Ramen Bar Snack, Izakaya | ラーメン BAR スナック、居酒屋
Bowl to Crush: Oppai Ramen | おっぱいラーメン
Oppai means “big breasts” in Japanese. Takako Hayakawa, the proprietress of Ramen Bar Snack Izakaya (aka Oppai Ramen), previously worked as a hostess in Ginza and appeared frequently as an idol, or pinup girl, in Japanese adult magazines. As its name suggests, this establishment is a traditional Tokyo snack bar, which also serves ramen. It’s important to know that you can’t just roll up and order ramen, though. You have to hang out and order a few drinks and put some time in first, as per local snack bar culture. Eating and running won't fly in this context. Takako-san will offer to serve you ramen if she enjoys your company.
So, order a few drinks and enjoy the atmosphere. After all, watching Hayakawa-san do her thing is the shop's official selling point.
Inside the shop you'll notice a prominent sign reading 'oppai ramen.' As advertised, Hayakawa-san and her assistant are invariably dressed in low-cut tops. For some reason, they always seems to bend forward a lot while they're preparing drinks or ramen ingredients. You'll also probably notice Hayakawa-san has a rather conspicuous way of bouncing her torso around when she strains the steaming noodles. She’s also funny and a skilled shit-talker. Like all great snack bar proprietresses, she makes a point of chatting up her customers and making sure everyone has a good time (she doesn't speak English, however).
The ramen is a light shio, served with aosa seaweed, yuzukoshou and lime. It's especially refreshing after a few drinks, which seems to be the intention. The lime is a particularly nice touch. The noodles are supplied by a celebrated noodle-maker in Kyoto. The portion size is small-ish. It's packaged more like a drinking snack than an entrée. There are other standard Japanese snack bar items on the menu, but don't come here expecting a full meal.
Hayakawa-san isn't breaking any culinary ground with her ramen technique, but she serves a very satisfying, homey bowl. She's buddies with many ramen masters in the Tokyo scene and knows her stuff.
The shop used to be located in Musashi-Koyama but moved to Gakugei-Daigaku in late 2014.
Note: Be advised that Ramen Bar Snack, Izakaya is a small establishment and they are often full. Also, Hayakawa-san closes the shop as she pleases. Some weeks she'll work every day; other times, she'll take several days off in a row. If you arrive and find the shop closed, we'd recommend you check out Bigiya, which is an excellent ramen shop just one minute away, open until 9pm every day except Tuesdays.
Opening Hours: 7pm-1am
Days Closed: Undecided
2FL, 2-15-10 Takaban, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
東京都目黒区鷹番2-15-10 遠藤ビル 2F