Bankara Ramen (Sukhumvit Soi 39)
A cholesterol attack, yes, but definitely a great restaurant for the tasty Japanese noodles.
The popularity of Japanese ramen chain Bankara knows no respite. There is a branch at Siam Paragon but the original spot remains on Sukhumvit Soi 39. From the dramatic kanji sign to the dark wooden windows, there’s no doubting the restaurant’s Japanese pedigree even from the outside. The interior is surprisingly roomy for a ramen-only establishment, and has a casual, communal ambience with large tables as well as plenty of private nooks screened by dark wooden dividers.
Though the menu focuses on ramen (it takes four pages before you get to anything else), there is a lot to be said for their other dishes. The tori karaage (fried chicken, B100) is crunchy on the outside, moist in the middle, and we love the dipping salt and lime to cut the fat. The ebi age harukami (shrimp spring rolls, B100) sounds commonplace, but the accompanying mayonnaise-based sauce really stands out.
Though the pork in the buta kakuni don (braised pork belly with rice, B155) does not melt in the mouth quite like at Kio (sorry), it’s still delicious, helped by a dense and sweet sauce. But it’s the ramen that really steals the show, thanks to perfectly al dente noodles and a signature deeply-flavored broth which gives the Bankara ramen (served with chashu, B180) a well-rounded taste that is not overly salty.
The oil which floats on the tsukemen’s (B210) surface might put off health-conscious diners, but for the rest of us, bathing the springy, well-chilled noodles into a warm and fatty dipping soup with distinct sweet notes is deeply satisfying. After all that oily ramen, the aromatic, cherry-flavored annin tofu soy bean pudding, B55) really helps to cleanse the palate.
Attentive service, delicious food, nice atmosphere—Bankara consistently lives up to its reputation.