Cape Town's raving about Haru's insanely good ramen bowls
Kit Heathcock visits this relaxed Rondebosch restaurant to find out what all the fuss is about
Rondebosch food lovers couldn’t believe their luck when Haru opened in the restaurant block of Campground Road home to Some Oaks Bistro and Michael’s Kitchen.
Haru is an authentic Japanese restaurant with a contemporary vibe and a diverse menu of sushi and ramen bowls that has won over an immediate following.
Owner Denis Sung moved to Cape Town from Korea several years ago and this is his first South African restaurant. He works with chef Karen Hwang to develop a menu that is as true to Japanese and Korean traditions as possible while allowing for Western tastes.
The small restaurant has clean, light lines and comfortable benches with bright cushions. The light wood bistro tables fill up quickly in the evenings, so it’s advisable to book ahead, but at lunchtime, you can drop in with the regulars for a big bowl of ramen or take advantage of the midday-only Bento box.
I chose the Ton-kotsu ramen, a delicate slow-cooked broth of pork bones, with thin noodles, slices of pork belly, nori, a seven-minute egg, bean sprouts and spring onions. It was a meal in itself, which was gentle, soothing and sustaining, and had me draining the bowl to the last drop.
Other bowls I would like to go back for are the classic Shoyu ramen and several intriguing Korean specialities: a cold noodle broth, Mulnaengmyeon, spicy Bibimnaengmyeon.
There are also the irresistible-sounding Yaki Gyoza dumplings, filled with crispy fried pork and chives, which were delivered to a neighbouring table along with a gorgeous-looking Bento box with light tempura vegetables and a selection of sushi.
Too full to do justice to anymore tastings, I ordered a takeaway sushi platter for later. That evening we found the nigiri, as promised, generously balanced on the fish to rice ratio, and salmon maki rolls and tuna California rolls beautifully put together.
A calm atmosphere, friendly service and occasional tantalising wafts of aromatic oolong jasmine tea (just one of the speciality teas served here) make Haru a welcome respite from city life.
The menu was updated in May, so there’s more to keep coming back for, even for regulars who have worked their way through the whole menu.
This article was originally published in Sunday Times Neighbourhood, your must read property and lifestyle guide. Visit Yourneighbourhood.co.za