Fukuoka's famous ramen chain goes for big, bold flavors.
After growing to 40 branches around the world, Fukuoka’s famous ramen chain opened here on the sly in late 2016, right near the original Thonglor branch of After You. The arrival didn’t escape the attention of ramen aficionados drawn to Ikkousha’s highly-praised bowls back in Japan. This legacy definitely lives on here in their chashu (roasted pork) and signature tonkotsu (pork bone) broth, but we have our doubts about parts of the menu.
You can’t miss the place’s bright red façade. Inside the tables are often claimed by Japanese salarymen who descend on the place at all hours (it’s open till 2am). The ramen menu mostly plays it straight, with just four varieties: the signature Ikkousha Ramen, Red Tonkotsu Ramen, Black Tonkotsu Ramen and God Fire Ramen.
The Tokusei ramen (B270) comes with the wow-worthy presentation of four huge slices of chashu covering the bowl. We love how the thin noodles absorb the super-intense salty flavors of the broth. However, the Black Chashu Ramen (B290) is another level of thickness altogether. This fatty soup gets its pungency from mayu sauce (black garlic oil derived from grilled garlic) and ground black sesame, and is rewarding if a bit heavy.
Sadly, the God Fire Ramen (B220), which is served at the maximum four levels of spiciness, does not live up to these lofty standards, tasting of nothing but oily soup. Even the yolky eggs were overcooked on our last visit. A similar flavor problem can be found in the oni yakko (tofu with chili oil and crispy garlic, B80), which is super-tender, but that oily chili sauce just brings the whole dish down.
Thankfully, other side dishes are better, like the pungent tako wasabi (raw squid with wasabi and sesame oil, B80) or gyoza (B80 for five pieces and B150 for 10 pieces), which are addictively tasty. It’s a shame these come in very small portions.
Ikkousha Ramen is totally worth a visit for its creamy tonkotsu broth, but steer clear of the supposedly spicier dishes. Corkage charge B300 (all alcohol)
This review took place in May 2017 and is based on a visit to the restaurant without the restaurant's knowledge. For more on BK's review policy, click here.