Every bowl of steaming ramen that comes out of the open kitchen pays respectful testament to the Japanese tradition of the noodle soup ramen, at the Mochi Ramen bar.
It’s set up like a traditional ramenya, with it’s long bar crowded with stools, running along the open kitchen. And when sitting at one of those stools, if you look left and right, you’ll see right into a old butchers on one side, and a fish shop out of the 50ies on the other, and then you’ll probably smirk like we did at the realisation how out of place, Mochi’s new ramen bar really is here at the old Viennese market square.
You’ll enjoy the show happening behind the high bar where the Mochi chefs, donning the hachimaki (a stylised Japanese headband) like the samurais in the kitchen that they are, work the stoves with a rhythm and arrange masterpieces in bowls with effortless ease. Meanwhile, the massive pots where the oh holy broth of the dish that fills their menu bubbles away, with chicken feet poking out – the pots make for quite the scene, and smell magnificent.
And this show will only be replaced by the next show which comes in a bowl – the ramen. The Mochi crowd, who began some kind of genetically modified sushi bar (meaning the place is a fusion of a German Kneipe and a sushi bar), have always been big on presentation, and they do not disappoint with their version of the Ramen. Each bowl showcases it’s own look.
The most traditional of the the ramen on the menu, the Tonkotsu, is a murky light brown bowl of tasty pork-based broth, set off with bursts of colour from spring onions, a lettuce leaf, and bits of corn bobbing about. The soup is also served with a generous helping of impossibly tender braised pork, a boiled egg – and, of course, noodles. The strands (made by Mochi) are superior to many a noodle strand we’ve slurped at before.
The vegetarian variety, the Mushroom Miso Ramen, is full of flavour and flair. Layered and arranged in a way that makes it a pleasure to eat, we couldn’t get over the overwhelming taste of the Shitaki mushroom-infused broth.
While the layout of the place is arranged for sunny days, with beer bench and table decked out gardens on either side, there’s plenty of seating on the inside for when ramen is best enjoyed – when it’s cold outside. And don’t even think of reserving – it’s a no-go here at Mochi’s ramen bar, which is a policy we found refreshing in this city where spontaneous dining is often hindered by restaurants being backed up with bookings.
Mochi have also brought over some of the Japanese tapas that they’re famed for at their other address. We feasted on the Ikapiri (tasty deep-fried calamari in a spicy ketchup) and the little dumplings known as Gyoza.
If your easing yourself into the steaming and trending noodle-filled broth of ramen, than the Wan Tan with it’s prawns and chicken broth, is a good one to begin with, but if you’re an experienced ramen slurper, the Tonkutsu is even recommended by members of the Japanese community of the city (trust us, we know a guy).
Whatever ramen you choose though, you’ll be glad the spoon is bigger than your mouth.