53 Rue des Petits Champs
2018 Update: Had the full fat broth option. It’s the best in Paris. Easy choice. They now have an upper floor and even more branches in Paris. Go before it cuts corners to become a chain. The special is recommended.
Old review: A new Ramen contender has arrived! And it’s a good one!
Unlike the sad watery soup at Higuma, and the decent yet greasy broth at Kotteri, Hakata has cut no corners and achieved a proper Tonkotsu bone stew they can be proud of.
As with Kotteri, this needs a second visit, plus, it’s not beating Mutekiya or Ichiran by a long shot, so let’s not get too excited. But hey, if you can’t jump on a plane to Tokyo, what else can you do?
The menu is simple, you have the black or red, with Tonkotsu pork or Miso base. The black sauce is soy based (I’m guessing) and the red is spicy. Then add extras as you wish.
Ordering the special, was happy to find you can order the consistency of the noodle (soft to firm) and soup (light to heavy). I took normal for both.
The noodle seems skinnier than at Kotteri and lighter, not really taking any time at all to chew. It’s nice but I have to wonder if ordering it less cooked would make any difference. I feel like Kotteri’s ramen had more substance. This is why in the end, Kotteri and Hakata are the top two, the best one depends on your mood!
If broth is your thing, then Hakata is the winner. While you can see Kotteri’s pot of broth simmering and splattering all over the kitchen while you eat, what is ladled into your bowl is just lacking. Good, in fact, but still lacking, and when you asked for full fat, it just tasted … greasy.
Hakata has Miso base, and pork bone base dishes, the latter having been boiled for hours, to such an extent you can see it quite obviously when served: a thick creamy savoury essence pervading the dish. Lovely.
My serving had a bit of water at the top, not that it changed anything but aesthetically I prefer without -and that’s why I’ll be trying the max setting next time.
Ordered a 500ml Kirin ichiban, that was a mistake, should have gone for the 330, or just not at all, as I was busy slurping down the broth. Was too full!!
Oh yeah the pork was good, the spice was nice, not very spicy though, fortunately there’s chili oil on hand. Fresh beansprouts, well I don’t know why anyone bothers with these but it gives the dish some texture lol.
Anyway, I’m hungry and want to go back. It’s not like I have much choice in Paris and the special is 14 euros…
You could just get a simple bowl but then there’s no lava egg etc. They offer all the usual extras and the special will save you a bit so don’t hesitate!
Will update after 2nd visit!
The staff, when I visited, consisted of young French men and one Japanese, so we were able to order in three languages lol (English was the third language btw).
Blazblue fans can sometimes catch Benjamin working there and reminisce! If you see him, remind him to learn better combos :3
They also have a branch at Les Halles.