As the name of this restaurant suggests, ramen noodles are its big speciality — although there are also other flagship dishes to look out for — especially the gyosas and the fried chicken noodles. When we ate there at the beginning of August we could have had ramen noodles on their excellent €10.95 menú del día.
But ramen noodles, which come in a big bowl of hot stock with meat, fish or shellfish and vegetables, are for cold winter days and we decided to wait until the weather cooled down before trying them.
It was cold enough when we returned on a recent Saturday and we shared a chicken ramen as a starter, giving us the option of sharing another kind ramen (there are half a dozen to choose from) or going on to other dishes.
The ramen noodles are as thin as Italian spaghettini but with a different texture and there were lots of them plus nice pieces of chicken, vegetables, sweetcorn and half of a hard-boiled egg.
Everything came in a big ceramic bowl with a wooden ladle and the best way to eat this dish when sharing is to lift up some of the noodles with the ladle and then use chopstick or a fork.
You can also fish out the noodles direct from the bowl with chopsticks or fork or transfer noodles and stock into your own little bowl. The stock is extremely tasty. It’s a fun way of eating, but sharing one big bowl of ramen was enough for us. A second one would have been a bit boring.
The restaurant was full except for the small area with high tables and chairs and just about everyone was having ramen noodles. But they had ordered one portion per person instead of sharing.
There were several tables with couples, each one with a big bowl of ramen. The two girls at the table next to ours were barely able to finish half of their individual portions. Ramen is a dish for splitting. Don’t even consider having one on your own.
These noodles are so popular in Japan that there are ramen bars that serve nothing but variations on the same theme. They are a favourite takeaway dish for Japanese office workers who eat at their desks.
The Michael Douglas film Black Rain was partly shot in Tokyo and in one of the police room scenes a Japanese detective is eating ramen noodles and loudly slurping them, as they do in Japan and China. No one at Ajisen-es Ramen was slurping.
Portions here are even more generous than in other Japanese-Chinese restaurants and you should make a point of sharing all dishes, otherwise you’ll order too much.
Everything I’ve eaten at this restaurant has been very good, portions are generous and prices are most reasonable, so it is great value for money. The staff are extremely nice and efficient, and some of them speak good Spanish — which doesn’t always happen at Palma’s Japanese-Chinese restaurants. The fried noodles are in the best Japanese style — which means well studded with meat and veggies, nicely lubricated and highly flavourful. The chicken noodles I had on my first visit were rated a 10 and the ternera noodles were a good 9.5. The ramen noodles are also for sharing and the gyozas are among the best I’ve ever had.
Restaurante Ajisen-es Ramen, Carrer Bartomeu Pou 6, Palma. Tel:871-732796. Opened everyday for lunch and dinner. They serve a €10.95 menú del día from Monday to Friday.
· Pork gyozas, 4.20 euros
· Ternera noodles, 6.80 euros
· Ramen noodles, 9.80 euros
· 3 cañas, 7.50 euros
Total cost with VAT: 28.30 euros.