Shizuku Ramen - Modern Japanese @ Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Charlie & Co. dinned courtesy of Shizuku. 

Shizuku Ramen is a Modern Japanese restaurant, just a few stops from Parliament Station via 109 Box Hill, or very close (seeing distance) of North Richmond Station (on the South Morang Line). It's on the opposite side to Goodwill. Located on Victoria St known as 'Little Saigon' which is similar to Larkin Street (SF) as they have a lot of Vietnamese food. It's great to know if we're in the area we can get delicious Japanese food! Yes I am biased, though I think everyone loves Japanese food. We have yet to meet anyone who doesn't love it. 

I love it when you can book online, it make everything so much easier. Because if a place is very busy they won't take the call. Shizuku uses the yelp booking system, which is straightforward and easy to use. We booked online the night before and an hour before the booking I received a text asking us to confirm and serve as a reminder. We also got an email, which I didn't see till afterwards, whoops. 

We met David, the manager who was very knowledgeable, friendly and young (always a good thing unless you're my surgeon/teacher), who told us a bit about the restaurant. Shizuku opened around this time last year, and the menu has been developed and expanded greater since then, with the team constantly working on it. While they have a large range of dishes their focus is to serve the best ramen in Melbourne. And the largest serving of ramen you'll ever have, or at least for me that's the case. Shizuku also has a focus on using the freshest ingredients, like most Japanese restaurants, though they also only use free-range pork and chicken.  

There were a huge variety of sakes and drinks imported from Japan to choose from.

 There was also craft beers in very colourful bottles. 

Complimentary Popcorn

We started off with drinks, soda for me and sake for Jas (this is why we didn't drive today). While jas always orders a drink, I don't unless it's something special, I'm not one to order a soda when I could have a pack of them at home. So I do love trying new drinks!

Ramune Lychee Soda & Kizakura Yamahai Jikomi (150ml) from Kyoto $9.50  

My lychee soda was very light and bubbly, think sparkling mineral water but with lychee, the flavours were refreshing and not too sweet. Though the top four ingredients on the back were various forms of sugar, someone forgot the water and flavour in translation. The soda was made in Japan. The bottle was most fascinating to me, it wasn't a beer cap or a screw one, instead it was a plastic ring with a marble in the middle. That gets pushed down and says in the top part of the bottle, though with the drink it looks like a piece of ice.   

Jas always orders Sake, which is an alcoholic beverage of Japanese origin that is made from fermented rice. David recommended the Yamahai Jikomi by Kizakura to accompany the ramen. Which Jas enjoyed and recommends it though as there's so many different sakes available he'd like to try something new each time.  

Shizuku Spring Rolls $10
spring rolls stuffed with melted cheddar & edamame young soy beans, 
garnished with strings of dried chilli slices. 

Served with sweet chilli sauce these spring rolls were delicious! I love cheese, the edamame beans add something more than a smooth sharp taste, a texture and freshness to the spring rolls, making it uniquely Japanese. David recommenced these and they were certainly a winning dish, created by one of their chefs, four of which who are Japanese.

Karaage Popcorn Chicken  $12
a pile of deep fried free range chicken pieces with our secret batter recipe, 
served with kewpie mayo (and a wedge of lemon)

Who doesn't love chicken? If you don’t like chicken there is something very wrong with you (unless you're a vegetarian/vegan). Anything deep fried is good. While popcorn chicken makes you think of KFC this one is nothing like it. It's crispy, light, tangy from the lemon and dipped in kewpie mayo it's delicious! The batter is similar to battered fish, and just as light and not oily at all. Kewpie is the most popular brand of Japanese mayonnaise by the way, not something related to seaweed, as it sounds.  

