Ever since the first time I tried Hakata Gensuke’s city branch’s ramen I have been yearning to go to the Hawthorn branch to compare, and hopefully escape the need to line up.
“The staff, the chefs in particular, shout their Japanese greeting at you as you walk in, which is traditional. Throughout the meal you find that the energy of the floorstaff and the chefs from their greeting sparks the atmosphere in the restaurant. You are presented with a piece of paper, and a pencil, and have a number of choices to make on the type of ramen, the noodle texture, its strength, and additions you can make.
Being our first time, we both chose the signature tonkotsu ramen, normal textured noodles, normal strength, spring onions, and I had an additional flavoured egg. Tonkotsu is made from pork bones and this makes for a rich broth, that in this case, is completely divine. Throw in some noodles, that from my experience, are very high quality in taste and texture; some thinly sliced pork (cha-shu), black mushrooms, spring onions, and a deeply flavoured egg; and you have one of the best Japanese noodle soups that you could hope for.”
Well, besides not selecting the flavoured egg this time, everything at the Hawthorn branch was just as great. The city buzz is softened by a mixed suburban crowd, but the staff are just as friendly. The broth continues to shine as the star of the tonkotsu, alongside noodles that are absolutely superb.
Our first visit was enlightening and our next has left me wanting more. With Hawthorn a much easier proposition on a weeknight I expect it won’t be long until we are back.