Ramen & Izakaya Himeji - Menu Tasting

Ramen & Izakaya Himeji - 22-24 Grote Street, Adelaide SA 5000

On The Chopping Board (OTCB) were kindly invited to Ramen & Izakaya Himeji (RIH) for dinner.  All food and beverages were provided on behalf of Ramen & Izakaya Himeji.

RIH's signature Ramen - Kokuryu - Himeji Tonkotsu Black - Read on for more!
After fellow team member Nathan had visited RIH three times in the first week of it's opening, Jess and I (Amanda) were very excited to attend this menu tasting to see what all Nathan's fuss was about! His quick chop definitely had our taste buds singing all the way to RIH.

Table Setting with Asahi Beer
On arrival Jess started with an Asahi beer as we perused the menu and noticed how extensive it was!  Page upon page of so many different menu items, it struck us as quite overwhelming. Luckily today we aren't ordering and the chef is bringing out special hand picked dishes for us to try to ensure we receive a good selection of the menu.

Drink Flights
We were provided with 3 different drink flights. The whisky flight included a 12 year, 17 year and a reserve whisky. Amanda being a whisky lover enjoyed the selection and how the intensity increased with age. Would it be something I would order again to have with my main meals, I'm not so sure but I would love to enjoy them all on their own at the end of a meal on a full stomach! We were also provided with a Sake flight and a Umeshu flight. Jess had the Umeshu, which roughly translates to "plum wine", it was absolutely delightful, and is a wonderful accompaniment with our first dish.

Wagyu Tataki $8.20
The first dish up was the 'Wagyu Tataki'. The wagyu is from Mayura Station in the Limestone Coast and was served with grapes, yuzu kosho pepper, apple sauce, garlic chips, tosazu sauce and jelly.  Sliced not too thinly and seared on a charcoal grill, the wagyu was tender and juicy and when paired with the sweet freshness of grapes and apple sauce and the heat from the pepper provided a well balanced dish that melted in the mouth.

Wasabi Edamame $6.80 & Omakase Chef's Choice Tasting $17.80
The Wasabi Edamame were served warm and had the distinct wasabi flavour. They had a good amount of salt to kick off my edamame addiction. I did notice they also have a chilli, garlic and black pepper version which I like the sound of... next time.

The Omakase Chef's Choice Tasting consisted of 3 separate dishes presented in a divided wooden box including Salmon Tartare, Kingfish Ceviche and Kingfish Sashimi. The salmon was finely diced and served with avocado, and carrot, the Kingfish ceviche served with yuzu jelly, grapefruit and cherry tomatoes and the Kingfish sashimi with coriander and chilli. All three dishes were light and refreshing but maybe it would have been more enjoyable with one bigger plate of one dish rather than having the complication of the small individual dishes.

Kushiage 5 $18.00
The 'Kushiage 5' consisted of 5 skewers of chicken, pork, wagyu beef, squid tentacles and asparagus pancetta in a deep fried crumb. Amanda selected the asparagus wrapped in pancetta which she found odd for a Japanese restaurant but still enjoyable. The pancetta definitely took the asaparagus to another level with added flavour but overall probably a dish we wouldn't order again as there are so many other better dishes on the menu showcasing the food rather than hiding it behind deep fried crumb.

Kushiyaki Moriawase Yakitori $36.00
The 'Kushiyaki MoriawaseYakitori' is 10 skewers of various meats, sticky rice and tofu. The beef was a little chewy but the pork was tender and tastily marinated in a sticky glaze. The sticky rice skewer was difficult to eat as it fell off the skewer easily but still delicious.

Himeji Oden $11.80
Himeji Oden is a bowl of vegetable and fish cakes in a light chicken and soy flavoured Dashi broth and served with a side of ginger soy dipping sauce. We are informed this is a very traditional dish that you would see in Japanese homes most nights of the week. The Dashi broth is brewed for 12 hours to provide an intense fishy flavour so prepare the palate for that! We loved trying this traditional dish but we think it is one that takes some getting used to if you have not been brought up with these flavours. 

Steamed Bun Burgers
The steamed bun burgers looked great but were probably our least favourite of the night. The chef informs that steamed buns were originally from the southern most island of Japan and since then they have become quite popular in Vietnamese cooking. The buns were soft and springy but the fillings, we had pork and beef, were lacking flavour and texture.

Salmon Aburi Nigiri $13.80
Salmon Aburi Nigiri came with varied toppings, basil cheese, chilli yuzu miso, wasabi cheese and chilli garlic and served with pickled ginger. We appreciate the point of difference with the different toppings but we think aburi salmon can shine bright like a diamond all on it's own and we would be most satisfied! Also, if you a sharing it is always hard to decide who gets which piece with which topping, so if they were all served the same it would eliminate the timely and polite who wants which piece discussion!

Black Cod Miso $19.80
The Black Cod Miso was Amanda's favourite dish of the night. The chargrilled black cod with a miso sauce had divine delicate smokey flavours with good meaty pieces of white fleshed fish. Paired with a nice thick full bodied miso sauce it would easily be a dish to keep all to yourself.

Wagyu Beef Tobanyaki $39.00
Wagyu Beef Tobanyaki stone grill from Mayura Station with wasabi/yuzu miso, teriyaki sauce and sansho pepper salt - while we appreciate the spectacle of the stone grill, the meat was perfectly cooked upon arrival, and the pieces that didn't get gobbled up immediately and were left on the plate became overcooked, which was a shame as it was super tasty to start!

The Ramen Extravaganza...
When a Japanese restaurant has the word 'ramen' in the name it's making  a pretty big statement. And when you hear that the chef makes all his noodles on site expectations run high. Spoiler alert: this place absolutely nails ramen.

Kokuryu Ramen $14.90
Kokuryu - Himeji Tonkotsu Black Ramen - flavour runs deep in this dish, and the pork loin is so buttery-good, that it was at exactly this point that I (Jess) started wishing to be less full just so that I could eat this twice.

Kiwami Ramen $14.90
Kiwami - Umami Chicken Ramen - combination of super light chicken and seafood soup served with medium-thin waved noodles, prawn wantons and deep fried leek. The soup here was slightly more delicate than the first, but the noodles in this particular dish were an absolute standout! 

Mazesoba Ramen $13.90
Mazesoba - Cha Cha Cha Mix - with spicy pork mince, fish powder, poached egg and middle-thick egg noodles. This is basically a 'soupless' ramen, but don't let the lack of broth lull you into thinking this dish lacks flavour - it packs more punch than Ronda Rousey. And it was Jess' pick for favourite dish. Get a combination of all the different elements of this dish in your mouth in one go and you'll understand why. 

Chef's Jewelry Box $22.00
The Chef's Jewelry Box, a chef's choice of desserts, listed from left to right:

Green tea ice cream biscuit sandwich 
Coconut sorbet
Cheesecake Mousse
Vanilla bean ice cream
Raspberry Panna Cotta
Hazelnut ice cream 

These desserts didn't stand out, but it's hard to do so when you're the act that has to follow such deeply flavoursome dishes (although Jess was quite taken by the coconut sorbet).  I mean, if you went out to a gig and the warm up band turned out to be The Jezabels (swoon) how are you supposed to follow that up!?

The Bar
Overall RIH has an awe-inspiring menu, possibly even a bit daunting. And we're definitely going back to try the other ramens (uh...for scientific purposes of course) and a large sushi boat as we missed out this time. But we are sure if you were to park yourself at the lovely looking bar, pick out an umeshu or a whiskey, and settle in with ANY of the ramen dishes they have on offer here, consider your night 100% sorted.

Himeji Ramen & Izakaya Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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