I had originally made a reservation at another restaurant for dinner, however we did not make that reservation as we had spent more time out in Wanaka and both Mr Wasabi and I were not feeling awfully hungry and only wanted something light for dinner.
We both came to an agreement to have some simple Japanese, However would I ever pass the opportunity to have Japanese? No. and it defintiely would not be simple, as Japanese and French are my two favourite cuisines.
I recall walking past Daruma the day before and noticed they do ramen which was relatively cheap.
I had called up earlier to ask what time their kitchen would close, and was told that they would be closing around 9.30-9.45pm. We made it back into Queenstown at 9pm and headed straight to Daruma.
Daruma was exactly as its name sake – a Sake Bar where most of the patrons was anything other than Japanese. I did feel a bit relived that the staff were Japanese except one, which was Chinese.
Daruma offers a few daily specials and a good selection of sake, beers and cocktails. Mr Wasabi took charge and ordered a few dishes that he wanted, while I ordered a bowl of ramen for myself.
Lychee Chuhai – could not taste the alcohol as much but could definitely taste the lychee flavour which tasted like the syrup that you get in a tin of lychees with a large ball of ice.
Beef Tataki – You can clearly see the beef tataki here has been frozen just by looking at the colour of the beef. Not the best beef tataki that I have had, as it was a bit chewy in some places.
Ribeye Kushiyaki – the kushiyaki were cooked over gas instead of coal, so the meats did not have that smokey flavour that you would expect for yakitori sticks. The beef was fairly chewy as I was struggling to take a bite from one of the beef ribeye the sauce that was drizzled over top of the beef was very sweet with a hint of ginger.
Tuna Kushiyaki – nicely seared on the outside leaving the middle fairly rare. The tuna was served with a drizzling of teriyaki sauce
Mixed Sashimi – Fresh Salmon, Tuna and Scallops made up the mixed sashimi. Each piece was cut very thick, the salmon was espeically large which I was not compliaining about.
Ramen (classic) – broth was thick with lots of flavour, this was due to the fact that they had put in 5 tablespoos of miso paste to make the broth. When we ordered the ramen, we were asked whether we wanted eithemiso or soy broth. Mr Wasabi ordered the miso broth. The ramen noodles were thin and cooked till al dente. The downside was the charsiu which was extremely fatty. Apart from the excessive fat on the chars this dish is simple and flavoursome
Fiery Hot Ramen – same as the classic ramen with the added chillis, chilli oil and chilli flakes to make this dish ‘fiery’. The chashu was more fatty than Mr Wasabi’s dish and was served cold, which eventually warmed up in the hot broth. Good deep, rich flavours with a good spice level that you would expect when they say ‘fiery’.
Drama offers a good selection of foods which is relatively priced when compared to the other Japanese restaurants in Queenstown. This could be due to the fact that they are not located on the main pedestrian thoroughfare that tends to result in higher rent prices. If you are after some good simple ramen and perhaps a drink to go with your meal, I would suggest giving this place a try.
Location: 54 Shotover Street, Queenstown