If you asked 10 Aucklanders what they wanted for lunch, you would hear ‘pie’, ‘sandwich’, ‘taco’, ‘pizza’, ‘salad’ and more, but you’re unlikely to hear soup. It’s simply not a common food option — unless you’re in a university hall or hospital.
Hoping to change that, is Daruma Ramen, a ramen franchise focusing on fast and delicious Japanese noodle soup at multiple locations Auckland-wide. We visited Daruma Ramen at Commercial Bay to see if they’re getting it right and Aucklanders were getting their lunch options wrong.
Daruma Ramen takes up a small outpost in theCommercial Bay food court. You order without engaging the staff and via a touchscreen kiosk instead. That’s all completely acceptable for a food court but makes it hard to say anything positive about the dining experience.
The menu is small. There are only five different options, but it features exactly what you’d expect — tonkatsu, miso and soy.Portions are smaller than you would receive in Japan and the ramen is light on toppings. But importantly, the broths have been lovingly handmade (just like the noodles) and pressure cooked to savoury perfection.
The broths were the true heroes. There’s a depth of flavour to the base broth which comes to life when the stock is added. We tried both the Tonkatsu Pork and the Soy Chicken. Our meals compared favourably to anything we’ve had in Tokyo. Daruma Ramen have created an authentic ramen experience in the heart of Auckland.
The Tonkatsu Pork featured slow-cooked chashu pork, nitamago egg, rocket and sesame. The Soy Chicken had chicken chashu, nitamago egg, nori, bamboo and rocket. The team at Daruma Ramen have spent a long time researching, revolutionising and perfecting their ingredients. It’s paid handsome dividends and they deserve all the fanfare and patronage they receive.
We just hope more Aucklanders ditch their conservative pies, pastries and burgers for the delicious alternatives that we are blessed to have — starting with Daruma Ramen.
Commercial Bay, Auckland CBD
Mon – Sun 11:00-21:00