31 Water Street
Sai Wan, Hong Kong
Tel 2108 4018
Vibe: This is a small but popular restaurant. Decor is quite simple: wood veneer wainscoting and beige walls. The typical blue curtain and flags surround the kitchen area. Background music is a mix of Western and Asian pop. The staff are friendly and, despite there being only two of them, the service is prompt.
Who to take: You could go with a group of friends after school, but plenty of people seem to pop in on their own for a quick bowl of ramen.
What's hot: As it's a small eatery, it's no surprise that the menu is also rather small. But what they do offer, they do well. The signature item is the ramen. The ingredients include pork, egg, seaweed and vegetables. The variety is in the soup bases, which include tomato, pork ribs and the highly recommended black garlic.
If you'd prefer a rice dish, the options include stir-fried egg with barbecued pork and pan-fried chicken. Alternatively you could have Japanese-style curry with either pork cutlet or shrimp.
Elsewhere on the menu you can find deep-fried dishes such as pork cutlet, oysters and pumpkin croquette, and a number of tempura options. Shrimp tempura is always tempting, but the best choice here is the mixed vegetable tempura. This is a generous platter featuring eggplant, pumpkin, sweet potato and two kinds of mushroom. It is very tasty, but the batter is perhaps not as light as it could have been.
Grilled dishes include salmon head, ox tongue, eggplant with ginger and something the menu calls 'chicken leg' mushrooms. These are actually king oyster mushrooms - they're also included in the tempura platter, so we didn't try it grilled, opting instead for a more traditional grilled mackerel, which was wonderfully fresh and flavoursome.
A small selection of sushi and sashimi is available. Other snacks include pan-fried dumplings, wild vegetable and beef rolls, and chicken wings stuffed with cheese, minced pork and deep-fried tofu.
What's not: Wooden stools look attractive but they are small and not very comfortable to sit on. For dessert, the menu lists red bean and green tea pudding, and Hokkaido milk pudding - sadly, both had sold out - get there early. The tofu smoothie sounded intriguing but, although it was nice enough, it was just soya milk.
Cost: Noodle and rice dishes are between HK$48 andHK$56. Tempura is from HK$48 to HK$62.