Hey guys! This is Hanson from Nosh and Nibble back for my 4th month of dine outs with the Itadakimasu Mini Club. This month we went to two of the most popular Japanese restaurants on Urbanspoon – Shishinori and The Ramen Butcher. Boasting specialties in light Japanese meals and gourmet ramen, were these places worth the hype or just a trend? Read on to find out.
On a sunny Saturday afternoon, Itadakimasu visited Shishinori near Cambie-Broadway skytrain and had an assortment of light meals. I ordered a Chicken Curry Rice Bowl and Matcha Parfait. The curry here is a delicious paste that covers well-cooked chicken and potatoes with a side Japanese salad. I thought this was pretty good but the main highlight has to be the Matcha Parfait. Pictured above, this behemoth of a dessert comes with matcha soft serve, a chocolate stick, Pocky sticks, whipped cream with pop rocks, a wafer, a biscuit, frozen gummies, frozen peach, chocolate malt ice cream, chocolate soft serve, corn flakes, jelly, coffee jelly, and marshmallows *deep breath*. This really is a fully loaded parfait and a great reason to visit Shishinori.
In the end, everyone agreed Shishinori was a great place to hang out and share some snacks together. It’s also really cute that the cafe plays some anime on the wall. Here’s a photo of the mini club.
Next up was a stop at The Ramen Butcher. This one opened in February 2015 and is one of the most popular openings since Santouka on Robson. Our mini club got here at 5PM so that we could be seated right away. Our group of 7 was given a corner booth and we got to analyze the menu. They serve 4 colours of pork broth ramen and a couple of chicken/veggie broths. I had the Red Ramen and a Spicy Gyoza. I noticed that the Red Ramen is supposed to be spicy but it really wasn’t. In fact, check out this comparison between the Red and Orange Ramens.
Clearly the colours are meant to indicate specific toppings rather than broth colour. I think it would have been cool otherwise. The noodles were okay here. They were thinner than any noodles I’d had at other ramen restaurants but the main draw here is that you get one free refill of noodles with your order. That’s right, about 100g of noodles will be given to you should you ask for it. For free. If you’re looking to get full, this might be the best ramen option for that kind of appetite.
The gyoza here are beautiful. Crusted on one side, supple on the other; these look like little treasures. The pork is well cooked and the skin is chewy and crunchy in all the right places. I don’t think the spicy topping added much to the appeal of the gyoza so I think the regular gyoza with its accompanying dipping sauce is all you need to enjoy this popular commodity.
All in all, I think this was another successful month of dine outs and I’m really happy my mini club members have stuck by me. I hope to really go out with a bang next month since March tends to be the finale for most mini clubs. Dare I say it, but maybe I can feel a potential extension to the mini club into the summer if everyone is keen on it? Maybe this kind of thinking is better in my dreams, but I’ve met some really cool foodies through this mini club and I couldn’t ask for a better crowd to eat with. See you guys in March and I hope you all do well on your midterms!