Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Kuso Oyaji Saigo no Hitofuri (Osaka-shi, Yodogawa-ku)

Kuso Oyaji Saigo no Hitofuri

Asari ramen: 18 / 20

Contemporary artworks and rows of Corona beers in a Swiss-chalet-looking restaurant... an oshiburi brought to you as you arrive... this ramen restaurant is different, as should be clear from its name ("the last crappy old man"??). To be convinced, just look at the menu, which offers three kinds of clam ramen: asari ('littleneck clams' - not to be confused with 'assari', which means 'thin'), a thinner-taste shijimi ('freshwater clam') and a hamaguri ('common orient clam'). I chose the former.

Broth: This first spoon was a ramen-experience like I did not have had so many times in my life – one of the most prominently examples was five years ago at Ippudo, the very first sip that made me fall in love with ramen, or Nagi, which triggered my love for niboshi. Wow! Such an intense shoyu, with sweet notes and a deep umaminess from the clams that will sweep you away. The art here is not only on the wall, it is first and foremost in your bowl.

Noodles: Whole grain, a bit firm but not too much, just perfect.

Meat: Two large but thin slices of smoky chashu, quite intense in taste and with the right amount of fat – an excellent fit with the broth.

Toppings: To change from menma, an intense and sweet takenoko – gosh, that might be the best bamboo I ever had in a ramen! Some clams: they were good and a nice change, but after a while, I got a bit tired of them, especially because of the sand to be found in some of them. Maybe the only fault in this otherwise perfect bowl.

Frankly speaking, this shoyu ramen is close to perfection, and instantatly joined my personal pantheon of ramen next to places like Fuunji, Takakura Nijo, Nagi or Kirari. Even if you usually do not like shoyu ramen, you have to try this bowl. Clam-based soup might be my new love after niboshi.

More info on ramendb.

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