Growing up in our house, ramen noodles were my family’s Asian-American version of chicken noodle soup. So when we were invited to Ryo’s Eat ‘n’ Tweet, all expenses paid, I was excited for an authentic taste of the warming and familiar Japanese ramen right here in Adelaide.
Fairly new, Ryo’s Noodles opened up in late 2014. Although Adelaide is home to a number of Japanese establishments, Ryo’s is one of the few that specialise in mainly noodles and ramen.
Walk in through the edgy, metal-clad entrance and you’re welcomed by the rustic yet contemporary interior of the cozy restaurant: exposed brick, distressed wooden tables and warm lighting. Similar to what I would imagine a small, laneway restaurant might look in Tokyo.
Before we got down to the soupy mains, we sampled a few of their side dishes as our entrées.
The first was a dish of six little deep fried octopus balls, or Takoyaki: baby octopus, tempura scraps, and Japanese pickled ginger all rolled up into a wheat flour batter and deep fried to a bite-sized perfection. Looking back on the evening, this was my favourite. After the initial crunch came the warm soft filling and the chewy bite of octopus. Lastly, the sprinkle of dried green onion and drizzled soy sauce over the top added just the right amount of saltiness to the mildness of the filling.
Up next was the karaage, or Japanese deep-fried chicken. I was less impressed with this dish as I’ve had very flavoursome karaage before and was hoping for the same this time around. However, this fried chicken was just salty minus flavour. The dollop of mayo on the side didn’t help much.
Ramen in spicy chicken soup with roast pork, egg, bamboo shoots and naruto; $14.50
And then came the main event: our noodles! I ordered the ramen in spicy chicken soup. I was craving something spicy that evening and this particular ramen certainly delivered with a kick at the end of each spoonful. Also accompanying the soup and noodles was a sheet of nori (toasted seaweed), bok choy, and soy-sauce flavoured egg. I love me some soy-sauce eggs so I was disappointed to find my bowl only had half an egg, whereas everyone else’s had two halves. Noodles were just a teensy bit overcooked, but I was a fan of the bamboo shoots and the texture and bite it gave to every spoonful. Before we ordered, the server explained that pork-based soups were typically more salty and the chicken soups were less salty. Nevertheless, I was blown away with the distractingly salty soup and how it overtook the base flavour of the broth.
The neighbour’s Cold Dipping Noodles, with roast pork, egg, bamboo shoots and naruto; $15.00
Service was okay. It was hard to get the servers’ attention as they tended to huddle and keep to themselves at the bar. After the intensely salty ramen I had, a refill of water was hard to hunt down and I ended up having to drink from my neighbours’ table water.
So if you’re craving ramen, Ryo’s is certainly a quick, casual go-to. And it’s in a prominent, easy-to-find spot right in the middle of Gouger Street in Chinatown. But at a hefty $15 for noodles and soup, it doesn’t quite give you a run for your money, especially when I can have a much cheaper version of the stuff at home that’s healthier and just as good. I do like that Ryo’s sticks to non-artificial stock in their soups, but non-artificial shouldn’t mean excess in salt.
[dbites was invited as a guest to Ryo’s Noodles]
80 Gouger Street
Adelaide SA 5000
P 08 8410 0752
7 Days 12pm-3pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm