Men Tei Ramen - Caulfield, Victoria
I was wandering around near Caulfield Station looking for a place to eat with its own bathroom when I came across Men Tei Ramen. Being vegetarian, eating out is sometimes a challenge. But I was pleased to see a wealth of non-meat options on the menu. Particularly tofu curry don. I had long missed the aromatic flavour of Japanese curry. But the tofu option meant that at long last I could finally have it again.
When I went to order, the staff informed me that I could request vegetarian versions of dishes on the menu! This assured that I would return sooner or later.
I wondered if I could also have room for the vegetable croquettes and maybe a ajitsuke tamago just by itself. But the quality of food that came was so abundant! I think even the hungriest of bellies could come here to get a good filling.
I think what charmed me the most about the place may have been the interior. The rustic timber walls, the calendar hung in a too-narrow partition. The wall art. The lilting soft jazz piano music. It all combined to create this sensation that I had stepped back into the early Showa period of Japanese history.
The staff seem to be from Taiwan. But the curry I had was so comforting and smooth, and the tofu so nicely fried. The lack of authenticity doesn't matter. It's still absolutely worth the prices, which are all very reasonable.
When I went out to the bathroom I found a charming corridor that lead to a beautifully maintained outdoor eating area. The bathroom themselves were rustic but pleasant. Which is saying something.
The only ways I could think the improve the place are booth seating perhaps. But even that's being picky. I really hope I can bring friends back here sometime. For atmosphere, here is a video of early Showa Japan!
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