I am usually quite skeptical of the quality of Asian cuisines in Central, especially after trying "Kyoto Joe" and some others because I think they tend to be a bit overpriced for the quality provided. I'm equally skeptical about the authenticity of Japanese cuisines in Mong Kok (but that was proved very wrong by "Jinya" 陣屋). Nevertheless, I felt like a bowl of ramen during working hours but there weren't many choices around where I work. So it was either Wan Chai , CWB or Central.
Having tried "Yukitei" at Wanchai, and not in the mood to fight it out in CWB, I remembered "Hachiyo". This was a recommendation from my wife and she'd like me to try it out. This time I was the guinea pig.
The restaurant was relatively easy to find. Just climb the slope along the street where "Yung Kee" was located and turn left at the first junction. You should be able to see Soho Square. You'll need to know the address because I didn't notice any obvious sign at the front of the building for both the building itself or for Yachiyo. It's located at the 3rd floor.
I got in without waiting at 1:00p.m. It was pretty busy but not completely filled up. What was particularly nice about Yachio was that they had large windows all over the restaurant. Natural light illuminated the whole place and it felt pretty relaxing even if there were a lot of people. The customers, most of them ladies, and the staff, were all pretty relaxed and enjoyed their own conversations. It somehow felt very much like a comfortable cafe in Shinjuku.
Again, though I understand the "Shio Ramen" (literally Salt Ramen) was their signature ramen. I nevertheless ordered a spicy miso ramen as well as a portion of cold turnip. I ordered the cold turnip, which looked pretty good thanks to the comments and photos provided by previous food commentators.
First came the complimentary appetizer, it was a dish of green beans mixed, or perhaps I should say marinated, with konbu. The cold turnip came shortly afterwards. Both were excellent!
The turnip was excellent! It's a cold dish with spring onions and shredded bonitos placed on top. Evey single piece of turnip was very well marinated with dashi, i.e. a bonito fish broth, and light Japanese soy sauce, perhaps with a bit of sake as well. Every piece of turnip absorbed the broth and the aromatic spring onion taste completely. The texture of the turnips were also perfect! Fresh and crisp. It was cooked thoroughly but was still perfectly crisp, which is extremely hard to do. I haven't had better turnips in Hong Kong than this. This is better than those I've had at "Ishiyama" (fully cooked but the sauce was not clear enough, so the taste wasn't too clear as well), "New Kotobuki" (pretty good at family cuisines but not at crisp as here), "Sakaegawa" (their turnips were well marinated but not completely cooked) or any Izakaya/ Japanese restaurants I've tried for that matter. It's even better than any Kaiseki Ryoli I've tried in, e.g. Nadaman or in Japan. Highly recommended!
The pretty substantial bowl of ramen arrived after about a 10 minutes wait:
The noodles were nothing special. The size was "normal" (not too thin like the Kyushu style noodle nor as thick as the Sapporo style). The egg taste was light but there wasn't much taste otherwise. If this was a chuka soba, I'd say it might have been slightly overcooked. It's a pity because all other components were very excellent. It's still acceptable overall. The good point about the noodle was that the size was very substantial! I almost couldn't finish the whole bowl All in all, not bad.
There were a bit too much bean sprouts in the ramen for my a meat-eater like me. But I know many Japanese customers enjoyed it, including my wife. The black vegetable, possibly seaweed - again, the high quality konbu I believe, was also quite nice.
Char Siu: It was the thin, firm type marinated with soy sauce as opposed to the fat and tender ones you eat at Buta O. It's very much like those you eat with chuka cold soba ”中華そば”. Not bad.
Egg: This was very good! As commented by other reviewers, the egg was really excellent! The yoke was nice and soft. Not only did it have egg taste, the egg white was also well marinated in Japanese sweet shoyu as well. This is definitely one of the best I've tried so far! I've recently tried "Hinsho" at Jordan, that was quite good too. "Maru Tama" at TST is also very good, if not better - nice and soft and came in a whole egg!
The service was good. Every one was polite. They certainly had a lot of staff for the size of the shop (one staff every 3 meters)!
HK$75 for the noodle and HK$35 for the turnip. I noted that they had a lot of other vegetable dishes in their menu like from lotus roots, differet types of salad and other vegetable dishes. All at reasonable price.
The broth here is quite unique but authentic. The spicy broth here had a strong bonito and shio taste, which probably confirmed that they serve the more traditional types of broths in Japan, i.e. shio, shoyu, fish and probably miso. Although the noodle was not particularly interesting, the egg was definitely very good.
All the vegetables provided were super fresh and delicious! This almost drew the limelight away from the ramen in my view. It's almost worth coming here just for the turnip and vegetable dishes, even for a meat eater like me.
If you are a fan of "Yokozuna" and the lighter broths at "Tamashi", I think you'll like the ramen and the vegetable dishes here very much.
If you are a fan of heavy pork bone broths, i.e. "Buta O" and "Ippudo", you'll find that style here completely different from what you're used to.
If you like the white samurai bone at "Menya Musashi", I think you'll like the equally bonito based stock here. The fish soup taste here is even stronger. The noodle is a lot thinner than Menya musashi though - which is fine for me because I think the noodles at Menya Musashi too thick anyway.
If you like the traditional broths, i.e. shio, fish dashi, shoyu, I think you'll like it here - as long as you are not too fussed about the not too chewy noodles.
Combined with it's relaxing ambiance, it's definitely a decent option for ramen in Central!
Definitely worth a try!
1st version on 15.4.2012
2nd version on 15.5.2012 after trying a lot more ramen shops (and learning a bit more about ramen generally)!
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Apr 11, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately HKD105(Lunch)
Value for Money3
Keep it up!