Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ikaruga 斑鳩 Tokyo Ramen Street

Down a few shops from Rokurinsha is Ikaruga, another famous shop from Kudanshita. The queue is fortunately shorter and turn over rate of tables are pretty high.The best-selling ramen is 特製らー麺 980yen , a deep bowl of noodles in tonkatsu broth blended with bonito and konbu. This kind of fusion broth is also commonly known as "W-Soup", which claims to remove any odd stench and to cut the richness of pure tonkatsu soup base. The noodles were of medium thickness and required less effort to chew than those burly types. Contrary to most glowing reviews, we found the tonkatsu broth a little too creamy and heavy on taste. 

But the ingredients were excellent. Each slice of the char-siu sliced to perfect inches with the machine at the kitchen were robustly flavoured. flesh tender and not too fatty. Meanwhile, the menma shoot emerged unscathed from the lukewarm broth in a single strand.   

The Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen with eggs (870 yen) did not offer the spicy kick as one would usually expect from food labeled "spicy" in Japan. But fear not, there is free flow of powdery garlic crumbs and shichimi to boost the heat.

The main reason we headed to Ikaruga was to try the unique Cheese maze-soba 850 yen that is only available from 2pm onwards. Served with a raw egg, the soba that still looked and tasted exactly like ramen were scattered with beautiful crumbs of three cheese; parmesan, reggano and red cheddar.  
The egg is supposed to be cracked and mixed inside the red bowl before pouring into the noodles but we skipped the steps and crack the egg right onto the noodles. The outcome is a slimy pool of rich and delicious noodles that is light on the sodium. 
The dipping sauce of the Tsukemen 850 yen is similar to the signature ramen, but more concentrated. The floating layer of Ikaruga's homemade chili oil on the warm sauce adds to the allure and makes the noodles slurp-worthy.
The sheer volume of the noodles implies that one either goes in on an empty stomach or share them with someone else. And if you happen to like cheese and ramen at the same time, have the cheese mazesoba first then maybe come back next time for the usual ramen.  

Ikaruga 斑鳩
Tokyo Ramen Street
B1F Yaesu South Exit, Tokyo Station, 1-9-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku
10:30am-11:00pm (Last Order: 10:30pm) Daily
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