Robin and I have long wished for a ramen house in Rotterdam. Japanese noodle houses are a rarity in the Netherlands, especially from my neck of the woods so we couldn’t give in to any ramen cravings as often as we do with say, Vietnamese banh mi or Thai fish cakes. I even remember braving one rainy evening in Amsterdam just to get my ramen fix at Fou Fow.
During an afternoon out in the city centre last weekend, we agreed to discover more of West Kruiskade and eat in one of the hole in the wall eateries in the area. We wanted to eat first at De Langer Muur but were discouraged by the number of diners so we crossed the street and stumbled upon a tiny place decked with a geisha curtain at the entrance.
“Are you new here?” I immediately quizzed the waiter once we were seated in the Japanese-hut decorated corner by the window. He said they’ve opened in this location in April and they’re the third branch of the SET noodle house from The Hague. The interior is decorated in a typical Japanese minimalist design. No revolving sushi bar nor distracting red lights. Tables and chairs were made of wood and Japanese text dominates the paintings and pictures hanging all over the place.
What we ordered?
Ramen of course. There are not many tepanyaki dishes in the menu so we were not distracted by other choices. Robin went for the house specialty – the Set Volcano ramen while I was already happy with a bowl of pork soya ramen with a cup of hot macha latte.
Robin’s Spicy Volcano set lived up to its name – an explosive bowl of noodle soup that already hurts your nostrils to even inhale it. But the both was really flavourful, I could put a bowl of rice in it alone and have a complete meal. The toppings of beef, corn and seaweed were just as tasty. However the whole portobello mushroom blobbing out of the broth was very unsightly. They could have put chanterelle or enoki instead.
The servings were huge for the price that we paid for it. The volcano set was about €12,95 and the pork soya ramen was €7,95.
My pork soya ramen was also very nice but again, it has that odd-looking mushroom head in it. It just didn’t feel right.
I was tempted to order the the mini cheesecake for dessert because they only cost €2,50. I was even impressed by the plating when it arrived. Such effort for that price and it look great in photos. But it definitely didn’t taste as good as it looked. I could have saved myself €2,50 and a lot of disappointment.
What we think about it?
To expect that it’ll be the same quality as Japan would be too ambitious. It didn’t even come close to the ones served in ramen houses in the Philippines and HongKong. It is good to note that the owner of SET restaurants is Chinese and not Japanese.
But it tasty, it’s good enough to satisfy our cravings for a hot bowl of Japanese soup on a rainy and cold Saturday afternoon. I think it is even better than Fou Fow. And the best thing about is that it’s in 010.
Set Noodle & Hotpot
P.S. They don’t serve hotpot yet. I hope they never will.