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14° & CLOUDY ON TUESDAY 25 JUNE IN AUCKLAND
By Stephen Heard
June 18, 2015
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Ichiban Japanese Restaurant

It’s not unlikely to walk straight past Ichiban.
By Stephen Heard
June 18, 2015
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The hole-in-the-wall restaurant is tightly packed between a karaoke bar and a place called Scorpio Bar on lower Albert Street. Don't plan on taking a dinner party along for the ride, the restaurant can only cater for up to 10 people around the edges of the floorspace. Also don't expect to be face-to-face with anyone aside from the chef serving up your meal.

The menu boasts several different kinds of ramen, both conventional and unconventional. Those familiar with the traditional pork based tonkotsu broth will notice that Ichiban's has a strong presence of sesame, both with the oil floating on top and a sprinkling of seeds. With every ramen outlet having their own twist on the classic dish, the addition of Japanese pickle was a nice touch and a nice surprise hiding in the cloudy broth, alongside bean sprouts and a good dose of corn. The broth ratio was far beyond the amount of noodles, making it not quite as filling as expected but that's where Ichiban's lunch deals come in handy.

For only $9.50 a tonkotsu ramen can be paired with a Japanese curry on rice. Further deals include a teriyaki chicken set with salad and miso, and a sushi pack alongside pork based noodles.

In addition to a handful of stir-fried yakisoba options, a range of colourful ramen dishes make up the rest of the noodle options including: jigoku (hell ramen), named for its chilli infused broth that can be taken from spicy level 1 to 5; miso butter ramen, topped with a stick of butter; stamina ramen, with thick starchy sauce meant to give you a pick me up; teriyaki chicken ramen, and the curry ramen.

While Ichiban does't allow for ramen to be taken away, the dine in option is incredibly fast and will only set you back 20 minutes. Or you could just try their take away sushi. They're also open until 2am, just incase Scorpio Bar gets the better of you.

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