IF you’re like me, you’ve walked past the entrance to McLean Lane – the alleyway linking Murray and King Streets – many times without venturing in.
You know the one – Santorini-blue paint, colourful hanging lamps.
For me, it has always held the promise of magic. Perhaps I have avoided it for fear it would not yield the talking toads and umbrella-toting rabbits I demanded.
Having finally made the journey into the Lane, I can say that although no magical critters presented themselves, I didn’t leave disappointed. I left with a belly full of udon from Hifumiya.
With terms like corporate culture and consumer culture being tossed around like hot tempura potatoes, here’s one I don’t think we hear enough of – udon culture.
At Hifumiya, which opened in 2018, udon culture is about using natural materials to create comfortable spaces, treating employees like family, and paying homage to owner Daisuke Hiramatsu’s hometown of Kurashiki in Japan.
It’s about bonji tettei: “doing small common things thoroughly leads to extraordinary results.”
This attention to detail is present throughout a menu that emphasises balance.
The dried fish broth (iriko-dashi), produced in Japan according to Hifumiya’s own recipe, balances smoothness and depth. The noodles, handmade in-house, achieve what Mr Hiramatsu calls koshi. He claims this means the perfect balance of chewiness and softness, but according to my experience of Hifumiya’s noodles, something has koshi if you want to fall asleep in a giant bowl of it.
I ordered the spicy miso pork udon ($13.80) and the TKG donburi ($3.90), a delightfully oceany little rice bowl.
My partner got the beef curry udon ($12.80) and the cold pork kimchi udon special ($13.80).
All contained a variety of flavour and colour, allowing for a fresh chopstick-load each time.
The noodles were the standout, and disappeared comfortably before the broth did, leading to a lot of enthusiastic slurping.
100-104 Murray St, Perth