Gourmet Traveller Review

October 11, 2014

Thank you Gourmet Traveller for the behind the scenes reporting!

Taro Akimoto

Taro’s Ramen & Café, Brisbane

10.10.2014

 Saying Taro Akimoto’s devotion to the art of ramen borders on obsessive is something of an understatement. Sure, he eschews MSG and other shortcuts, makes his noodles in-house and uses only premium Bangalow pork for his tonkotsu broths, but it’s a rare chef who weighs and cooks each organic egg separately, using a chart of his own devising to ensure creamy yolked perfection every time.

After four years in a low-key, unlikely spot on Brisbane’s Adelaide Street, Akimoto is bringing Taro’s Ramen to the lucky people of Ascot with his second venture, on Racecourse Road.

The digs are neat and simple, tables are topped with handmade wood slabs crafted by the chef-owner, and it’s counter service only.

“I like to keep pretty tight control, so I don’t think you’ll be seeing me expand worldwide,” Akimoto laughs. “I like to keep a close eye and take control of things physically.”

To be a little more eco-friendly, he recently swapped over from traditional cooking methods, and is now using a pressure cooker to make the tonkotsu, an approach he says is becoming popular with more progressive ramen shops. His broths now take five hours rather than 50 to prepare, and gas bills are down, but it hasn’t turned out to be much of a time-saver in practice.

“There’s a noticeable difference in results. I always aim for a particular density in the soup. With the traditional two-day cooking method you get about 10 per cent dissolved matter. With the pressure cooker – it’s about 20 per cent and a more flavoursome soup.”

The traditional method creates a broth that remains creamy for a long time, while the pressure cooker results tend to separate when held at 90C.

“It took a lot of work to get the results consistent.”

With the new method, for service Akimoto brings each order to temperature, then uses a stick blender to emulsify the soup.

“There’s more effort in the preparation… because while some use soy lecithin and gums to stabilise, I prefer to stay natural and premium.”

Irrashaimase, indeed.

Taro’s Ramen Ascot, 1/145 Racecourse Rd, Ascot, Qld, (07) 3868 2833, and 363 Adelaide St, Brisbane, Qld, (07) 3832 6358. 

 


Courier Mail Article

October 7, 2014

Thanks Courier-Mail for the coverage!!

Taro

Queensland’s newest restaurants and eateries

THE purple and pinks of Racecourse Road’s Thai Talay have been banished, making way for the simple lines and handmade wooden-topped tables of Taro’s Ramen & Café. 
The new venue is a sibling for Taro’s Ramen & Café’s Adelaide St city branch and it opened quietly in Ascot last week.

Owner Taro Akimoto says diners can expect an expanded drinks selection at the new suburban digs, featuring plenty of wines by-the-glass, with Riedel glassware to match the upscale location. There’s also the usual quirky range of beer, including Japanese rice lager, alongside sake, umeshu and shochu.

“I’ve installed a Vintec cabinet and the wines will be premium, but at budget prices,’’ Mr Akimoto said.

“It’s still counter service but we’ll be providing quality.’’

The bulk of the wine list falls in the $20-$40 category, with some by-the-glass choices as low as $6.20. All the Taro’s Ramen & Café city noodle favourites put in an appearance at Mr Akimoto’s second venue, from the celebrated red and fire tonkotsu options through to shio, shoyu and miso ramen offerings. Noodles and chilli oil are made in-house, the eggs are organic from the Darling Downs, and pork is Sweet Pork from Bangalow

At Ascot, there’s a slightly wider choice of ‘tapas’ designed for dinner service, everything from sweet chilli and curry karaage chicken to handmade gyoza. The city’s popular order-ahead option of shabu shabu is also available.

At the city venue, Mr Akimoto said he now planned to trial late night ramen sittings. From October 15-18 he would keep the kitchen open until 11pm to gauge demand.

Taro Akimoto of Taro's Ramen & Cafe, Ascot. Picture: Mark Calleja

Taro Akimoto of Taro’s Ramen & Cafe, Ascot. Picture: Mark Calleja


2015 Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide

September 3, 2014

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Very proud to get a mention in the prestigious guide for the 3rd year now.  Along with tips like “Best Cheap Eats”, it is a comprehensive guide to get your way around the 400 finest restaurants around Australia.

“Nirvana in a bowl” Thanks for the grunge wording Gourmet Traveller!


Ortiga @ Fortitude Valley

November 25, 2013

Was fortunate to be able to score a table at Ortiga before their closure last month.

I was very keen to repay a visit since chef Pablo mentioned us to an interview he did with the Virgin Airlines inflight magazine. Recommendations from fellow chefs/restauranteurs are the ones that I am grateful the most.

Pictured, the inch thick wine list, inspiring dishes delicious and beautiful. My favorite was the eel dish with elegant espuma and lamb tongue with apple-slaw and garlic flower.  The lamb shoulder was as fall off the bone as rumoured and the tanginess of lemon puree and delicious juis, great.  The desert with dehydrated buttermilk was awesome too! Open kitchen in full steam yet composed, and a final pic with Pablo.

Very sad to see such a world class dining venue getting acclaim but the Brisbane public not following.  I also regretted that my visit had to come at the trigger of their closure news.  In the end, I would like to think better late than never and my wife and I were glad and felt fortunate that we were able to experience Ortiga.  A truly memorable evening.  Thanks Pablo and the team!

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Common Magazine

February 14, 2013

http://commongoods.co.nz/COMMON-Magazine

We have been interviewed by a really awesome art and lifestyle magazine. It’s just too cool to describe!

http://flavors.me/common_magazine#2cb/youtube

TARO on COMMON


Recent Media Mentions

August 10, 2012

Thank you mustdobrisbane and theweekendedition for your recent feature! 

http://www.mustdobrisbane.com/

http://theweekendedition.com.au/stumble-guide/detail/taros-ramen-and-cafe/

http://www.theurbanlist.com/brisbane/a-list/two-minutes-shinichi-maeda

Maeda san, thank you once again for mentioning us as your favourite Brisbane restaurant! 

 

 


Gourmet Traveller Review

July 24, 2012

It’s out!

http://gourmettraveller.com.au/restaurant_news1.htm


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