Tong Guo made sushi (opening seven Kintaro Sushi outlets in Adelaide). He made bubble tea (with Hitea and Mi Yoghurt). He made a fondue (Chao Chow) and he made a Japanese barbecue (Kyoku Yakiniku). Now the serial restaurateur is adding ramen to the menu with his latest concept: Minimono.
The space opened on Rundle Street at the former Sushi King site in mid-September, with a design from Guo’s regular collaborator, Faculty Design, in close collaboration with graphic designers and brand specialists Studio OK. -OK and Peculiar Familia.
The name Minimono is a manufactured word that reflects the spatial concept: clean, modern minimalism. A tiled bar is flanked by five stools, and there are a handful of tables against the walls. A noodle-like lighting fixture hangs from the ceiling above a series of light illustrations on the wall – various depictions of bowls of ramen. It’s a simple space, drawing your full attention to the main event: stacked bowls of steaming ramen.
The large bowls of bigger flavors are the creations of Executive Chef Benjamin Liew, who oversees the menu while working as a sous chef at Madame Hanoi. It’s a change from the Vietnamese-French fusion he cooks at the Sky City restaurant (he also spent 12 years cooking in the United States and made a stint at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore as a pastry chef). But his experience lies in Japanese cuisine, he says. Large format.
“Since I was 19, I’ve been learning in Japanese restaurants,” Liew says. “I was teppanyaki chef, sushi chef… it’s my food.
Liew’s menu includes a classic tonkotsu – a 12-hour pork broth with chashu pork, menma (fermented bamboo shoots), and ajitsuke tamago (a marinated candied egg) – and soft tantanmen ramen (similar to dan dan noodles) with minced pork, bamboo and bok choy, as well as non-traditional variations such as a truffle ramen packed with umami with chicken broth (Liew: “I had a truffle ramen in Melbourne and loved it but think I do it better “) and a lobster ramen made with lobster head broth and served with a lobster tail. When Large format tours, Liew uses lobster from Queensland waters and says he will use shellfish from South Australia when our lobster season begins.
The chef, who owned the vegan restaurant V-Vego on Gawler Place, also serves vegetarian ramen made with kombu broth and served with plump cubes of fried tofu and a mix of oysters, royal oysters and shiitake mushrooms. as well as raw enoki for crunch. He is currently experimenting with noodles without eggs so that he can come up with a vegan version.
Beyond the ramen, there are three Japanese curries – chicken katsu, pork katsu and a “cheeseburger curry” with a Wagyu patty and melted cheese – and a tight selection of sides including gyoza, chicken karaage and this tofu. crispy fried.
“We cook our noodles, we cook our soup… I would say 90% of the things we cook here,” says Liew. “Our soup takes 12 hours, our curry sauce takes eight hours… it takes a lot of effort. That’s why the menu is small. We just want to focus on two things: the ramen and the curry.
“In the future I want to do more things – like the chicken wing gyoza, so you take the bone out and fill the wing … but I don’t want to overdo it and the quality drops.”
He’s also testing squid ink noodles and plans to introduce monthly ramen specialties, including one with oyster-anchovy broth, topped with giant Pacific oyster tempura. He can also tap into his experience as a pastry chef and add yuzu cheesecake to the menu. There is no alcohol license, so the drink list is limited to non-alcoholic drinks, including Japanese brands Ramune and Calpis, and cold and hot tea.
182 Rundle Street, Adelaide
Sun to Thu 11:30 am-8:30pm
Fri and Sat 11:30 am – 9:30 pm