I’ve been dying to try Jamie’s Italian in Causeway Bay since it’s opening, but it’s popularity among HK’ers meant it would yield long queues. So, earlier this month, I decided to try our luck with a table by having an early bird dinner (@5pm). On that hot summer evening we made our way to Tang Lung Street, and to our astonishment there was already a huge crowd of people waiting to get into Jamie’s Italian. We made a quick decision to turn away and head towards Ichiran Ramen instead.
We knew that Ichiran is infamous for queues even at 4am in the morning, but we thought we might just get lucky. To our disbelief, we were seated within 5 mins of arriving (I guess the opening of their second shop on Jaffe Road eased up their wait times).
Ichiran serves Hakata tonkotsu ramen only, which simplifies the ordering process. You can, however, customize your order with the texture of the noodles, richness of the soup, flavour strength, spiciness and the amount of garlic and green onions.
When my ramen arrived, the first thing I noticed was how small it looked and how it lacked toppings to give it the wow factor. The flavorful pork bone broth was mildly spicy and was the highlight of this bowl of ramen for me. It may not have been as rich as I wanted it to be (note to self: next time order ultra-rich and double spicy), there was something about it that kept me going back for spoonful’s of this soup (do note that I loved Butato’s soup more). The char siu was decent, but we still preferred Ramen Jo’s more.
I’m undecided whether the individual booth seating design, where you push a button and someone you couldn”t see on the other side of the wall would come and take your order, is the charm of this restaurant or simply just strange.
The ramen portions at Ichiran are very small, so it is no wonder they say everyone gets a noodle refill (kae-dama ~ additional noodles in your remaining bowl of soup). Hubby had to order a noodle refill, 2 extra portions of pork and 2 eggs!
So what is the verdict? Ichiran serves a delicious ramen, but I certainly wouldn’t wait 2 hours at 4am in the morning to get myself a bowl.
Dinner Total: $269 (2 persons)
Address: Shop H & I, G/F, Lockhart House, 440 Jaffe Road / Tel: 2152 4040
Ramen ….$89 x 2
Half-boiled salted egg ….$12 x 3
1/2 Kae Dama (Half noodle refill) ….$15
Additional sliced pork ….$20 x 2