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Ebimaru Ramen

Posted in Japan, and Tokyo

Ebimaru Ramen was a standout find on our recent trip to Japan. We had a few ramens over our time in Japan, of course (made it to the Tokyo Ramen Festival before they were packing down this time!), but this was quite a different experience.

Ebimaru Ramen is a little way out of the main central city area (though really, Tokyo is a giant sprawling city made of lots of smaller cities, and there isn’t truly one centre), but easy enough to get to on the train. Get off at Jimbocho station, and it’s an easy walk away. We made the trip there because in a world of tonkotsu and chicken ramens, lobster ramen is something you don’t see much.

We were first there at a midweek dinnertime. The eatery name was in minimalist lettering, backlit against concrete, and easy to read. Even more obvious though, was the line out front.

ebimaru ramen outside
The exterior of Ebimaru Ramen. Queue on the left, out of the frame (but there).

Unlike other ramen restaurants, there was no ticket machine. Instead, staff gave us copies of the menu to read through while we waited in line, and then returned to take our orders as we approached the front of the queue. It was quite an efficient way to do things, so people weren’t holding up the line as they tried to make decisions at the very last stage.

ebimaru ramen front
A glimpse of the interior of the store, while you’re waiting your turn..

You could have a basic lobster broth ramen, the basic lobster broth ramen with cream, a lobster broth ramen with sesame and chilli, or a whole lobster ramen. You could also have additional toppings on your order, including a deluxe option that got you pork, chicken, ravioli, and a boiled egg.

ebimaru ramen menu
The ramen options at Ebimaru Ramen.

The menu had a section of appetisers, many of which were quite Western, for instance the Caesar salad and Beef cooked in red wine, but also others that seemed more fusion, for instance Peperoncino bamboo shoots or Boiled egg with Aonori bacon sauce.

ebimaru ramen menu
And other non-ramen options.

More interesting, and marked as “Must have”, was the risotto option. It came with instructions to save some of the ramen broth for it, so was evidently meant to have as an accompaniment rather than a separate dish by itself.

When it came to our turn, we ordered two serves of the Basic lobster broth ramen, adding Deluxe toppings to one, and Risotto to both.

The table settings laid out in front of you quickly impressed upon you that this was not your typical rushed salaryman ramen eatery. There was a container of iced water at each seating space. A textured stoneware dish and a wooden spoon with a flat profile sat at each table space. Even the chopsticks were not the usual disposable bamboo chopsticks, but made of a more refined wood.  There were baskets under the chairs to place your bags so that they didn’t have to sit on the floor. Lively instrumental jazz played in the background.

ebimaru ramen table setting
The table setting, awaiting diners.

Reminiscent of a fine dining restaurant, hand towels were brought to us once we were seated and settled in.

ebimaru ramen hand towel
And the rolled hand towel.

A small cup was placed on the circular stoneware plate in front of each of us. It was explained that this was a complimentary starter of a potato mousse. It was very smooth, and beautifully melded salty, sweet, and cheesy flavours.

ebimaru ramen starter
The surprise starter.
ebimaru ramen starter
The very smooth potato mousse.

After we had finished our starters, the ramen was brought out. They were served in funnel-shaped bowls, with the noodles and toppings laid out across the surface of the broth.

ebimaru ramen bowl
A look at the very conical bowls.

You could easily see the difference between the basic ramen toppings and the deluxe toppings. With the basic ramen, you got a folded slice of pork, a blistered tomato, diced onion, and a slice of bread with a dollop of sour cream on top.

ebimaru ramen ramen
The Basic lobster broth ramen, with standard toppings (and very neatly curled noodles).

The ramen with deluxe toppings had a much more crowded surface. As promised, there were more pork slices, pieces of chicken meat, a whole egg, and two dumpling-looking ravioli (as well as the other things on the basic ramen).

ebimaru ramen deluxe
The Basic lobster broth ramen, but with Deluxe toppings.

The chef told us that we could change the flavour of the broth as we ate by mixing the sour cream in, and also by adding in their special shrimp chilli – this was in a jar amidst the condiments on the table.

The broth was satisfyingly rich. It was definitely seafoody, like a bisque, but delivered its flavour without being too salty. The noodles were thick and springy, and held on to the sauce well. The sour cream, when mixed in, actually added a bit of sweetness. The shrimp chilli was rich and peppery, rather than having fiery heat, and elevated the broth without overpowering the seafood flavour. The slice of bread did the jobs of both separating the sour cream from the broth until you were ready to mix it in, and giving the dish extra texture from its crunchy crust when you dipped it in the broth to eat.

ebimaru ramen basic
The Basic ramen again, with pork, sour cream on bread, tomato, and greens (a bit hidden).
ebimaru ramen basic
Another angle on the ramen.

The pork slices were smoky and sweet. The chicken pieces were tender. The ravioli, as mentioned, were like wonton dumplings in form (though aren’t ravioli really dumplings anyway?). They were filled with tender meat, which had truffle flavour, and each also had a little prawn in it.

ebimaru ramen deluxe
The ramen with Deluxe toppings, ravioli on the left with a little peek at the inside.
ebimaru ramen deluxe
And from another angle.
ebiumaru ramen mixed
The ramen all mixed up, with a blob of the shrimp chilli.

And, just when we thought we were full and done with our dishes, they brought out our risottos. Sizzling hot cast iron pans held the rice, pieces of prawn, egg, and finely cut chives. We spooned remaining broth from our ramen into the dish, and staff shaved a little mountain of cheese over the lot. We were then instructed to mix it all together.

ebimaru ramen risotto
The bowl of components as placed on the table.
ebimaru ramen risotto
The adding of the broth..
ebimaru ramen risotto
And then the cheese shaved on.

With the heat from the pans, it all melded into a gooey, cheesy mix. It had the seafood flavour from the lobster broth, but with the cheese and the chives, tasted like a different enough dish that it didn’t seem like just more of the same, with a different carbohydrate base. Despite the fact that we were already rather full from the ramen, this was still a moreish dish, and it had a better texture than many other risotto dishes we had had from Italian places.

ebimaru ramen risotto
It was a very good combination.

All in all, we found Ebimaru Ramen to be a great dining experience. It felt special, without being uptight and stuffily formal. It was so good that we made the trip to dine there again during our limited time in Tokyo. If you know the experience of FOMO, given the vast number of other eateries on a very long Tokyo dining wish list and limited meal slots, you will understand the magnitude of that decision. It was worth it – the return visit was just as good. You should add it to your list too.

ebimaru ramen starter
The starter on our return visit. Light plates for the daytime?
ebimaru ramen deluxe
The ramen, consistently plated and delicious.
ebimaru ramen risotto
And more risotto, and more cheese.

Food: 4/4
Setting: 2/2
Service: 2/2
Total: 8/8

Price point: Basic lobster broth ramen ¥1180. Deluxe toppings ¥700. Risotto ¥500. When we visited, $1 AUD was about ¥96.

Value: Amazing, compared to what you get in Australia.

Address: 〒101-0065 Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Nishikanda, 2 Chome−1−13 1F
Phone: +81 3-6272-6416
Website: Ebimaru Ramen

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