Now, that summer is officially over, let’s talk about our favorite comfort food of the season: Ramen! I can’t start to describe how excited I am that right next door from my home in Hamburg, a new restaurant opened it’s doors beginning of October. Now, because it’s a Pop-Up Restaurant I pray every day that they eventually decide to transform into a permanent restaurant at this very much convenient location!
Because they’re set out to only be open until the end of October, you should quickly make your way over there and try the best Ramen in Hamburg right now!
THE CONCEPT AND STORY
The Lesser Panda is not a new concept. Earlier this year, the three local guys Simon, Vincent and Florian already hosted a Pop Up version of the restaurant at “Krögers kleine Schwester” in Altona. After it closed down in August it wasn’t sure what the future will bring, until they cooperated with the restaurant “Jelly Fish” and moved into the small and cozy restaurant “Pure Sea” at Grindelhof.
For starters you can choose between an umami Tartar with Yuzu flavors served with a poached egg and homemade umami salt or a grilled cheese sandwich with slow cooked pork belly, pickled mushrooms and Shiitake-miso mayonnaise. Although I’m not sure you can actually have that sandwich first and then finish a bowl of Ramen – so you s should probably order it as a main dish! The third item is a more creative approach of fried Dim-Sum: served deconstructed in a bowl and very tasty!
For all Ramen lovers there are four choices on the menu: Hatcho Miso, Spicy Miso, Umami Shio Shoyu and a vegan Shiitake Dashi Ramen. All of them are served in a tasty broth, well balanced by hearty flavors and pickled Kimchi, Ramen noodles firm to the bite, cooked to the point of perfection! Trust me, whichever you decide to order will be the right choice – they are all Umami Bombs! Another dish I have yet to try is the creamy butter cheese Mazemen, which unfortunately was spontaneously taken off the menu when I was there last time. The Chef explained that he simply wasn’t happy with the delivery of ingredients that day.
ORGANIC AND LOCAL
What’s more important and what I really love about this place is that Chef Florian Ridder really cares about the quality of ingredients that go into his creations. After returning from two years in Singapur and having previously worked at three starred restaurants, he has learned from fine dining chefs and used the time off this summer to step up his Ramen game and improve his resources for the best and freshest produce available. So all meats, the beef for the tartar and the pork belly for the Ramen, come from the local organic butcher shop “Fricke”. The bread fort he sandwich from well-known bakery “Gaues” and the chickens for the broth and the eggs come from the organic farm “Bauckhof”, all just a few kilometers away! That’s no insider knowledge, The Lesser Panda proudly names it’s suppliers on the menu.
I’ve realized that more and more restaurants (outside of the fine dining scene) put greater value to this practice. We, at The Better Places are very happy about this development and have set up a new category here on our blog, namely “Love for Locals” and hope to tell you about more places like The Lesser Panda around the world very soon.
Right now, they are set out to close by the end of October, we’ll inform you guys as soon as they found a permanent spot in the city! For now, hurry to get a table at their Pop Up!
The Lesser Panda Pop-Up @Pure Sea
Pictures: The Lesser Panda Ramen, Jessie Schoeller