Though I usually love shopping for others (I love seeing people’s faces whenever they open a present!), I found myself dragging my feet and complaining loudly as K and I did some last minute present shopping at Westfield Chatswood on the weekend before Christmas. I was most definitely suffering from a severe case of the 3pm hunger pangs, and it was going to take something very specific to satisfy those cravings.
As we walked along Victoria Avenue, we saw a new restaurant with the customary large baskets of flowers at the entrance, celebrating a grand opening. There were crowds of people gathered around the windows, watching as a master chef cooked up serve after serve of delicious steaming hot ramen, wielding the ramen nets like a complete professional. The new and unique offerings of Marukame Udon was proving to be a real hit with Chatswood locals.
With over a dozen varieties of ramen noodles in two sizes of medium and large, there’s a wide range of options to suit any appetite. There’s a wide range of fresh tempura options as well, to accompany your meal – replenished every five minutes from what I could tell! The self-serve cafeteria style is great for those who prefer to see what they’re getting before they order!
While all the tempura options looked amazing, K and I managed to restrict ourselves to three to share between us – tempura Chinese broccoli, tempura prawn and sesame chicken. The Chinese broccoli was really unusual – not something we’ve tried before (tempura vegetables tends to be sweet potato and carrot!). I found it still surprisingly fresh, with a crispy and thin layer of tempura batter that helped to add a bit of crispiness to the vegetable. The fried chicken could have been dry, bland and ordinary – but the addition of sesame into the batter added a fantastic depth of flavour. The tempura prawn was large and juicy as well with the thinnest of thinnest layers of tempura batter.
We ordered a medium bukkake udon to share – the slow cooked egg and beef was extremely tempting! The egg was perfectly cooked, with a wonderfully oozing yolk. The beef too was tender and flavourful after having simmered away for hours and the noodles had a great chewy texture. With the opportunity to add as many toppings as you like (mmm, shallots!), it makes for a hearty and satisfying meal.
Overall, I rate Marukame Udon an 8.5 out of 10. The ramen and tempura are both excellent, and I’ve already been back for my second visit in three weeks – I can’t think of a better recommendation than that!