Kiraku Ramen - Tokyo, Japan
On a rainy day in Tokyo, we ended up randomly finding JBS (aka the Worlds Greatest Bar) and pulled up a stool to sip a whiskey and talk to Kobayashi. Since the weather was miserable and we had just arrived from Osaka on the Shinkansen, we asked him if he knew a good Ramen place nearby. Immediately his face lit up and he whispered "Kiraku!, Old style Ramen but OISHI!!!!".
Luckily for us it was 300 meters away down the road in Dogenzaka so we threw our backpacks into our capsule hotel and clambered up the narrow stairs to peruse the menu. The first thing that hit my eyes was the photos of the hard-boiled egg, a feature of ramen that I never really like (a 6 minute, soft, set yolk is always the best) however, Kobayashi had recommended it so we had to try. He mentioned that the Wonton-men was the best so all three of us ordered a bowl (800 yen) and a large bottle of Kirin and sat there waiting.
The old lady clambered up the stairs, and the bowls arrived via the dumbwaiter. Huge, steaming bowls of rich, dark, umami-bomb broth with wontons floating delicately on the surface, the aformentioned hard boiled egg, and some rather thick sliced, dry-looking pork. All our expectations were floored with the first taste of the broth. The deep fried shallots (or onions) adding that deep sweetness in a broth that resembled a rich French onion soup in some ways. Absolutely stunning. The highlight were the noodles. They hardly get better than this anywhere. Perfect thickness, chewy, able to soak up all that rich, unctuous broth. The pork and egg are secondary, the broth and noodles are the hero here so if you're looking for melt in your mouth Chashu, this is not the place.
If you're looking for tradition and perfection done right, affordable and slap bang in the middle of the red light district (which is strange and comical in the same light) then this is definitely the place for you. Fill your stomach and then head back to JBS or slip down to the basement of Beat Cafe and have a drink with Katoman.
10/10 (broth + noodles alone)
Open from 11:30am-8:30pm (but closed on Wednesdays)
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