Quick Review: Ichiran Hiroshima branch, Japan
I’d eaten at Ichiran before in Tokyo on a previous trip and it was frankly the most fantastic ramen that I’d ever tasted in my life, so I was keen to try the Hiroshima branch of Ichiran on my last night in the city.
Thankfully there was a Hondori branch really close to my hotel and I opted to eat there on a crisp Monday evening.
There was a long queue winding up the stairs to the restaurant on a higher level and we waited patiently as I eavesdropped against my will on a Cantonese speaking family nearby. People really do speak loudly when in foreign lands and I was privy to drama with a very weepy little girl who didn’t want any noodles. The family should have done what I always do in life: ignore the problem until it goes away; it worked a treat against all the responsibilities I have in life and hasn’t affected my mental wellbeing at all.
What is Ichiran’s unique selling point? It’s the perfect restaurant to cater to loners!
Can’t stand human interaction but want to eat a hearty bowl of noodles?
It’ll be possible to never interact with a human in Ichiran. Firstly because you will use the machine in the front of the store to order your food items via collected tickets and secondly your seat will be indicated by a large map flashing lights to indicate free tables. Note that when times are busy a staff member might come out to get orders in advance. Just remember to stare straight at the ground and mumble awkwardly and you will be safe.
The fun isn’t stopping there! Once inside not only will your one metre length of table be blocked from pesky people on either side via a wooden partition, you can’t even see the staff member collecting your tickets with the blinds in front of you! At most you will be exposed to a human hand, but that can be easily rectified by wearing gloves or my personal preference: a wooden stick with a mannequin hand skewered on the end of it!
All jokes aside Ichiran has a fantastic reputation for offering customization tonkotsu ramen where you can choose your noodle texture, broth richness and the amount of sauce and garlic. I chose the standard set with hard noodles, a soft boiled egg, more seaweed and a green tea dessert. The total came to 1,530.00 JPY / 9.73 GBP which was mid-range to pricey for Japanese ramen. There were also free water refills from a tap on your table.
My noodles looked delicious after adding all the additional garnishing:
The noodles had the perfect amount of firmness and the broth was just as rich, with a hint of spiciness, as I remembered. The additional seaweed added a great crunch and the meat was soft. I really enjoyed the first 10 minutes of this meal. Unfortunately I had been a bit too adventurous that day with food and the richness of the broth was a bit too much for me and I ended up skipping on most of the green tea dessert which I found kind of unmemorable. To be fair I was feeling a bit squeamish and didn’t give it a good go. It certainly was pretty though and appealed to my shallow sensitivities.
Ichiran produces amazing ramen, unfortunately it just happened to defeat me that day. I’m definitely not put off going again as this was the first time it had happened. Have you tried Ichiran before and have you had better?
Address: Japan, 〒730-0031 Hiroshima, Naka Ward, Kamiyacho, 2 Chome−3−22 アークビルディングM2F/2F/〒730-0031 広島県広島市中区紙屋町２丁目３−22 アークビルディングM2F/2F
Opening hours: 24 hours