Berabou (麺や べらぼう) has quickly become one of the top spots for ramen in Iidabashi and ramen in Tokyo. I'm personally a huge fan of them.
Berabou - Incredible Iidabashi Ramen
Menya Berabou opened in August 2020. You'll find them in Kagurazaka, a fancier Tokyo neighborhood known more for its French cuisine than ramen. The closest station is Iidabashi.
In addition, Berabou is located inside a shiny shopping mall (Iidabashi Sakura Terrace). This is a bit unusual for a Tokyo ramen shop.
People in the ramen world praised Berabou right out of the gate. TRY magazine named them the no. 1 new ramen shop in the "Niboshi Ramen" category. Think of TRY magazine as Bible for ramenheads.
Award-Winning Niboshi Ramen
Naturally, Berabou's speciality is Niboshi Ramen. Niboshi is dried fish.
In ramen form, niboshi often has a distinct bitterness to it. But that bitterness is absent in the soup at Berabou. The fish they use includes dried urume (sardines), kibinago (silver-stripe round herring), eso (lizard fish), and shirokuchi sardines.
They also use kombu (kelp) from Hidaka. A bold and salty shoyu (soy sauce) from Tokushima holds up this sea-anchored soup. It has a beautiful, gentle flavor.
Despite all the sea elements, the flavors aren't as fish intense as you might think. This is despite the fact that they're also using a niboshi (fish) aroma oil. In summary, the bowl is so carefully put together and well-balanced.
All noodles are made by Kyoto-based company Menya Teigaku. For the niboshi ramen you can choose or straight noodles or hand-pressed, wavy noodles. Go for the hand-pressed ones (temomimen)! They're higher in water content and are extra bouncy.
For toppings, there's excellent pork chashu, diced negi (spring onions) and red onions, and seaweed from Tokushima. The owner is from Tokushima...hence ingredients from there make regular appearances. Adding an egg is an extra ¥120.
Creamy Maze Soba
The maze soba (soupless ramen) is popular with customers too. Whereas the niboshi ramen is delicate in flavor, the maze soba is unapologetically all about strong flavors. This is usually the case with maze soba. There's plenty of pork grease and garlic.
There's creaminess coming from the raw egg in the middle. There's hints of fish and saltiness too. The bottle of vinegar they provide helps bring this saltiness down.
The topping textures are more noticeable when there isn't soup. This is from the crunchy red onions and bean sprouts to the perfectly singed pieces of pork. In short, this bowl is an explosion of flavors and textures.
The noodles are more dense and aren't wavy. But they're extra thick!
Among My Favorite Ramen Shops
In the same way that Berabou has climbed up the Tokyo ramen rankings, they've quickly become one of my favorites.