Wednesday, November 2, 2011

When slurping noodles, please ensure that you do not disturb the people in your surrounding area - Hakata Ramen

 Why, you may ask, is my title picture that of fried chicken slices if I'm reviewing a ramen restaurant? It is elementary, my dear Watson; I fail at taking pictures of ramen. And since the crispy chicken dish is one of the mainly featured ramen dishes at Hakata Ramen... Why not?

So picture this: it's a dreary October day, it's freezing outside, you're downtown and you have no idea what to eat because you're with the world's most indecisive people. Where do you go? What do you turn to? Pho! ... is what I'd like to say, but there aren't that many good pho places downtown. So what's the next best thing? Ramen!

Hakata Ramen is a small restaurant located in downtown Montreal, at the far end of Stanley street. I was a bit wary of trying out another ramen place in Montreal, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. It's no Kazu, but it's still one of the better ramen places I've tried here.

Accessibility - Grade: A
It's on Stanley street, about a five minute walk from Peel metro.

Service - Grade: B+
The service was pretty good. Our waiter was very courteous and polite, and he took time to explain the menu to us when we asked. The food also came at a good pace. The waiters did seem a bit rushed, though, even though the restaurant wasn't that busy.

Food - Grade: B-
I know I said Hakata Ramen is one of the better ramen places in Montreal, but if you consider the competition, it really isn't saying much. While, true, you won't get mind-blowingly awesome ramen from Hakata ramen, you will still get a good, solid-quality bowl of savory noodles.

Mango bubble tea 

Lychee bubble tea

First, I want to start off by saying that this is the weirdest bubble tea I've ever had. It's not that it's bad, per se, just... different. The slush part of the bubble tea was very good. I've never had lychee bubble tea with a milk base before, but this particular mix was smooth and creamy, with a nice, fruity aftertaste. Now, the weird part was the bubbles. They... popped. Like bubbles. I'm used to having the traditional chewy tapioca bubbles, so when the first bubble popped in my mouth, I wasn't quite sure what was going on.

The bubbles are these white, opaque, juice-filled bulbs, with a consistency not unlike caviar. You know those giant salmon roes? They're kinda like that, only fruity instead of fishy. I'm not a huge fan of caviar, and I like the chewy bubbles, so I wasn't terribly fond of these new bubbles. But my friend, who likes caviar and hates the traditional bubbles, loved them. Go figure.

Steamed egg
My friend ordered the steamed egg as an appetizer. I had a small taste, and it was pretty good. The egg was tender and smooth, and just lightly salted, with a custard-like texture.

Crispy Chicken

Crispy chicken ramen
My friend ordered the crispy chicken ramen. I honestly thought that the crispy chicken was going to be a thin piece of chicken cutlet, but they actually give you a generous portion of fried chicken pieces. I only tried a small piece of the chicken, but from what I tasted, it was pretty good. The surface of the chicken was nice and crispy while the meat was still surprisingly juicy. I personally found the meat a bit bland in terms of flavour, but that might have been because I tried an edge piece, and didn't get much of the sauce on it. As for the ramen, the broth base is the same as for the other ramen, which I will cover later.

Tenderous rib(?) ramen
 My friend ordered the tenderous rib ramen... at least, that's what I think it was called. It was number 2 on the menu. I tried a piece of the tenderous rib, and it was quite good too. The meat was braised so that it was tender and fell apart easily, and it had lots of soft tendon to chew on.

Seafood ramen

I ordered the seafood ramen. It was quite standard, with two pieces of shrimp and two pieces of scallops, as well as a stick of imitation crab. I was rather impressed with the freshness of the ingredients, crab stick not withstanding. The scallop was big and juicy, and was lightly seared before being put in the soup. The shrimp was equally fresh and crunchy.

In terms of the noodles, I thought they were cooked well. They didn't have the stiffness characteristic of undercooked ramen, but still had enough elasticity not to turn into a big puddle of clumpy mush, which is unfortunately very common in the ramen scene. The miso-based broth was fragrant and savory without being too salty, which is also unfortunately common when it comes to ramen. Along with the seaweed, baked sesame and sliced green onions, it created a nice balanced blend of flavours. 

Price - $-$$
A bowl of ramen is around $10 before tax, and it's definitely enough to fill you up. If you order drinks and appetizers, it might come up to around $20-$25. I ordered the seafood ramen and the bubbletea, and it came up to $21, tax and tip included.

Final Grade: B-
There isn't much else to say. As with many restaurants, it isn't outstanding, but it's solid. If you're downtown, freezing and want a bowl of something hot and soupy, then yeah, I'd say Hakata Ramen is worth checking out.

Hakata Ramen
1216 Stanley, #200
(514) 759-6688
Hakata Ramen on Urbanspoon


  1. I'm not really impressed with any ramen I've had in Montreal so far but then again ramen isn't my favoured type of noodle in general. But it makes for a serviceable meal. I have had better noodles in soup bowls at Bei Fang Ren Jia or the mini yakisoba soup at Furusato (pricey but tasty).

  2. @filmbeats

    I agree. The ramen scene in Montreal is sadly lacking. While I agree that Bei Fang Ren Jia serves some pretty decent noodles, it still doesn't quite cut it if you're craving Japanese ramen. Kazu's is still the best I've had here so far.

    I haven't tried the yakisoba at Furusato yet. Guess that's going on my list. :)