It’s funny how you stumble upon a place without realising it sometimes. I was at the next door premise for cheap dumplings one day when I found this place. I had made a mental note to come back soon, thankfully for me that day came the day after. I was bludging at uni (please don’t tell my supervisor that), had a pretty bad headache at the time and I was craving for some ramen. So I thought since I wasn’t doing anything productive at uni anyway, I’d might as well do something about this craving of mine..
Menya is a sister restaurant to the newish Menya Mappen. Here you order your food first, find a spot on the communal table and then the food is brought out to you. Remember that headache I said I had? Well, it appeared that moments after I dug into my bowl of ramen, that my headache magically disappeared. Maybe it was because I needed food in me to make the headache go away but the ramen certainly fixed my craving for sure! I came back the following week with Ant to try more items and to also fix his craving after I was raving on about it.
We ordered the agedashi tofu ($6.00), 3 big pieces of silken tofu were deep fried and swimming (actually, almost drowning) in a pool of sweet soy sauce broth.The tofu was soft and silky; I was expecting a thin crunchy coating but I found it was slightly gluggy even though I had it the moment it was brought to the table. Flavours of the soy sauce broth were subtle. Perhaps it would’ve been better to serve the tofu in a shallow bowl to ensure the tofu remains crispy.
A serve of gyoza ($6.90) includes 6 pieces of pork and vegetable dumplings which have been pan-fried and steamed. They were piping hot and deliciously crunchy and the filling was light and moreish.
When it comes to having the ramen here you have two types of soup bases to choose from, Tonkotsu (made from simmering pork bones for more than 10 hours) and Tori-gara (a chicken-based broth); both of which are flavoured with either shoyu (soy sauce) or miso. There is an option to increase the size of your noodle dish and add extra toppings to your ramen eg egg, corn, seaweed, meat, bamboo shoots (additional charges apply).
For my first visit, I decided to stick with the basics and ordered the Menya ramen – tonkotsu shoyu ($9.30). Slices of pork, bamboo shoots, fish cake, egg. shallots and seaweed accompany the dish. The soup was warming, thick and rich. Perfect soother for the colder season ahead!
Ant decides on having the Ton-toro ramen (roasted pork) – tonkotsu miso ($13.30) after much deliberation. The picture on the menu deceivingly portrays the dish to be filled entirely with huge slabs of roasted but sadly he only received 5 smallish strips. It was still good nonetheless.
Karami ramen (chilli pork mince) – tonkotsu miso ($13.30) is labelled “dynamite hot” on the menu so I decide to give it a try. Although a lover of food with some heat, I did find this ramen to be a tiny bit spicy but tolerable (however, if you can handle the heat, stay away). I wish there was a bit more of the pork mince though.
Menya doesn’t just serve ramen, there are soba and udon dishes, japanese curries, some rices dishes and a few typical Japanese side dishes eg edamame, tako yaki to choose from as well. Service is quick and food is good and cheap. I will come back to try some of the other noodle dishes and possibly the garlic ramen (kogashi – ninniku ramen).