Ramen Dayo, I think it’s fair to say, is a fairly unassuming restaurant situated near the Argyle Street end of Queen Street in the city centre. The menu is pretty unassuming too – six ramen options plus a couple of sides complete the offering. You’d think, then, that it would be an easy choice, however Rosie and I still took our time deciding what to order when we visited last week.
Rosie decided on Ramen Dayo’s standard offering of Tonkotsu Ramen – pork broth with ramen noodles, pork belly, kikurage mushrooms, nori and spring onions, adding crispy fried garlic for an extra 50p. My choice was the Tonkotsu Miso Black Ramen – the same as the basic Tonkotsu but with a miso base and the addition of burnt garlic oil and crispy fried garlic.
Both Rosie and I were very happy with the portion of fried garlic which topped our bowls – the fragrant, crunchy slices were in plentiful supply. As for the ramen itself, I have to say I think it was the best I’ve ever had! Too often, ramen can be watery and bland, but this was creamy and packed full of flavour. The combination of crispy garlic, toothsome noodles and melt-in-the-mouth pork was lovely (if a little difficult to eat with just a spoon and chopsticks!). To be honest, my only complaint would be that I would have liked more pork for my money – the standard portion is two very thin slices of succulent meat, although you can add more at an additional cost.
On the side, we shared a portion of Bulgogi Beef Gyoza Dumplings. This was a nice twist on the standard gyoza filling, with slightly sweet and smoky beef packed into the light dumplings. Fried until crispy on the bottom, these were also up there with some of the better gyoza’s I’ve had.
Ramen Dayo don’t specialise in dessert, though they do offer up some unusual ice cream flavours (think Avocado & Peanut Butter and Ube & Queso). Rosie and I both opted for the Dark Chocolate and Mango flavour, but it was a little disappointing after an otherwise very good meal. Though the colour of the ice cream suggested that both flavours would be present, the dark chocolate completely overwhelmed and left us with no discernible mango flavour. I also felt let down by the texture of the ice cream – it just didn’t have the same creamy luxuriousness that I was hoping for. This was a pity, and it would likely stop me from ordering dessert in Ramen Dayo again.
However, while I would advise dessert fanatics to head somewhere else, I’d happily recommend Ramen Dayo for, well, their ramen! This is a restaurant doing one thing and doing it well – so go for the ramen, stay for the ramen!