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Thursday, 27 September 2012
157 Lonsdale Street Melbourne, VIC3000
Another candidate for the perfect ramen appears. I wasn’t the only one
supremely excited about the opening of Kokoro
Ramen, another restaurant determined to bring the ‘true’ noodle dish
from the land of the rising sun. Within half a year of opening, a good couple dozen of reviews have popped up around the blogosphere with some very
polarised views. Hence my delayed visit. But cravings be cravings, and after 3
weeks of my appetite being AWOL, any craving shall be sated without delay.
Hungry for a bowl of noodles
like a crack addict for their next hit, we arrived at Kokoro Ramen just after
5pm, finding ourselves in a mostly empty restaurant. I have to say I really
liked the decor; the wood panelling, dangling lights, and happy hour posters
really gave off a homely izakaya feel. There was even a winter special of
charcoal-grilled skewers, but ramen cravings, remember?
Butter and Corn Ramen in Tonkotsu and Miso Broth ($14.5)
Having heard some good reviews,
I ordered a dish that I normally wouldn’t – the Butter and Corn Ramen in Tonkotsu and Miso Broth ($14.5).
The broth was rich and thick from the butter melted in, and whilst it’s faint,
the porkiness is definitely there. The toppings were unremarkable, but props to
my favourite menma being one of them. Unfortunately the corn and butter didn’t
add much intrigue to the dish, and a bit more spiciness would have been good.
Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen ($10.5)
Sticking to the safe and
predictable (as usual), Chris went for the Tonkotsu
Shoyu Ramen ($10.5), a simple noodle dish in a clear broth of chicken,
pork and shoyu. Unlike my ramen, the soup is a lot lighter in this one, with
the chicken flavour taking center stage instead. It is a pleasant, but wholly
unremarkable bowl of noodles that I probably would have enjoyed less had I not
been craving them.
Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen ($10.5)
One thing that did catch my
attention though was the noodles they used in the ramen. Instead of the curly
and yellow Tokyo-styled noodles that I know and love, they used the straight,
thin Hakata styled ones instead. I’m sure some people prefer them this way, but
I just can’t get over the loss of springiness and that uniquely addictive taste
from the alkali mineral water.
Kokoro Ramen is just ok. We
enjoyed the meal but it was nothing to write home about. The prices were also a
bit on the high end without the quality or portion size to match; I polished
off my entire bowl with ease, soup included. I left with my craving satisfied,
but I probably wouldn’t come back unless I was craving another bowl of
predictably boring noodles. On second thoughts, maybe I’ll just go to RamenYa. $15 would get me a bowl of springy yellow noodles AND a plate of gyoza and
green tea on the side.