The Esquire Review: Daikan Ramen Bar
- Daikan Ramen Bar in JLT offers a simple stripped back service
- The menu is short, and offers four main ramen dishes
- There are a clutch of starters that are made for tapas-style sharing
When it comes to specialist cuisine there is a tendency for restauranteurs to double down on the kitsch. We’ve all been to a Japanese noodle bar decked out with paper banners decorated with Japanese Kanji and blood-red rising suns.
Someone probably even bowed to you when you entered, and we’ll bet that there was some kind of waving porcelain animal or a picture of a sumo wrestler. Yes, we get it. Japan, right?
Daikan is different. The small walk-in ramen bar, tucked away in Cluster Y of Dubai’s JLT area, is not particularly concerned with being Japanese-y.
Its stripped back interiors are dominated by polished concrete, a scattering of small wooden tables and an open kitchen pass. The vibe is urban with a hip-hop soundtrack playing out its speakers, but one thing is abundantly clear, the focus is on one thing—the food.
Fittingly to go along with its minimalist identity, the menu at Daikan is concise and to the point. There is a clutch of starters that are made for tapas-style sharing. The chicken katsu and Takoyaki (Octopus croquettes) are more delicious than they have any right to be considering that the brains behind the restaurant are a (rather charming) pair of Turkish-German brothers, although the chefs are indeed Japanese (we checked).
The main event, however, is the ramen. There are three ramen options (Shio, Shoyu and Miso), although the menu also has options of spicy, veggie and a ‘chef’s special’. Each is made from a different base, but all of the broths are packed full of that insatiable salty, fatty, more-ish, umami flavour that makes you want to drain every last drop of it from the bowl with a satisfying slurp.
Another plus of an uncluttered menu is how quickly the food comes out. The waiting time for a bowl of ramen is under five mins—so is the average time to guzzle one down.
As a ramen lifer (note: I once flew to New York just to eat at a particularly well-known ramen restaurant), they could perhaps be a little less stingy with the quantity of ingredients, but as an addition to Dubai’s dining scene this kitsch-free, walk-in ramen bar is very welcome indeed. *deep bow*
Cluster Y, JLT, Dubai. Tel: +971 50 7256338.