Its early on a Sunday night when I decide that I just can't be bothered cooking and that the time has come to try another Ramen restaurant. There aren't an awful lot of good Japanese Ramen restaurants and a lot of them are concentrated on the North Shore but I've heard a few recommendations for Rahmen Genki in Artarmon which is near Artarmon train station. Its a lot bigger than we expect and very brightly lit with photos of the dishes displayed on a board and there's an outdoor seating area or you can sit inside under the fluorescent lights. Patrons order and pay at the counter and take a number. Looking around us, there are a lot of young students slurping noodles and forking up great scoops of curry and rice.
We order one special Genki set dinner : Miso Ramen, 3 pieces of Gyoza, salad, Combu and Rice for $12.50 and one Katsu Curry $12 and an order of Gyoza to start $5.50 and take out seats with the numbers. We notice that they too have an autograph wall but we don't ask who the celebrities are as all of the people working there are rushing around hurriedly. As more people come and sit down, our orders arrive 10 minutes later.
The Gyoza arrives first, 5 slickly oiled pan fried dumplings. Biting into them, we taste a lot of cabbage but not a great deal of pork. The skin on this gyoza is a little firmer and there's an oily surface on them from being pan fried. They're not bad but I've definitely had better gyoza and the cabbage taste is a little too pronounced in these. One is unpleasantly burnt and tastes that way too.
Katsu Curry $12 (beef curry with crumbed pork fillet on rice with side salad)
Our mains arrive and the Katsu Curry sits on a huge oval plate. Its an enormous pile of rice with salad on the side and a Pork Cutlet on atop a large pool of curry. I bite into the Cutlet and its beautifully crisp, even the parts that are coated in the curry. I lament that there are only 6 pieces of this and enjoy every bite. I'm not a huge rice eater so I leave most of this behind for my husband. The curry itself is a beef curry with small pieces of beef flecked throughout the curry. If you're unfamiliar with Japanese currys, they're different from other curries in that they're milder and they taste less creamy and almost a little powdery.
Miso Ramen, part of Genki set with rice, side salad and 3 Gyoza $12.50
The Miso ramen has two pieces of soft thin BBQ Pork floating on top and a jumble of assorted vegetables lurking subterraneanly in the huge bowl. The soup is rich and delicious but alas the ramen is tangled up with bean sprouts and isn't particularly plentiful. The bean sprouts don't allow you to fully appreciate the toothsome texture of the ramen by itself but separating small pieces of ramen shows that its softer than I'd like. I'm not a huge bean sprout fan and they remind me more of a Chinese noodle soup dish than a Japanese ramen dish.
Out of Ryo's in St Leonards, Kenta Ramen in Neutral Bay and Rahmen Genki in Artarmon, both my husband and I definitely preferred Ryo's as their noodles are unfailingly the perfect consistency and you just cannot beat the Miso Bolognaise. I however loved Rahmen Genki's Katsu Curry's crispness (if only there was a bit more cutlet) whereas my husband preferred the proximity and prices at Kenta!
6 Wilkes Ave
Artarmon 2064 NSW
Phone: (02) 9410 3777
Wed-Mon 11.30am-2.30pm, 5-9pm
P.S. Across the street there is the cutest vintage store with a window that fascinated me for a good 10 minutes. It reminded me of a shop window from a Christmas fairytale!