Menya Sandaime, that new CBD ramen place that’s open 24/7 is serving right now. And now. And now. Just, always. And who could resist? Especially if you’re the type looking for more than China Bar or a souvlaki when you stagger out of the office – or club – at unforeseen hours.
Being the first ramen bar of its kind in Melbourne, Menya Sandaime harks back to Japan, where the 24-hour lifestyle is commonplace. Everything from the long, diner-occupied table straggling the busy steamy Asian kitchen screams Tokyo. Service was sluggish and tired but who’s to tell how long the wait staff’s shifts last?
Opting for the original Menya Sandaime ramen and a dish of gyoza seemed like a good starting point. The prices of the dishes are, on average, $1-2 cheaper than its highly impressive neighbour, Hakata Gensuke. The serving of ramen was quite small but there’s nothing like firm, satisfying, slurpy noodles – which Sandaime did well. The chashu, though burnt, was tasty. Compared to Hakata, the meat broth lacked depth and flavour and the lack of various condiments like sesame seeds, red sesame oil and pickled veggies was noticeable.
Ultimately, Menya Sandaime’s true appeal lies in its accessibility. Piping hot ramen at any time of moonlight is surely a welcome and much needed addition to Melbourne’s scant 24-hour food scene.
In a Sentence: 3am never felt so delicious.
Verdict: Worth Trying.
Words & Photos by Derrick Koo