Picture fresh-cooked noodles, rich, savoury broth, the perfect amount of spice, and if you want, a few slices of chicken/meat and a half-cooked egg. The comfort and scrumptiousness of a piping hot ramen bowl is hard to beat when there’s an unshakeable chill in the air.
This Japanese dish (meaning pulled noodles) has skyrocketed from obscurity to ubiquity in less than a couple of decades. Overshadowing its seemingly tamer cousins udon and soba, ramen is not only an intense source of pride for Japan—which erected a museum, Shin Yokohama ramen museum, back in 1994 dedicated to its history—but it has become a serious pursuit for chefs all over the world. Foodies love it due to the umami flavour and the inclusion of a variety of toppings.
Here are the top seven slurp-worthy bowls in Mumbai to kickstart your ramen adventures.
1. The Fatty Bao
This Asian gastro-bar, with outposts in Bandra and Andheri, is popular for their hearty ramen bowls. But the absolute favourite here is the Chasu Ramen. The broth is what really makes this ramen stand out. It is made with pork bones, kombu, shiitake mushroom, garlic, soy, and bacon—and is simmered slowly for over eight hours, giving the broth an unparalleled robust flavour. The pork belly is slow-braised to a melting tender pork consistency and then sliced and seared on both sides to make it crispy. The ramen is presented in a deep ramen bowl with homemade alkaline noodles at the base. Hot broth is poured over the noodles and topped with crispy pork belly, chopped scallion, soy-marinated soft boiled egg, bean sprouts, fried garlic, toasted nori, and togarashi. Vegetarians will love the earthy and delicious Veg Via Malaysia ramen with aromatic coconut broth, kaffir lime leaves, chilli, garlic, lemongrass, galangal, and basil.
Where: Bandra West, +91/89287-46233 and Andheri +91/77380-08460
This predominately delivery-based kitchen makes the best Spicy Shoyu Ramen. The bone broth is cooked for 10 hours (vegetarians get a slow-simmered roast vegetable stock) along with Japanese soya sauce, shitake mushroom extract, ginger, garlic, kombu, scallion, and bonito flakes which lends this ramen a hint of smokiness. Choose between Belgian Pork Belly (their bestseller) and braised chicken. Vegetarians can pick from marinated grilled tofu and braised mushrooms. The bowls are stacked with noodles, nori, beansprouts, pokchoy, corn, spring onions, and a soy-cured egg. Brace yourself for a generous addition of rayu chili oil which adds quite a fiery punch. The spicy, tangy kimchi ramen is also worth your attention. The noodles and condiments are packed in reusable takeaway ramen bowls while the broth comes in an insulated pouch. All ramen bowls are served with fermented chilli sauce.
Address: Piroja Mansion, Alibhai Premji Rd, Grant Road East, Mumbai; 022/2301-2745
Those looking for delicious vegan ramen can end their search here. The ramen here is innovative as well as delicious—especially the Busan Hemp. A base of creamy cashew milk and flavourful vegetable broth becomes the playground for ragi tempura beet balls, asparagus, corn, broccoli, sweet potato, and some kimchi. The bowl is then topped with crispy kale and crunchy golden peanuts. The best part? The buckwheat soba noodles exude just the perfect texture and plumpness. The mushroom ramen is another bowl of awesomeness. It has a hearty stock with ragi tempura ball, balsamic glazed tofu, caramalised mushrooms, and nori flakes. Yummy!
Address: Drego House, Pali Naka, Dr Ambedkar Rd, Bandra West; +91/85911-38613
The newest Japanese restaurant in town has only one ramen noodle bowl on its menu, but once you experience the flavours, you’ll realise that it’s all you need. The chicken curry ramen bursts with crisp notes of toasted nori sheets, a little spiciness from the garlic sauce, spinach, bean sprouts, and katsu chicken or tofu as an option. The delectable Japanese curry base makes this ramen a salty, spicy, and savory delight. The dipping ramen noodles impart an exquisite texture and chewiness to the broth. It’s seriously good stuff.
Address: Rajabahadur Mansion, Mumbai Samachar Marg, Fort, Mumbai. Tel: +91/97699-99918
This smallish Japanese restaurant makes a mean ramen. And there’s a reason for that! Owner Nooresha Kably (who also runs Sushi Koi) studied at Yokohoma's International Ramen School and cooked the soupy, savoury dish at its affiliated ramen shop. The showstopper here is the pork ramen with a creamy, rich broth which is slow-cooked for over eight hours. The result is a broth that is both rich and familiar with complex umami notes. The vegan version of the creamy miso ramen comes topped with salty cubes of tofu, crunchy edamame, carrots, bean sprouts, and leek. There is a tantalising Japanese curry flavour too. The slithery ramen noodles are not too thick, not too thin—just the right size where the soup clings to each noodle. Izumi allows a fair amount of customisation with a ramen order form that lists protein, soup base, seasoning categories, thick or thin noodles, and toppings as boxes to tick.
Where: Road 24, Ground Floor, Sunrise, Behind Rang Mandir, Linking Road, Bandra West. Tel: +91/86574-55585
The roasted tenderloin shoyu ramen by chef Seefah Ketchaiyo at Seefah is not fancy and comes with no fancy toppings. But it’s comforting and soul-soothing all the same—that’s why you always crave it. The deep soy broth has lingering umami that stimulates your appetite. The tenderloin is roasted before being dunked in with noodles that are a textbook example of the chewy bounce that good ramen noodles should have. After you have had this bowl of goodness you will longer think of ramen as some late-night food to satisfy a case of the munchies.
Where: Khan House, Hill Road 3 Floor, Above McDonald's, Bandra West, Mumbai. Tel: +9189288/95952
The classic miso ramen bowl is sure to blow your mind at this Japanese restaurant with tatami floor seating and soothing music. Ramen noodles cooked to be firm until the very last bite are bathed in a very flavourful broth along with shiitake mushrooms, crunchy spring onions, and a soft-boiled egg. Firm and perky nori sheets are added at the last moment rather than being left to get soggy. The presentation too is breathtaking. The shoyu ramen has a winning combination of soya sauce and dashi broth along with toothsome noodles to keep you interested all the way through to the final slurp. Their broths are boiled in a big pot for 12 long hours. No wonder it’s one stellar bowl of goodness.
Where: Juhu and Bandra. Tel: 022/6173-6138 and 022/6695-5105