Yasaka Ramen opened a little while ago, but due to the plethora of Japanese dining options in Sydney, I didn’t make my way there until very recently. We came in a group of five on a Saturday night around 8pm, and there was a small line of people waiting outside. My friends had already been waiting about 5-10 minutes when I arrived, and we waited another 5-10 minutes more before being seated.
The restaurant had simple, wooden chairs and tables, and orange walls. The ambience signified an extremely casual, no frills restaurant, but one that is usually busy.
Yasaka’s menu is large, and varied. In addition to ramen, they offer a multitude of other small dishes, such as takoyaki, and mini donburi. All the girls and I decided to order tsukemen, although each with different dipping sauces. In hindsight, it would have been much better to have ordered one and gotten different ramens to share between us.
The Grilled Cheese Takoyaki was one of the recommended dishes on the menu. The takoyaki had a completely firm exterior and were cheesy on the inside, but not overwhelmingly so. Pleasant to eat, but not so good that I would order it again.
The noodles were my favourite kind; the thick, chewy, egg noodles. The texture was cooked enough to retain a slight firmness. The miso sauce was thick, with a strong, salty miso flavour. Despite the saltiness, it was surprisingly addictive, but had all of us reaching for the glasses of water after. Yasaka’s tsukemen was reminiscent of the kind I’d had in Japan, and just as good, probably some of the best I’ve had in Sydney.
The Osakayaki with crispy cheese was a heavy, moreish dish. It was tasty, but the lashings of mayonnaise and cheese meant I could only eat a few mouthfuls.
The black garlic sauce was intimidating in colour, with a strong garlic flavour that was also mildly sweet.
The chips were one of the last dishes to be served, and came unfortunately at a time when most of us were full already. They were the same thickness as Mcdonald’s fries, with a seasoning that didn’t really convey the taste of caviar, albeit for the saltiness, although there was a strong butter flavour (I’m not sure if the English on the menu was faulty, and was supposed to read ‘butter’, instead of ‘batter’).
The pork gyoza were probably the most disappointing dish of the evening. The bottom of the gyoza hadn’t been pan fried for long enough, and therefore wasn’t crisp. The interior tasted pleasant, but with no contrast in textures, it wasn’t a winner.
Each of us had ordered 200grams of tsukemen, and none of us had finished the bowl of noodles. It was a waste of food, and I highly recommend sharing noodle dishes between two here, especially if you ordering other dishes. Despite that, the noodles were delicious, and Yasaka Ramen has a high standard of ramen, comparable to places I’ve eaten at in Japan.