Shop Ramen first made an appearance on Smith Street as a 10 day pop-up ramen store in Storm in a Teacup back in February, but now has a more permanent home near the corner of Johnston Street. I have walked past many a time and it is always extremely busy, but one Friday night B and I decided it was time for us to check it out for ourselves.
We arrived a bit after 8pm but there was a bit of a queue ahead of us, so we popped our names on the list and ducked into the refurbished Birmingham Hotel for a beer. About half an hour later we returned, and soon after that were able to take our seats on the main communal table. We were lucky we got seated when we did, as it turned out they were almost out of vegetarian broth so we ordered straight away to make sure we hadn’t waited all that time for nothing!
The liquor licence is yet to come through, so B ordered their milkshake instead which is Salted Caramel and Coconut flavoured ($8). It was really tasty with a good amount of salted caramel sauce, and we happily shared that while we waited for our food to arrive.
While there is a kitchen out the back where most of the food it prepared, the ramen itself is made in the main room, so you can watch it being prepared while waiting to eat it which was a bit of fun.
We started off by sharing a Smoked Tofu Bun ($4) which came with pickled carrot, coriander, nuts and seeds. This was really tasty – nice and smoky without being overwhelming, with a delicious sauce and nice crunchy nuts (sorry about the photo quality, it was rather dark!).
Then came our ramen – we both went with the Cashew Veg Ramen which came with organic tofu, asparagus, raw zucchini, shitake mushrooms, nuts and seeds, marinated egg, cashew milk vegetable soup and the noodles ($13 each). We both really liked this, the broth was full of flavour without being overpowering, and the mixture of cooked and raw vegetables was really great. B particularly liked the mushrooms which were somehow really sweet in flavour, and balanced the slightly salty other elements really well. We both happily slurped our way through this!
Overall it was worth the wait and I would definitely go back for another bowl of the ramen and lots more of the smoked tofu buns! I can see it being extra popular over summer when they have the outdoor seating in place as well as the liquor licence, so get in early or go mid-week!
Shop Ramen – 329 Smith Street Collingwood
Closed Monday & Tuesday