A bonafide Japanese izakaya and ramen bar is staking its claim in Mt Eden.
One thing we love about ramen is its versatility – providing us a with a hot, healthy and easy mid-winter meal while its light-fashioned qualities presented in a no-broth salad form during the summer months provide an equally satisfying answer to our nutrition-conscious tendencies. And while there are several places one keeps in mind for the advent of a ramen hankering, few offer the capacity that would convince us to stay awhile.
That has changed with the arrival of Mt Eden’s newest culinary pride, Zool Zool – a manifestation of the minds behind acclaimed Symonds Street Japanese restaurant, Kazuya, and Remuera’s Soi restaurant, chefs Kazuya Yamauchi and Toru Hirae. The newly decorated space located in Mt Eden’s village shops will feature various secret recipes ferried from the time each chef has spent back in their homeland – Hirae’s including a nine-year stint at a ramen bar in Japan after completing four years as a dedicated ramen apprentice. With its izakaya-like inspiration lending the eatery its bar-style environs, this newly appointed address remains a family friendly destination that is still conducive to a high ball cocktail or two over dinner or a few small plates.
One of Zool Zool’s distinctive characteristics is the fact that they’ve teamed up with a local flour company Champion to develop a special variety of flour used for their very own original noodle recipe. Making everything from scratch and to the highest quality, you’ll find few store-bought ingredients nor anything made from concentrate here – just quality oriental fare. A more casual alternative to Yamauchi’s aforementioned fine dining institution, you can order any of their various pork or chicken ramens, either with or without broth (the latter a perfect summer option), and any of the plentiful sides including variations of their delicious tossed edamame which come conveniently in the confines of a brown paper bag in order to fully disperse your chosen seasoning. There are also delicious little snacks of crispy baby crab, more substantial plates of ebi chilli prawns served with sweet chilli aioli and the essential fried gyoza.
With a drinks list long enough to lure you in on its own accord, there’s ParrotDog beer being kept cool while an ample wine list, a selection of shōchū and various cocktails offer further choice for any keen imbiber. With Zool Zool set to open an upstairs area over the coming weeks, there’ll be even more space at this village eatery in which to enjoy the abounding culinary offerings. And even though the walls proclaim the maxim of ‘no ramen no life’ – there’s certainly more than just this certified Japanese staple to tempt you into their modern oriental confines.
Tuesday to Saturday – 11.30am ’til 2.30pm and 5pm ’til 10pm
Sunday – 11.30 ’til 14.30
405 Mt Eden Rd
(09) 630 4445