Kakoro, the sushi and bento bar outfit who originated on Lower Liffey Street, have just opened The Ramen Bar at the back of their tiny city centre premises on South William street. It’s cool and super fun. You sit amongst the punters arriving for their takeaway sushi and bento boxes and try not to slurp noodle broth all over your clothes, grateful that most of the high tables are facing the wall. Each place setting is prepared with a paper menu, a covetable wooden soup spoon and a pair of chopsticks. When you order from the paper sheet in front of you, they ring your order with biro, and shortly afterwards deliver bowls of steaming deliciousness.
You can choose your heat level between Mild, Spicy and Hot. I ordered it Spicy, and found it on the hotter side of spicy, so beware!
Spicy Miso Vegetable Ramen had an umami dashi broth, flavoured with miso, with vegetables, sweet corn, seeds and the softest silky tofu. The extra of “seasoned egg” earned its place in the bowl. There was baby spinach, and bean sprouts and sesame seeds mixed with delicious noodles that they actually make themselves on the premises. Home-made noodles are rare in Ireland. We’ve had them in Galway, where they are made by machine, and in Cork, in Miyazaki, where chef Takashi makes them by hand.
The dish here was so well balanced and stunningly presented in a beautiful green bowl lined with a square of toasted nori. There was even an unannounced little starter of aubergine and sesame. Everything was delicate and tiny, except for the pak choi, which came as a centre piece of crunchy cabbagey heart – difficult enough to manage with chopsticks. I was glad to be facing the wall, and the fact that the tables are set at chest height. But hell, this is what ramen is all about. Feel free to slurp.
52 South William Street, Dublin 2 kokorosushibento.com