Long ago, before the so-called “ramen boom,” there was a popular tonkotsu ramen shop in Harajuku called Basaraka. That shop no longer exists today, but it is what gave birth to Bassanova more than ten plus years ago. Bassanova also began as a tonkotsu ramen shop, serving nothing but the Tondaku Soba (100% tonkotsu) that you see on the menu today. It was originally supposed to carry on the Basaraka name, but some dude in Kyushu stole it and registered it inappropriately. I won’t get into the legal proceedings that followed, but the owner in the end just decided to entwine the name Basaraka with one of his favorite musical styles–Bossa Nova. So for those who keep asking me about its misspelling, that is why it is spelled Bassanova.
Bassanova also began as a collaboration of sorts. It was an experiment that brought together several up-and-coming ramen chefs of that time and allowed them to have a stage to show their work. Most notably was the team from Jiraigen. It was this Basaraka + Jiraigen collabo that married Basaraka’s tonkotsu with Jiraigen’s wadashi to form the Tondaku Wadashi Soba–the most popular ramen on the menu. But after a few years, this collabo had a falling out. I’m not aware of all the details, but the team from Jiraigen left and opened up their own shop just a few miles down the road. So if you were wondering what lied beneath the black marker on all the posters lining the walls…yup, it used to say Jiraigen.
Now you must be wondering how the Green Curry Soba and the Tom Yum Soba came into the picture. Well let me tell you. Back in the early days, Bassanova used to function as a cafe during the day and ramen-ya at night. The cafe was mostly geared towards women, serving cake, coffee and tea, and light food items. Then one day, a chef from Thailand was hired to overhaul the lunch menu. He brought with him several recipes that included green curry rice and tom yum soup. Although the cafe is no longer open, I bet you know where this story leads. Yup! The ambitious crew of ramen chefs became intrigued and instantly began marrying the green curry and tom yum with the wadashi soup. After several years of experimentation, the Green Curry Soba and the Tom Yum Soba have become the ramen that they are today.
Over the years, Bassanova has also seen its fair share of ramen chefs come and go. Each vowed to preserve and protect its ramen until they could pass it on to their successor. There have been several times where Bassanova was on the verge of closing because this successor could not be found. But in each instance, someone emerged who said that they would step up and continue its legacy. Today, I am that person. And I have vowed to continue the Bassanova legacy until I can pass it on to my successor. Are you interested?