Around $14 a bowl
272 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
Ramen Takara Ponsonby is the newest site, of the original Browns Bay restaurant. Specialising in ramen (the hint is in the name), and ramen being wonderous thing, I went to try this newest Ponsonby eatery with hopes high.
The restaurant was somewhat small but cosy, and was decorated in the ubiquitously Ponsonby style of wood and brick. The staff were very friendly, and we were shown to our tables quickly.
Takara's menu is small, with a clear emphasis on ramen, with several variations of the soup available. We ordered the quintessential tonkotsu ramen (pork broth), karaage chicken, steamed gyoza, edamame and tsukemono (pickled vegetables) as well as a couple of alcoholic drinks.
The karaage chicken arrived first. The light crust on the fried chicken was surprisingly thin, yet gave a satisfying crunch which yielded the incredible filling. The chicken inside was moist and juicy, the mayonnaise and lemon taking the fatty edge off. One of the best karaage chickens I've had the pleasure of eating.
The rest of the dishes shortly arrived, but they never reached the highs of the chicken.
The delicate gyoza were enjoyable, the waitress showing us how to make the dipping sauce (cheat code: it's half soy sauce and half vinegar). The tsukemono were lacking any hint of the sour, fermented flavour I'd associated with pickled vegetables. Instead tasting like they had been soaked in water.
Then it was onto to the much anticipated ramen.
The bowl was filled with variety of ingredients including black fungus and one perfectly cooked egg, with an almost gelatinous yolk. The toppings helped fill out the bowl and provide variety of flavours and textures. The pork had a hint of juiciness to it, without losing its firm texture. The soup though...was on the thinner and blander side. The consistency and level of fattiness kept the broth light, but it tasted rather flat, lacking that flavour punch. As a result what could have been a memorable, unique soup, was very much unremarkable.