We like ramen. We also like cake. It should be surprising therefore, that it took us this long to visit Beppin Ramen and Cake. Located on Charlotte Street in the city, it has gained a name as one of the better ramen places in Brisbane. When we turned up on a Sunday evening, a line formed before our eyes as it came into standard dinnertime.
In keeping with what ramen joints are like in Japan, it wasn’t a very big restaurant space, so the line snaked onto the street outside. It was quite a well-coordinated system. You place your order at the counter right at the entrance, then you are shown to seats inside. If it is too full inside, you wait until there is space. That likely also lets the kitchen keep pace. It is helpful that the staff coordinate seating, because it keeps the flow orderly.
As mentioned, the interior is compact, with tables and chairs in the central area, and counter seats along the walls to maximise use of the available space. Japanese ballads played in the background, to add to the mood.
We love a good tonkotsu ramen, and easily picked the tonkotsu over their chicken ramen options. We ordered the Black garlic tonkotsu ramen, described in the menu as coming with 2 pieces of pork belly, shallots, mushroom, black fungus, egg, bokchoy, and black garlic puree. We also couldn’t help ourselves and upsized for $1.
Staff brought cutlery, water, cups, and dishes of takana to the table, and the food followed not long after.
The ramen was served in conical bowls, with all the components laid over or peeking through the surface of the broth. The black garlic oil provided a stark colour contrast to the other lighter components, almost like a yin yang symbol.
Their ramen comes with thin noodles. These held the broth well, and were firm, with good chewiness.
The chashu pork slices were thinly shaved, and just torched at the edges for a little smokiness and crispiness.
The tonkotsu broth was creamy and smooth. It had porky richness, without being gamey. It was certainly one of the richer broths we have had in Brisbane. The black garlic oil added some depth and sweetness.
The eggs were nicely cooked, with still soft yolks. The bamboo shoots and black fungus strips added a bit of crunchy texture. Bokchoy is not a typical component in ramen, but Beppin Ramen and Cake do pitch themselves as Freestyle ramen. To be honest, we wouldn’t have missed it if it wasn’t in the dish..
One of the others in our group had the Wagyu ramen, which is their signature ramen. It has premium beef stock, slices of MS 8-9 wagyu beef, thick whole grain ramen noodles, beetroot chips, garlic chips, fresh horse radish, and black pepper. The report on it was that it was certainly rich with beefy flavour, with silky texture from the wagyu beef fat. It was more than just a beef broth, and had a distilled meaty goodness.
We didn’t get to the dessert part of Beppin Ramen and Cake’s offerings, as they only had filled choux and Basque cheesecakes available that day, and we didn’t feel like either of those options. It appears that they have options like parfaits at other times though.
Overall, Beppin Ramen and Cake did live up to its reputation for delivering a pretty solid tonkotsu ramen. The $1 to upsize got us extra noodles and possibly broth, but the distribution of other ingredients seemed pretty similar. It was certainly a filling serving though. It’s a good option if you’re near the city and have a craving for ramen. Our local (sort of) top of the table choices remain Muso and Genkotsu though.
Price point: Black garlic tonkotsu ramen $15, upsize for $1. Wagyu ramen $28.
Value: Pretty good.
Address: 62 Charlotte St, Brisbane City
Website: Beppin Ramen and Cake