Ramen Kaio is a new ramen restaurant that has opened up this month in Crow’s Nest. I was put onto Ramen Kaio by a guy who was previously big in the NSW HSC online forum space in 2010-11. He now works at PwC and I don’t know if he’d appreciate me putting his name on here.
The long and short of it is that Ramen Kaio has some of the best chashu I’ve ever had, and definitely the best that I’ve had in Australia. The chashu absolutely melts in your mouth, and according to their Facebook page they flame sear their meat just before serving.
I had the spicy ramen with level 3 spiciness and extra chashu. The level 3 was not as spicy as I would have liked, but I had to accommodate my partner who is less spice tolerant. The soup flavours were good, and I also enjoyed the included bamboo and bean sprouts which I thought I would have to pay extra for. I can definitely recommend getting extra chashu. It’s not that there’s not enough in the standard dish (indeed there is, they purposely cover half the bowl with it), it’s just that it’s so good.
The black garlic ramen was my partner’s pick, and one that we were less enthused by. The flavour was good, with a rich cooked garlic taste, but unfortunately we found the ramen as a whole to be too oily. I suspect that’s part and parcel of getting a black garlic ramen, and if it had been less oily it wouldn’t have been so garlicky. I would not get this particular dish again, but understand that others may like it.
I found the gyoza at Ramen Kaio to be underwhelming. There were only 4 for $7 or $8, and the flavour was quite mild and unexciting.
We also had the karaage chicken at Ramen Kiao. I liked that it wasn’t as battered as most, and the large chunks of chicken, but otherwise it was not special. My partner liked it less than me.
Overall I think Ramen Kaio does one thing well, and that’s their great cha-shu. None of the other stuff we tried really stood out. I’d recommend giving the place a visit, just for their cha-shu ramen alone. Save your money and skip the sides and the $9 beer.
98 Falcon St, Crows Nest NSW 2065