Just opened on Grote Street, Himeji is a bit different from most Japanese restaurants in that the focus is on Ramen and "small dishes" to be eaten with drinks. Ramen is a Japanese wheat noodle soup dish and Izakaya is an informal drinking place that serves food to accompany the drinks. However we were there for the food only. During our visit, we ordered the Funamori, Karaage Chicken, Pork Steamed Bun, Wagyu Steamed Bun and Sekiryu Ramen.
Himeji's Funamori (Sushi Boat) is a great way to try their sashimi and sushi as it features various types of sashimi and sushi as well as Japanese omelette served on a boat-shaped platter with pickled ginger and wasabi. All the raw seafood used in the sushi and sashimi were impeccably fresh with a delightful refreshing taste. The cooked ingredients used in the sushi were cooked perfectly as well. Soy sauce is provided for you as a dipping sauce and you can mix a bit of wasabi in it to give it a hint of sharpness.
Funamori (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
One of the varieties of Ramen available, their Sekiryu Ramen consists of ramen noodles, pork mince, deep fried leek and hard-boiled egg in a Hakata Tonkotsu soup with chilli oil. Not be confused with Tonkatsu, Tonkotsu is a soup made from pork bones that is often used in Ramen. The ramen noodles were cooked to al dente with the soup having quite a thick consistency with enough spicy flavour to lift the flavour of the ingredients.
Sekiryu Ramen (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
While the coating was a bit salty, their Karaage Chicken was fried to golden brown with the crisp coating being a good contrast to the tender meat. The dish also had the distinct gingery flavour that we consider to be a hallmark of Karaage Chicken. It is served with a wasabi mayonnaise that the chicken can be dipped in to enhance its flavour.
Karaage Chicken (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Good for a light meal, Himeji's variety of steamed buns features one type of meat, vegetables and a sauce in a folded steamed bun. The Wagyu Bun had Aburi Wagyu fillets that gave the dish a salty taste that was not too strong, complemented well by the refreshing vegetables. The pork belly in their Pork Bun was tender with the accompanying apple sauce being a good partner to the pork.
Wagyu Bun (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
Pork Bun (Photographed by Jonathan Phoon)
In addition to their main menu, they offer a variety of rice bowls and bento box sets during lunchtime. The décor of the restaurant gave it a bit of a formal feel with two tables within each semi-private dining area. There is also the option of sitting at the bar for casual dining.