Tuesday, December 20, 2016

黄金の塩らぁ麺 Due Italian: Michelin Bib Gourmand Cheese Ramen in Tokyo

No, it's not some Angmoh cooking up some ramen. It's Japanese ramen with an Italian twist. Think ramen in cheese broth with Parma ham. Something like soup pasta but the broth is thinner and not overwhelmingly rich. This Fromage Ramen is the signature creation of Due Italian, a little red ramen-ya that has been awarded Michelin Bib gourmand for 2 consecutive years. 

Chef-owner Ishizuka was born in Italy and opened up to 6 Italian restaurants in Tokyo at one point in time. Business took a downward turn due to economy recession but he met Sato Minoru san, the founder of famous ramen chain "支那そばや" and learnt the ropes from him. With the aim of serving healthier ramen, he created his signature "Golden Shio Ramen" (黄金の塩らぁ麺) that boasted a special broth made with a golden formula of Nagoya chicken bones, scallop, konbu etc. When I first stepped into his little red shop in Ichigaya, I thought I entered a small Chinese noodle house, not a typical hole-in-the-wall ramen ya. The only thing that reminded one that it is a ramen shop is the self-order vending machine. Nonetheless, it felt more welcoming than a ramen-ya and no wonder 80% of the customers are ladies. 
The basic Fromage noodle (980 yen) was an interesting dish served with two globules of cheese. Parma ham can be added for 200 yen and I think anyone should do so because it imparted more bite and flavor to the dish. Once stirred with chopsticks, the cheese disintegrated rapidly under the heat and turned the soup creamy white. Yet it wasn't as thick nor rich like a carbonara but more like a cheese-flavored milky chicken broth that was light and tasty. 

Add the beauty Genmai rice served towards the end into the remaining soup and you'll get somewhat watery porridge which they call "risotto". 
On the other hand, the Golden Shio Ramen (880 yen) tasted quite flat and pedestrian. I was expecting more from this bowl but there was nothing much to shout about except for the tender Matsuzaka charsiu. The soup was clear and significantly less oily than average ramen, though those who are used to rich heavy flavors will find that this lacked the kick. 

One thing I like is the flexibility to change the usual noodles to zero-calorie konnyakyu noodles for extra 100 yen. In fact, the texture was almost the same. 

Overall, the concept of a healthy Italian style ramen sounds pretty attractive but I'm uncertain if it is worthy of a bib gourmand. I'll look elsewhere for a more satisfying ramen experience. 

Due Italian 黄金の塩らぁ麺
〒102-0074 Tōkyō-to, Chiyoda-ku, Kudanminami, 4 Chome−4−5−11
Mon-Fri 11am-4pm/5pm-10pm
Sat 11am-10pm
Sun/PH 11am-9pm

1 comment:

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