eat, and this really was.
Whilst they are a few tweaks away from perfection, at least Hrimnir are pushing forward to improve their product instead of some places in town that are happy with their own brand of mediocrity.
These recommendations are just personal opinions based on my palate, things change, chefs get fired or replaced, places open-close, relocate, so take it all with a pinch of MSG and discover your own gems too. But please do try a few of these, they have been researched exhaustively.
"Sadness is tempered by umami, grief by the motion of slurping, hope restored by the ladling of glistening, fatty broth"