Ebi Shio Ramen $17
hakata sea salt flavoured soup, scallop infused oil, fresh prawns, vege

Most of the ramens of the menu have pork in them, the chefs love pork and candied pork belly in the ramen burger sounds interesting. I went for the seafood ramen, a man-size serving of very fresh house-made ramen noodles that were springy, with fresh divined prawns and veggies. The broth was the base and the most important part, as it's what makes it or breaks it. With salt from South Japan, and scallop infused oil the broth/soup was simply but lovely. While the serving is huge and I didn't finish it, I did finish the broth. 

While the prices for ramen are higher at Shizuku, than at Fukuryu Ramen in China Town, the servings are much larger and make Fukuryu look like entree size. I would really like it if they offered ramen in two sizes at Shizuku, because I can't finish this on my own. And take-away with liquids doesn't go too well. 

Tan Tan Men $15
free range pork mince, chilli oil, preserved vegetables, 
rich sesame sauce, chef’s signature ramen

Meanwhile jas had the signature ramen, which he described as "really nice, well balanced with the pork and sesame" and the "soy milk aftertaste was also really nice, it was creamy but dry" in this case dry is a good thing. There was no faults with this huge bowel of ramen, which jas almost fished. Your plate/bowl is a canvas and the colour contrast of the food and bowl was great.

Do we have room for dessert? Of course, everyone knows you have a second stomach for dessert. ;) While the espresso pudding was tempting I decided to go with something more Japanese. 

Black Sesame Ice Cream $6
dusted with soy bean powder, waffle cone

I like black sesame, jas doesn't. This one was on the smooth side, light and nutty but creamy. I would recommend it, though would like to try the green tea or that espresso next time. To me the powder doesn't really do much. I thought this was going to be a scoop in a cone, so that was different. But I like it - as a slow eater my cones often drip. 

Miso Caramel Ice Cream $6.50
vanilla ice, shiro miso, banana toffee, fleur de sel 

When I think miso I think soup, which is nothing like what miso caramel ice cream tastes like. It looks like passionfruit drizzled onto but isn't. David describes it as salted caramel but more on the savory side. Jas enjoyed it as it was different, and the hint of miso gave it a savory kick, extra salted but less sweet caramel was the summary. The ice cream itself wasn't sweet but bland, which made it the perfect base to carry out the flavours of the miso caramel. As a sugar addict it wasn't sweet enough for me, but if you like a low-sweet dessert this one's for you. 

Service was great, though we're are definitely biased as we were invited. But we did watch the interaction with the other customers and David gave them just as much attention and information about the dishes as we received over the evening. 

Lighting was good and consistent throughout the restaurant. As we arrived at 6.30pm, quite early there was only a couple there, but over the course of the night there were only a couple tables left. The deco was pretty cool, especially those lights. Picture were taken before & after dinner, hence almost no one in my pictures, but it was busy. 

Jas's comments, he likes it and plans on returning and only has one negative comment which I sorta agree with (I don't know anything about renovations). While the bathroom is clean, it's old, think 30s/40s or Ripponlea ballroom. It would be much nicer if they renovated that part when setting up last year.

I would like to see bento boxes on the menu, just because I love them! And they're great for picnics on our day trips. Though they do have quite an extensive menu already. 

If you ever get the chance to go to Shizuku, and order two dishes order the 'Shizuku Spring Rolls' and 'Karaage Popcorn Chicken' - best dish of the night, we've got to explore more places with this dish! As for ramens, order one to share between two - unless you have a man-sized appetite, or order nothing else. 

Not often would I say it's cool to take your date to where we ate last, but this is a place you can take your date, or a group of friends for sakes and nibbles after work. Our HQ is just a few minutes away, where I'm not located but if I was and we had a much longer lunch (it's 30mins) I'd go here with the guys from work.  

But we are looking forwards to getting a group together to order a few entrees and ramens to share, in the next couple of months, and yes there will be more pictures. :) 

Shizuku is open for lunch and dinner, and you can get take-away too (pick-up only) through which is great, no misunderstanding/pronunciations over the telephone

Which Japanese dishes do you love? Any Japanese restaurants to recommend? 

Shizuku Ramen on Urbanspoon

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