Another ramen place you ask?! Well yes, but Yamagoya is special. Created by founder Masatoshi Ogata, whose recipes have been a long kept family secret for over three generations, this is the first time Ogata’s signature ramen has come to the capital.
Founded in 1969, Yamagoya – meaning ‘mountain hut’ – originated from humble beginnings in Fukuoka. Masatoshi spent 3 years tirelessly perfecting recipes on his customers before settling on the delicately balanced flavour of his kaeshi marinade, the marination of his chashu and the taste and texture of his noodle. It’s fair to say he’s quite the ramen connoisseur.
Now open for a six month pop-up in the heart of Chinatown, the special menu includes the celebrated ‘Yamagoya’ ramen; handmade noodles immersed in a smoky tonkotsu broth, garnished with traditionally prepared Japanese Chashu pork belly, marinated bamboo shoots, Kikurake mushroom, nori and marinated Burford Brown egg. We opted for the ‘Tobanjan’, a fiery spiced broth known to locals as ‘the fire of food’, finished with chilli pepper. Creamy, rich with just the right kick from the chilli, it was perfection. The thin slices of pork melted on the tongue – completely free of chewy fat. There’s also a veggie friendly option, a spicy miso and konbu broth. Although the famed ramen is undoubtedly the star of the show, it’s worth starting with the flavourful gyoza and tender chicken kara-age (fried chicken) which is served with a ponzu mayo dipping sauce.
We were pretty stuffed by the end of the meal but were intrigued by the green tea ice cream, with red bean paste and rice dumpling, which was bursting with flavour, really light and refreshing – the perfect way to end the meal.
The drinks list is short but has a decent selection of beers, wine, sake and plum wine. We went with the latter which was served alongside a lovely bottle of sparkling water, and went down VERY well.
More good news is that you can book with Opentable, probably one of the only places in the area you can! Slightly hidden (as above Shuang Shaung), you won’t want to miss Yamagoya’s six-month pop-up.