Having heard numerous reviews about this place, particularly its tendency to be packed out, we came hungry and eager and early. The wait wasn’t too long for our party of 3, which was good, but granted, we arrived very shortly after 12, and it was already full, with a waiting list of about 4 tables. Thankfully, service was fairly prompt and unobtrusive, topping up water glasses discreetly, and bringing out orders relatively quickly.
Shio Butter Ramen, with extra Pork
Tim’s bowl – he had apparently been on the previous Saturday (without telling me, or taking photos!), and had ordered the Shio Ramen, in case I scolded him for the added butter. Naturally, I demanded he get it this time, so I could try some xD. The extra pork was needed – as you can see from the bowl below, the bowls ordinarily come with just one piece of pork, which is so not enough, given the size of the bowl. Extra pork (4 slices) will cost you though, but is worth sharing. The butter added a touch of decadence to the fairly good bowl of soup, a little more depth, and went particularly well with the sweet corn. Tim wasn’t sure it was worth the extra $1.50 though, compared to the original Shio Ramen.
Very Hot Ramen
B hasn’t been on one of our foodie trips before, and looked slightly bemused as I whipped out a camera and took a shot of his bowl before he had even picked up his chopsticks. He said that the ‘Very Hot’ ramen, was indeed, very hot, and finished it, soup and all.
Mine! I haven’t had ramen for a while, and this was very much one of the better examples I’ve tried. The soup was savoury and unami-laden, and noodles deliciously slurpable. The karaage chicken was so-so – nice and crisp before soaking up the soup and tender on the inside, but could so totally be jazzed up a little. I didn’t get as much corn, or any beansprouts as Tim, which made me ‘sadface’, but stealing some from him made my meal feel a little more balanced.
In general, it’s a good eat, and I can see why it’s popular. I can’t help but feel distinctly ripped off though, particularly with the cost of toppings (or lack thereof). One of my major complaints about a popular Vietnamese Pho Restaurant is its exuberant pricing on extras, and Ichi-Ban Boshi has a little of the same feel, although the serving sizes themselves are quite reasonable. Other than that, look at paying between $10 to $14 for a bowl of ramen. Not quite uni-student fare, but otherwise very much passable.