RO, Baixa, Porto
So first things first: RO wasn’t my first choice for lunch. That was Cervejaria Brasão Aliados just down the same road, which has thousands of glowing reviews. That restaurant offers traditional Portuguese cuisine and would have made a lot of sense for my first time in Portugal. But the wait was too long or they weren’t taking tables (I forget which one), so because I can’t be arsed looking again – I hopped along to RO for some ramen.
RO-eady for it?
Naturally Porto isn’t known for its ramen and there’s only two restaurants that serve it (at last count). Apparently RO is the better of the two. This was a mealtime driven out of utility rather than finding or expecting anything mega spectacular. The restaurant is quieter so there wasn’t any issues finding a table and getting seated. Service was friendly and prompt. I’m seated on the bar so the drinks and noodles bounce over to my line of sight.
RO isn’t just a ramen joint, there are also donburi and a number of sides. Quite a bit on offer (perhaps too much): there’s meals just for kids, broth-less ramen, desserts, okonomayaki and ice-cream.
I went for the tonkotsu at 12€ which seems a touch bit pricey relative to other meals I had in Porto. The preparation is right before you eyes, and quick. I like the enticing wafts of the pork belly being grilled nearby.
And then the bowl is here. The broth was the main letdown of the ramen – there’s this layer of skin on the top which isn’t great and the broth itself is lacking a lot of flavour. The noodles, egg and meat components are otherwise all fine – but a ramen meal is largely about the soup and whatever comes around it is a bonus. So RO is fine for a meal to get you through, but not a ramen I’ll be remembering.