Although the idea of home-delivered ramen gives us palpitations, we steel ourselves and order from Omakase Kitchen, less than a day old and offering Japanese and Korean fare that would have been impossible to find in Mumbai just two years ago.
The whole experience is a lot less messy than we'd imagined, with broths arriving neatly packaged and labelled. So far, so good.
Slave To Yuzu
Omakase, which means ‘entrusting the chef with whatever he serves’, is run by Chef Ronak Nanda and Chef Jahan Bloch, who have frequently held pop ups in the city. The website, 425 Omakase, isn't updated with details on how to order, and the phone number listed isn't answering calls, so we do what every self-respecting hungry diner would do — we Whatsapp-message the number listed on Zomato and receive prompt responses with opening night recommendations. Our order arrives an hour and a half later, but not without profuse regrets from the team — they are battling a deluge of orders, and please accept our apologies with a complementary box of mochi?
A pile of empty takeout boxes later we have our verdict – Omakase edition of the Korean Army Stew, inspired by the scrounging 50’s when food had to be smuggled from US army bases during the war, is generous and plentiful. Little Piggy broth poured into a neatly colour co-ordinated bowl of noodle, carrots, scallions, corn and fish cakes delivers on the big flavours of in-house spam and beautiful baked beans. Dig a little deeper and the pungent tang of kimchi comes through, hijacking the dish entirely. This one checks all the boxes for rainy nights when kimchi cravings come calling.
Omakase, which means ‘entrusting the chef with whatever he serves’, is run by Chef Ronak Nanda and Chef Jahan Bloch, who have frequently held pop ups in the city.
Tori Paitan Ramen uses pale, rich chicken broth in the tonkotsu style. Served with house-made ramen noodles, minced chicken, menma or fermented bamboo shoot, corn, shaved scallions, sticks of carrots and topped with a sous vide egg, the bowl has all the elements of good ramen; what it lacks in depth, it makes up for in comfort. That characteristic bite of a good ramen noodle is absent here, and instead, the noodles are soft and pudgy.
Death By Dumpling
Real disappointment however, comes in the form of mandu, or Korean dumplings, stuffed with mushrooms and kimchi. Under salted and in a rubbery casing, these make us wish we hadn’t omakase-d the chef so much.
In comparison to the bowls that come before, Tonkatsu Ramen can seem tame. The creamy broth, loaded with 12-hour sous-vide pork belly, corn, scallion, carrots and menma with sous-vide egg, scores on texture and meatiness, but carries no trace of that deep signature umami a bowl of ramen promises.
Dessert is Japanese cheesecake and a box of mini matcha mochi. Not a girl that travels well, the light cheesecake is subtle but soggy for wear. The real winner is mini mochi, whose glutinous rice dough exterior yields to a delicious, cold white chocolate ball within. The matcha remains a mystery, but otherwise, we vote mochi all the way.
Wake up to daily updates on what to eat/shop/do in your city