Wow, and I thought I was an early bird! Looks like news has spread already and it's already getting crowded!
I arrived at 7:10 pm on Saturday and was required to sit at a table for four with two other customers. Luckily, there was no queue. On the other hand, there was still a huge queue at ButaO, which was just located right across the street. The shop was slightly bigger than ButaO and a lot more spacious.
Again, I came here because of the food reviews and enticing photographs of the "Red" ramen. It was a simple one page menu with three types of ramen only: "White", "Black" and "Red". In view of the generally artistic nature of Japanese people, I'm surprised the restaurant didn't have a fancier name for their ramens like most ramen shops, like King, Spirit, Samurai Bone, Legend, Earth,Wind&Fire...etc. I suppose the obvious candidates might be "Red David" or "Dance of Black"...etc.
Anyway, I ordered "Aka". There's no application form to fill in but the waitress will ask you whether you'd like your noodles to be soft, medium or hard. I chose medium plus the black fungi (きくらげ 黑木耳). She also suggested gyoza which I tried. After a 5-6 minutes, which was much faster than Buta O, my Aka arrived:
命名舞花巧 - <赤>
It was very aromatic when the noodle was placed on the table. I had a sip of the cold rice tea 玄米茶 (Genmaicha) before trying the broth.
The broth was quite special. The type of spiciness should be made from spicy miso and a bit of chilli oil. The white objects in the middle were chopped raw onions. This, together with the spring onions (not chives like Tatsuya), adds a bit of complexity to the Aka broth.
It wasn't too spicy for me I had to put a little bit of extra chilli oil into my noodle (at the very end just to try out the combination). The chilli sauce on the table was very interesting, it's quite similar to Kwai Lam chilli sauce but very finely grounded and had a slight but distinct taste of seafood (bonito or scrimps?)
The two tastes with really stood out the most was miso and garlic. It's a lot more garlicky than most ramen. Imagine crushing two to three extra cloves of garlic into your Daruma or Ippudo pork bone broth and you'll get the picture!
The pork bone broth was slightly thicker than Daruma but not as strong as ButaO. It's probably a bit similar to Ippudo. It gets progressively stronger and stronger if you don't eat it quickly once your taste buds fully registered the garlic essence in the broth. So focus on eating it and not taking photos like me. It will taste a lot better!
All in all, I agree with other food reviewers that the soup was good.
The noodles were quite nice. It's the thin Kyushu noodle. It gets soft pretty quickly so I suggest you eat it quickly and order the hard version. The bamboo shoots and black fungi tasted nice and mixed well with the noodle and the broth. The black fungi possibly had a bit of sesame in it. It's a lot better than those provided in ButaO.
The egg was practically completely cooked. So if you're here for the egg, you'll be disappointed.
The Char Siu, however, was just so so. It looked tender but actually wasn't as tender as you might think. Certainly the fat part was soft but the meat was quite tough. Just a bit of meat taste.
Gyoza was not good at all and was the main reason why I initially wanted to put just OK on my scale (I eventually did after thinking long and hard). It's gooey and very hard to separate the gyozas. Even the supposedly crispiest bottom part was not crispy enough. The gyoza, which appeared to have only frozen pork as the filling without chives or onions or other fillings, had absolutely no juice inside. I could not taste any pork taste. Osaka Osho is much better (whether the frozen ones you make at home or those served at food courts). Not recommended.
殘念 : 唔脆，冇肉汁及黏埋一舊。大阪王將較好．
The pork bone broth was delicious. It's thicker than Daruma but not as thick as ButaO, somewhat similar to Ippudo !?
The Aka ramen had a very strong garlic taste and appears to be spicy miso based (with some chilli oil). It's quite good if you want to focus on enjoying the pork bone broth. It will not overwhelm the pork taste.
The char siu and the egg were nothing special.
The noodle was nice. I suggest you ordering the hard version. Make sure you eat it a.s.a.p otherwise the broth will become too strong and the noodle be become soft rather quickly.
I will not recommend the gyoza.
If you like Japanese gyoza, I'll recommend "Osaka Osho" nearby at Times Square.
If you are fussy about the egg and char siu, you'll be disappointed.
If you like the noodle and pork bone broth but don't mind the egg and char siu- it's Good because of the very nice broth.
Perhaps they are getting used to the sudden increase in customers? The service was good despite that. Everyone was very friendly and had a smile on their faces. Seemed professionally trained. I'll probably return again once the quality is more stabilized. 總評:叉燒無甚特別，蛋亦不是溏心。
喜歡偏濃豚骨 (又不介意蛋質素不穩) 的朋友可以一試。可能新開業未能應付太多客人以至質素不穩．會再試．
What I'd like to share with you, and which I personally think is more important than my humble opinion about the taste of the food, is this:
Two girls who sat in front of me after the previous customers had left, ordered a "White" and a "Red" ramen. When the ramen arrived, they took a few photos which was seemed to be very professional cameras (I did not look at them as I was focusing on the ramen and I think it's quite rude to interrupting them by staring). They started eating the ramen and were commenting positively on the ramens they were having.
At the same time, at the other end of the table, I was finding it quite hard to finish the last two pieces of gyoza. I was wondering whether I should just leave it where it was (partly to show my dissatisfaction and partly since it was not easy to finish it...)
...they then commented that they were really really happy, and I believe they really meant it wholeheartedly, that they found another ramen restaurant which they could enjoy - such positive gratefulness.
After listening to that,
I instinctively took some more chilli sauce,
dunked the gyozas in it,
and finished it before leaving David.
I overheard a few persons saying that it's very spicy. [My tolerance to spiciness: I like Korean cuisines and SiChuan Hotpot, which I find quite spicy. I can't really handle Vindaloo curry. "Fukuoka Noodle" is the spiciest ramen I've had so far. ]
I remembered reading an article somewhere about a group of Indian students who got an award for explaining the human's reaction to chilli. Most importantly for our purposes, they revealed the secret of reducing the spicy sensation if it's too much - sweetness. Apparently, adding a spoonful of sugar or having something sweet will help much more than drinking 10 glasses of water (even that won't generally help much anyway). So try it at your own risk.
(2) I've double checked the website of "David Ramen". It was opened since 2000.
I'll noticed that they did have pork bone broth but not the "Black" and the "Red" in the Japanese menu. The red, black and white division was also missing. Shoyu and Miso ramen, which are actually the most traditional and popular styles, are only available in Japan and not in Hong Kong. Perhaps that's why the restaurant didn't have a specific name for the 3 coloured divisions?
If you think about it, when a new ramen shop didn't have the "White X", "Black X" and "Red X", would you be as interested in it ? This must have evolved into quite a distinct Hong Kong phenomenon since Buta O.
Table Wait Time: 0 minute(s)
Date of Visit: Apr 14, 2012
Spending per head: Approximately HKD130(Dinner)Other Ratings:
Value for Money 3