Menya, Chinatown

29 April 2011
by Phuoc

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).


Menya on Urbanspoon

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19 Comments

  1. joey@FoodiePop

    Sometimes the basics are the best. :-) I haven’t been to any of the Mappen eateries yet but I hope to one day. I also don’t understand agedashi tofu sitting in too much broth although it does soak up more flavour.

  2. Jayson James

    Thanks for sharing!

    So far of all the ramen I tried menya is the most delicious. I thought the table setting is a little uncomfortable since it’s a long common table. I use to indulge myself with the ramen over at ramen kan but the ramen tasted differently from what I had before.

  3. Richard Elliot

    I made the fatal bloggers mistake of visiting this place without my camera!

    Yes, the photos are all very deceptive with huge servings of meat/fish cakes/tofu that don’t quite appear, but they are still good noodles. I went for one of the combo deals which had a small ramen, salad and small rice dish on the side. Very filling, nice variety and fantastic value at $15.

    I plan to complete the set and visit the Market St branch sometime soon.

  4. Steph

    Yummm the weather lately has been perfect for ramen, I’m craving it like crazy!! Haha magical headache-relieving ramen, love it!

  5. mademoiselle délicieuse

    I haven’t been here for years just coz I’m not in the area much but I used to eat here so often that I had a loyalty card – buy 10 bowls get 1 free!

  6. MissPiggy

    Another place to add to the list, I’m going to be the size of a house by the end of the year. I tried a Tonkotsu ramen at Gumshara last night and it was much more strong & thick than I’ve had before…

  7. chopinandmysaucepan

    The noodles look pretty good although I’m not a fan of having hard boiled egg in it.

  8. Mark @ Cafe Campana

    Menya is the first Ramen I ever ate. I don’t think it is my favourite but it is always reliable and caters for most peoples taste, others are too thick, too porky or too salty.

  9. JasmyneTea

    I’ve never had Ramen! How horrible of me. Would this be a good place for my first Ramen experience?

  10. Sara @ Belly Rumbles

    We need to listen to our body’s cravings. Not saying you had a hangover, but I find simple won ton soup fixes me up immediately when I have one, my body craves the stuff.

  11. Isis-Rae

    I love that ramen magically cured your headache. that’s when you know it’s really good.

  12. nic@diningwithastud

    I love it when they steam and then pan fry the gyoza. Thats how I do them at home. I find its really hard to find places that do. Mostly either steamed or deep fried.
    Will def give this place a go when Stud and I are next in the city – we’re suckers for Japanese food.

  13. angie

    We were out looking for Menya to try on the weekend but ended up at Ramen Kan instead which satisfied our cravings for some Jap. Mmm the weather at the moment calls for this kind of comforting bowls of slurpy soup and noodles!

  14. betty

    i bet this restaurant is getting packed everynight cos of the cold weather!

  15. Phuoc

    Joey: Crispiness vs flavour?? Fine balance between the two, have yet to find a place that does it well. Do try the menya eateries, they are a good, cheap feed.

    Jayson James: I’m still on my quest to try find the best ramen in Sydney, I really need to hit Gumshara as I’ve heard good things about it.

    Richard Elliot: Sometimes it’s good to to just to restaurant/cafe and just eat.. I saw that combo deal and thought it was value for money too.

    Steph: Nothing beats soupy noodles on cold, wet days!

    Mademoiselle délicieuse: LOL do you think they still do those loyalty cards anymore??

    Miss Piggy: I think we all have gained some extra baggage ever since blogging; all in moderation I’d say. I must try this Gumshara soon.. I want that pork rib ramen!

    Chopinandmysaucepan: Yeah.. I wasn’t expecting a hard boiled egg either..

    Mark: I think my first was Ichiban Boshi (in GV), I can’t remember which one I had but it was the thick collagen-rich ramen and that was good but too much! Good to know it’s always reliable :)

    JasmyneTea: I think it would be good for a first timer..

    Sara: Amen to that!

    Isis-Rae: HAHA that or I was food deprived.. I get grumpy when extremely hungry :p

    Nic: I’m so tempted to also make them at home too! I just need the patience to make all the dumplings because if I make it for my family I have to make 8 servings! Eeek! Enjoy :)

    Angie: Is Ramen Kan any good?

    Betty: Tell me about it! :)

  16. Gianna

    I really need to get here ASAP, the ramen cravings are hitting me hard in this recent change in weather! But being the chilli wuss that I am, I’ll steer clear of the karami variety!

  17. Phuoc

    Gianna: I know hey?! This weather is making me feel like an old lady! I hate the cold! But it is a perfect excuse for noodle soups.. Gotta love it!

  18. roz

    i like ramen and i have heard and read about this place and the reason i haven’t gone yet is that i really like my current ramen place and that they don’t have a vegetarian broth option. I’m not a vegetarian but i like it better than the chicken or pork broth. Maybe one day i will venture out – i tried the ramen place in campsie and that wasn’t that great and i tried another one in this little shopping centre near darling harbour (forgot the name) and that wasn’t very good and i tried naruto ramen and that was okay.

  19. Phuoc

    Roz: Whilst I can’t say that I’ve tried this myself but maybe you can give Ramen Bar in Berkelouw Bookshop (Newtown) a try. I’ve only had their meat broths and they are pretty good, not traditional Jap, but more lighter in my opinion. Their vegetarian broth is mushroom based. I hope you like it.

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