It’s been hot on the lips of local foodies so this past weekend we simply couldn’t resist trying out Downtown Ramen, the coolest new entry to Cape Town’s culinary scene.
Located above its popular sister restaurant Lefty’s, this new noodle bar has punters queueing up to get through its doors. Fortunately, food service is speedy and tables turn over at a fast pace so you won’t wait for long. The restaurant is a small, cosy space with six or so long wooden tables with benches, and walls are plastered with crazy colourful Japanese posters. An intense aroma wafts from the open kitchen and you feel like you’ve been transported into a far-off eastern land.
Choosing your dish is no hard task; the concise menu consists of two ramen noodle dishes – pork or vegetarian with tofu – and a selection of steamed buns (Bao) with a choice of different fillings ranging from pork belly with a citrus pickle, soy-and-beer-braised short rib, and a vegetarian option. The shoyu ramen dish comes in a huge black bowl with noodles, juicy pork, sprouts and sesame seeds swimming in a steamy, flavoursome broth. Add chilli and a boiled egg to bring the flavours together. Another must try is the soy-and-beer-braised short rib bao – the tender, rich meat is encased in a chewy steamed bun and makes for the perfect starter.
And the drinks?
Short and sweet, there are two choices of red and white wine, beer (including Japanese imported Sapporo beer), traditional sake and soft drinks.
The prices are incredibly reasonable and the portions generous. Expect to pay R75 for noodle dishes and R35 for baos. As for the drinks, wine goes for R90 a bottle and beers between R20 and R32 a pop.
Need to know
Downtown Ramen doesn’t take bookings – arrive early or be ready to wait your turn. Either way, it’s totally worth it.
Pop in and try it for yourself at 103, Harrington Street, Cape Town.
First Published on elle.co.za.