Once you lay your eyes on a bowl of steaming glory at Ramen Do, you'll be flicking through the menu in no time trying to decipher what you just saw. But, before even setting yourself up at one of the charming dining suites, you'll need to find a car park, just like everyone else in the upper Symonds St precinct.
While Hokkaido is their signature, ramen comes in several options and can be chosen depending on your preference of saltiness. There's the rich miso tonkotsu soup, a traditional light soy style, or the salt-based soup, which, as well as painting a picture of the broth's visual appearance, also sums up the kind of people you'd most likely find within the New Zealand government: rich and white.
Each noodle broth takes around two days to prepare by simmering a various combinations of chicken bones, pork bones and vegetables. Ramen Do also puts a huge amount of effort into its noodles; they're made everyday and come out the firmest of any I've experienced in Auckland.
The large bowls arrive in no time at all, each glistening and brimming with an extremely generous amount of toppings. Even the most straightforward option is given the utmost care; the chashu pork is grilled on both sides, the boiled egg retains a gooey lava yolk, and the scoop of minced pork and chewy wood ear fungus just work. They even give you a small mortar and pestle on the side to crush and add sesame seeds to your liking. The vegetarian "gyokai" option is equally as appealing and comes stacked with bean sprouts, bamboo and green onion.
I still can't find it in myself to go for the cold ramen option but there are plenty of hot to keep me coming back. For non-noodle lovers there aren't a lot of choices, though you can fill your void with Japanese classics like gyoza dumplings and kaarage.