Neko Bento & ramen
Neko Bento & ramen is a Japanese restaurant with Chinese influences owned by Mr. Chen Zhuo (for friends, Marco) located a few steps from Duomo and which has opened a few days ago.
The restaurant, although very small (it has in fact taken the place of a bubble tea corner), is well-kept and with pleasant decorations, such as the spectacular (and fake) luxuriant sakura tree. You can sit at the tables or have your meal at the counter, but I do not recommend this option because in my opinion the seat is very uncomfortable.
The staff is polite and even if it is clearly a beginner, it is committed to satisfying and pampering customers.
The menu offers a series of bento (chicken, tempura, salmon and tuna in sashimi, unagi and wagyu), ramen (tonkotsu, spicy, tempura, white, black, red), various side dishes (including korokke , yakitori, takoyaki or tempura), sukiyaki, wagyu and dumplings.
Among the proposals I tried ramen (optional as a set that includes a ramen, an appetizer that changes daily, three chicken or vegetable dumplings and water). I chose the classic tonkotsu ramen: the bowl looks good (with the exception of the egg, a little overcooked and not very marinated, and the menma). The broth is very light and totally lacking in flavor, the noodles are very thin, while the meat is pleasant. Definitely a dish that can be improved and not totally to be demolished.
As accompaniments were served plates with mixed salad dressed with a vinegar sauce, wakame seaweed and diced salmon with spicy mayonnaise (a choice that I did not understand and that brought me back to the all you can eat). The chicken dumplings included in the set are those that you buy frozen, but still cooked well, crunchy at the base.
The takoyaki are eight pieces, hot and pleasant.
The unagi don is very abundant: it is served with two fillets cut into strips on a bed of rice.
Before finishing, I was offered a glass of sparkling peach saké (by the way, the choice of sake is quite wide here) and a portion of wagyu meat topped with kizami wasabi on the side: the slices of meat are very thin and quite fat (in the sense that many pieces still have some fat attached), but good and tasty.
How was my experience then? It is not a restaurant I would return to shortly as it clearly needs heavy running in.
Finding a good Asian restaurant in Duomo area on a budget is really difficult: Neko Bento & ramen tries to meet this need but there is no doubt that it has to work a lot.
If you want to try it, I recommend it for a quick lunch: the portions are important and the prices are very low given the type of food and the location of the restaurant.
📍 Via Giuseppe Mazzini 20, Milan