Ajisen Ramen, Melbourne Central
I've mentioned before that your own city can present a wealth of opportunities to experience international culture.
(Pictures taken by me, 2019).
There are many wonderful places around Melbourne City where ramen can be procured. However, I felt that Ajisen Ramen is worth a special mention, as they recently heavily renovated. The fact that they are part of a Train Station, affordable and adjacent to many of Melbourne Central's new developments means that they are convenient to an extent that other ramen place around Melbourne mightn't be.
(Please excuse my narcissistic selfies. 2019.)
The fact that Ajisen is so well laid out means that it would serve well for social gatherings. But it doesn't lack the intimacy and beauty of other ramen restaurants. As a kimono aficionado, I couldn't help but want to take some selfies there. Also, it's worth noting that there is much, much more on the menu than just ramen, as good as Ajisen's Kumamoto style broth is. But I'm only telling you things about the place that a quick Google search would probably tell you at this point. The vibe the actual place has is one that is somehow casual and yet luxurious at the same time. It gives off the sense that you can have serious meetings there, but without it being overly formal or uncomfortable.
(A picture of the title dish of the restaurant, Ajisen's signature ramen dish. I found that the dish had perfectly balanced flavours. The piece of pork wasn't very strong in its seasoning. 2019.)
The quality of the food is high. But also, the variety speaks of how the menu is the product of both contemporary and traditional influences. For example, it was possible to get an yuzu lemonade in Ajisen ramen long before it became a common item. There are also soft-shell crab and beef options that are somehow exotic and comforting at the same time.
But I think the main thing I want to stress about this location is the way the whole experience comes together. The setting is sufficiently vibrant that it makes the food taste better. And the beauty of the food seems to heighten the beauty of the room. So, if you are wandering around in Melbourne Central wondering what to eat, I recommend taking a little walk just outside the Elizabeth street exit and giving Ajisen a try!
Also, I managed to find a beautiful short film about the origins of Ajisen Ramen, all the way from Kyushu in Japan!
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