Dosukoi was the first ramen place I tried after being introduced to ramen at Arigataya. Back then, the quality of Arigataya's miso ramen was near untouchable, but Dosukoi's version was a close second favourite. Located in a tiny shop in the historic Fremantle Markets, the market's unfortunately odd opening hours meant getting my Fremantle ramen fix was limited to breakfast and lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with Friday night being the only option for a ramen dinner. Given these limited opening hours, I always made it a point to have a massively chillied-up bowl of Dosukoi's ramen as pre-gig ritual to help clear the sinuses before performing with my band.
For over a year, my proximity to Kai and their excellent tonkotsu ramen has meant I've not found much need to head down to Fremantle for a bowl, and the Monday to Friday lunch opening hours of Dosukoi's Perth store is even more inconvenient for someone such as myself who doesn't work in the CBD. However, given that it was my birthday weekend and I could pick whatever I wanted for Sunday brunch, I decided to visit Dosukoi Fremantle again - the only place in Perth that I can think of where ramen can be a breakfast food.
Dosukoi's ramen menu is fairly simple - a choice of three broths (Soy, Miso and Salt), and an assortment of various toppings, ranging from fresh leek to slices of chashu or karaage. The prices have slowly been creeping up, but with nothing over $10 Dosukoi are still a Cheap Eat and great value for money. Given the low price and the esteem they are held in, getting a seat at Dosukoi can be a real challenge at peak times. Thankfully, Dosukoi use a clever system of taking your order and your phone number, with an SMS sent to you your phone when the meal is ready. Thankfully we came early enough to avoid much of a queue, but any system that prevents people from having to hang around in a long queue is commendable.
Seeing Karaage available as a side dish, Alissa and I decided to go with a serve of the good old Japanese fried chicken to start with so we could effectively try three different toppings with our meal. Dosukoi's Karaage was very good, with that trademark gingery kick, crunchy fried coating and succulent, juicy chicken meat. It was definitely better than the usual food court Japanese, and while it may not have been as amazing as the refined style served at Jun in Perth, I would compare it favourably to the style and quality of Karaage served at Kai.
But of course the main event at Dosukoi is the ramen. My choice was the classic Miso Ramen topped with Chashu while Alissa went with the Miso Ramen with Prawn Dumplings (Gyoza). When we visited Arigataya earlier this year, I was disappointed to find that their standards had slipped since the last time I had dined there. Dosukoi's Miso on the other hand tasted better; if anything it tasted a lot like how I remember Arigataya tasting back in the days before them became the New Arigataya. The Miso broth had that distinctively sweet, salty and umami-rich flavour, and the noodles were nicely cooked with the right amount of firmness. There is a reason why Dosukoi are well regarded amongst Perth's ramen joints, and as far as a miso ramen goes this and Nao's version are on near equal footing as the best I've tried in Perth. All things considered however, Alissa and I felt that we've definitely become converts to the porky ways of tonkotsu ramen; there is something that is just magical about a collogen and umami-rich tonkotsu broth that no other ramen broth we've tried can quite equal, for our tastes at least.
Of the toppings, I preferred the chashu slices over Alissa's prawn gyoza. These thinly sliced piece of pork had that delicious melt in your mouth unctuousness I expect in good chashu, and they were definitely better than the chashu served at Kai. The gyoza on the other hand were a little disappointing, as the prawns had been minced into a fishball-like paste, and when cooked resembled the springy texture of Yong Tau Foo instead of the more juicy texture I was kind of expecting. I've definitely had better, and prefer the pork gyoza I've had at Kai and Kokoro Ramen in Melbourne.
The Verdict: Very Good
As someone who is not big on uninventive cafe breakfast food, the ability to start the weekend with a delicious bowl of ramen is a massive plus for me. Dosukoi do miso ramen really well, and I'm interested to know if the opening of their Perth store had any role in what I perceived as an improvement of their broth; they've certainly overtaken Arigataya in this regard. Still, just as I'm devoted to ramen noodles ahead of all other Japanese noodles, I have to admit that tonkotsu is the broth that has my heart, and since dinner is the time I'm most free to get my ramen fix, the convenience and tonkotsu broth of Kai trumps Dosukoi in my book.