|Chii-Chan - Ajisen's Logo and Mascot|
This is a fast food joint and it is the same like most Ajisen Ramen outlets around the world. It is set up to be comfortable but not for extended dining where you can sit there and catch up for more than 30 minutes. It's a quick eat and go place. Small wooden stools make sure of that.
The one in Melbourne is really dimly lit and the photos are going to show you just how dim, even during the light of day.
Things to do Nearby; This is near Bourke Street Mall and all the shopping around the area. Parliament House and the Gardens are up the street.
They serve food of really varying quality here. Sometimes, it is good and sometimes, it's most average. Don't expect the aldente style ramen that many Japanese like with stronger lye water. This is part of a chain that is really quite successful all over East and SEAsia and so, has to cater to a wider palette. Hence, some will argue that it is not as authentic or traditional and I would agree with that. It is not and was not meant to be. I mean, they have Tom Yum Ramen on the menu - not very Japanese is it?
I have had basic service here that is polite but inflexible in terms of item variation. This is not unusual for a franchise that has had a history of some franchisees changing things and stuffing it up. So, they have become somewhat inflexible. The busier they get, the more abrupt they become because I have never seen more than 3 staff members working the floor - even during really busy times. Just don't expect 5 star service.
I will continue to go occasionally even though there are newer ramen places, especially when I am after a no frills, quick meal. The food is not bad and can be really quite tasty. However, if you are really looking for a more intimate and authentic Japanese dining experience, this is not for you.
Ok! I am going to take an unusual step and refer readers to a Bloomberg Businessweek article that talks about Ajisen's expansion into China, where it s becoming really popular and even discusses China-Japan relations. Check the article out here; Businessweek Article.I am not being lazy! I promise - I just thought it's an interesting article to share.
And while I am at it, you can't imagine my despair, when The Smarter Travel Website published an article by Caroline Morese on unhealthy foods of the world and the ONLY East Asian entry into that list was the humble Ramen! How the? What? Check out the Smarter Travel site here; Unhealthy Ramen?