Guys! I found true, authentic Japanese ramen on the Gold Coast! Yasssssss!
‘Irasshaimase!’ Although food is usually my first note, when you enter Ramen Danbo, there is a distinct atmosphere and energy. The staff are all ready and excited and happy to see you.
Your first mission, and I call it a mission for a reason, is to choose your ramen. Now, if you’re like me, this is a massive mission because I want to try every flavour!! I am always torn between a traditional tonkontsu and trying something a little different. Kim and I eventually decided on sharing our ramen (because we are greedy and wanted to try both) and a side of bite-sized gyoza each (see greedy, above) and a Kirin beer. Can’t beat a Kirin on a hot day and the Gold Coast was certainly turning it on!
What’s a little different here was that you were able to customise your ramen right down to the your noodle firmness, the richness of the soup and the spiciness. And of course there’s the extra sides but you can choose extra house braised pork belly (chashuu-men) or rekka ramen option which loosely translates as inferno – yummm. We were given a heads up by the team that the best way (how the Japanese do it) is firm noodles, a lot of richness and as much spice as you like, however a little, is more advised than none. We stuck by this advice and it definitely paid off.
We chose a booth to sit in but I would go for the bar next time, I enjoy watching the Chef’s do their thing. Kim’s choice was the nitamago ramen which is the classic ramen but with the rekka option and extra “nitamago” or soft boiled eggs. I chose the negi-goma ramen with freshly sliced spring onions and toasted sesame (apparently a Japanese favourite) with the rekka option and nitamago soft boiled eggs as an addition. I love those eggs – ramen just isn’t the same without it.
The ramen came out first – they were quick! We tried each other’s and decided we preferred our own (that worked out well) but agreed they were both delicious. Mine was slightly more spicy and rich than Kim’s, absolutely delicious. The difference is the ramen is truely authentic. Imported Japanese ingredients and all. Some of the staff have even come from the Ramen Danbo group in Japan! No wonder it’s so good.
Gyoza followed quickly afterwards, they’re special ‘Hakata’ gyoza, big enough to devour in just one bite! Hand made, delightful little parcels of happiness! If you read my blog, you know my obsession with anything from the dumpling family. These little babies are flavoursome and even more so when you add the green paste to them that comes on the side! It’s made up of Japanese lime, green chilli and pepper. You eat it the same way you would wasabi, either mixed in with the gyoza sauce or dabbed on before you dip. It’s quite a unique flavour and I bet you will wish all places served it up after you’ve tried it.
The restaurant in Southport was pumping. There were lots of customers coming through and many were Japanese (always a good sign). Although, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ramen Danbo is such a success if you know the history. The original Ramen Danbo opened its doors in 2000 with a simple mission – to deliver a tonkotsu ramen with top quality and flavour, with strict consistency. After placing number one in a TV poll of the top ramen shops in Fukuoka, the brand expanded quickly all through Japan. We are pretty lucky to have it right here on the Gold Coast!!
If you’re from Brisbane and a fan of Taro’s ramen, this is a must try. I will be there again soon to try the classic tonkontsu option! And the gyoza… rude not to.
**Although this meal was complimentary, this review is authentic and true. I can’t wait to go back and eat more – I will try the classic next time. Plus it’s a great excuse to hit the beach too!