225 Russell Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 0989
When I heard that a 24-hour ramen restaurant was opening in my fair hometown of Melbourne, I clapped my hands with glee. I love ramen and almost anything that’s open all around the clock so I knew this place was going to be one of the first places I planned to visit on my next trip down south.
The eatery is called Menya Sandaime and it happens to be part of a global Korean-based franchise of ramen restaurants. Melbourne is its first foray into the Australian market and given that Melbourne’s ramen scene, to date, had been lacking, we welcomed Menya Sandaime with open arms and hungry stomachs.
I walked into the restaurant just before 11:30am on a Monday; it wasn’t terribly busy so I was able to be seated immediately. The service was efficient – I only had to wait a few minutes before I received my steaming bowl of ramen.
I ordered the basic ramen, which the menu vaguely described as ‘not your typical Japanese ramen.’ I’m not exactly sure what set this particular ramen apart from the other tonkotsu ramens around except for a piece of blanched bok choy. That said, who on earth puts bok choy in ramen???
I was pretty disappointed with my ramen. For starters, the bok choy was enough to destroy any claims of authenticity. Secondly, the egg was more hardboiled than gooey (a no-no if you’re a ramen purist). Thirdly, the broth was very salty and one-dimensional, with no depth and no richness even the thin layer of fatty particles floating on top of the broth. Even a bowl of instant Mi Goreng noodles had more character than this!
In a way, I can understand that it’s a bit unfair to expect food coming out of a 24-hour establishment to be top notch. In saying that, I did expect a bit more from this highly anticipated ramen haunt than this! I guess one good thing about Menya Sandaime is that Melbourne now has more options for 3am revellers on the way home from the clubs. After all, a bowl of soup noodles is a better option than a McD’s burger or greasy souvlaki from Stalactites.