okay okay okayyyyyyyyyyyy. I have two words for you: Downtown Ramen.
Praise. The. Lord.
Downtown Ramen opened a little while back above hipster-central, too-cool-for-school spot Lefty’s in Harrington Street and has been tempting my tastebuds ever since. Almost every Cape Tonian blogger or social media darling has teased me with their VSCOCAM-ed Instagram images of the noodle broth from this Asian food fairytale and two weeks ago I found myself positioning the black textured bowls (read huge bucket of deliciousness) and red ladles in such a way that it would perfectly showcase my mixture of flavours and textures. I am just like everyone else it seems. Oh well.
For those of you that don’t know; ramen is a hugely popular dish all around the world (and obvs of oriental origin) that combines a flavourburst broth with noodles and a myriad of insanely tasty toppings such as boiled eggs, dried seaweed, sprouts or beans, leeks or spring onions, and a main such as pork or tofu. Every region and restaurant has its own variations but what is brilliant at Downtown Ramen (the first place in South Africa with authentic versions of the Japanese classic) is that the menu is short and sweet and pretty much directs you to your order immediately. Which by the way, is basically unheard of in my life. They also have select starters, including the UHHH-MAAAAZING beer-braised beef bao/buns (they will change your life and you can also ask for your ramen to be based around the beef so hallelujah amen).
The atmosphere is so, SO chill and the staff are super cool and even more friendly; with great music playing in the background while you delve into an explosion of new flavours and sensations. Ramen is unlike anything I have ever tasted and, because I am bloody good Jew and don’t eat pork, I opted for the vegetarian option – this was before I knew about the DIY style ramen with the beef – and was hugely surprised at how much I enjoyed a tofu-based dish. LIKE, SO MUCH.
I seriously recommend trying it out because it is fokken fantasties and extremely well-priced and something totally different from the norm.
PLUS IT JUST TASTES SO DAM GOOD.
Apparently there is a whole ritual in the way that you’re supposed to eat ramen which I totally did not partake in (oops) but I do have a tip for all of you – thanks to my beautiful roommate and ramen partner Nika – mix the chili in slowly because otherwise you will suddenly inhale fiery hot hell and start crying and choking while some random old man takes professional photographs of the restaurant slash you and your runny nose.
I will let the pictures do the rest of talking but please kids, take a trip downtown and thank me later.
Downtown Ramen is open Monday-Sunday from 17h00-22h00 at 103 Harrington Street (above Lefty’s).
Until next time xxx