Tucked away on the backstreet of Jaselská between the Faculty of Social Sciences and Faculty of Arts is cozy little café Panksy. An unassuming kavárna in an unassuming location, Panksy feels like a neighborhood spot. The kind of place you’d frequent on lazy weekends to get your java fix or for a simple brunch. Or maybe just to while away a few hours with a good book and pot of tea.
Or so I imagine would be the case if I lived in the neighborhood. But I don’t. No, I’m not here on just any other day. It is the weekend, but not your normal Saturday. That’s cause it’s sobotní ramen day. One Saturday a month Panksy hosts this special event when the café opens its kitchen to two hardcore ramen geeks, Anet and Zuzka, who serve up their homemade take on this Japanese noodle soup.
If for you the word ramen conjures up visions of single-serving instant noodles in plastic packaging, forget what you thought you knew. This is the real deal, the cause of recent foodie crazes in many a Western metropolis, from Berlin to New York City. And now we too have it here in the Moravian capital.
The type of ramen served at sobotní ramen may vary each time at the whim of the chefs. Most recently, with the temperatures outside dropping they decided for my personal favorite, tonkotsu ramen. The key element distinguishing tonkotsu from other ramens is its broth, made rich and almost milky by stewing pork bones for many an hour.
Completing the dish are freshly made ramen noodles, chashu pork, shoyu egg, nori seaweed, and other toppings. On my recent visit these included spring onions and marinated wood ear mushrooms. It really is a perfect dish. Pure umami in a bowl. My death-row meal. Every single element contributes beautifully to this delicious dish.
If ramen isn’t your thing, Panksy also has a regular menu focusing on crepes and galettes. I’ve had some of the savory pancakes on a few occasions and never been disappointed. The menu also boasts a nice drink list, with wines by the glass and Slavkov 10o and 12o. So if you are just looking for a simple meal and a cuppa, Panksy is worth a try.
Because it’s a movable feast, if you have a hankering for some ramen be sure to follow the café on Facebook to stay in the loop. Although the ramen craze hasn’t really caught on in Brno yet, when the only game in town is this good it doesn’t matter.