After leaving the Faroes, our next stop was Edinburgh. Compared to our usual UK trips that generally require dealing with either Heathrow or Gatwick, in comparison to those airports, the relatively smaller and much smoother-operating Edinburgh airport is almost a breeze of customs and immigration, so we soon found ourselves riding the tram into downtown to meet up with my brother at The New Club. After getting settled in and enjoying the views of Edinburgh Castle, it was time to head out and explore the New City for a dinner spot. My brother had spied a Japanese place near the Club, and that seemed like a particularly nice change up from Faroese cuisine. So we soon found ourselves in a quiet alley off of Rose Street (home of an implausibly large number of pubs, even by UK standards).
Hakataya is primarily a ramen shop, with a variety of ramen soups based upon different broths, with a modest selection of sushi, potstickers, and other Japanese items in addition to the ramen. Having a rather large bit of residual hunger from our travels, we started with two plates of potstickers, one pork and one vegetable, and these turned out to be very good: both had very flavorful and well-spiced fillings, the wrappers nice and soft yet having a good sear. A good, enjoyable start to the meal.
For the ramen, I opted for their extra-spicy Hell Ramen. Unlike a lot of ramen places these days, Hakataya makes their own noodles, and the results show. The texture of the noodles is perfect: a little springiness. A little toothiness. Cooked to the point they don’t take gummy, and are starting to enjoy the broth. The hell broth was a slightly thick red soup, and despite the focus on the hot peppers, underlying it all is a good, well-done bone broth. A few slices of nicely seasoned pork, a few veggies, and a perfectly cooked egg, and this was a seriously enjoyable bowl of ramen.
Carol, meanwhile, opted for the Yokohama ramen, and this too was a well-composed bowl of ramen. More of a classic ramen, this was a much lighter broth without the heat, but was otherwise the same basic concept: a noodle-forward ramen soup, with perfect noodles, a good broth, and good toppings. Carol was quite satisfied as well.
Overall, Hakataya is not just a good ramen shop, but a great one. This is easily as a good a ramen shop as, say, Bone Daddies, and they are obviously working on maintaining a great product. If I had to nick them on something, it would be price (My ramen was a hefty 14 quid, the sting only slightly reduced by the Brexit-related lowering of the exchange rate). But hey, at least I’m getting some top-rate rate ramen for that. I wouldn’t mind a return visit.