Little Ramen Bar

346 Little Bourke St, Melbourne 3000
Date visited: 20th April 2013

Little Ramen Bar is another ramen joint that has opened only recently in the CBD.  This was a rare occasion when MerlinFan spotted a new restaurant in passing (last weekend, to be exact), eagerly researched it and suggested that we paid it a visit.

MerlinFan, AJ, AS and I headed down just after 12.30pm and there was already a short line outside.  The popularity of this place speaks a lot, considering it had only opened not long ago.  Word about new food joints sure travel fast.

The staff were rather efficient.  I liked how they gave us the menu whilst we were waiting in line - all the ramen choices sounded good so it took us a while make a decision.  It was also handy to have a little note that informed us which ramen could be served quickly and which ones would take longer.

They had a nice range of ramen, extra toppings as well as drinks including alcohol.

It was a little wait (in the cold too =C) but we finally got a table of four.  Now, the interior was tiny, with only a row of tables set very closely together, and a few other high tables with tall stools.  We had the table right at the back in front of the counter so it was nicely warm, but I can imagine the draft from the open door if you were sitting at the tables in front.

Cosy nook right inside
MerlinFan and I got a Ramune, which was a japanese style lemonade in a marble bottle.  I remember having this before.  It is known for its distinctly designed glass bottle which is sealed with a marble.  Basically push the little plastic bit out from the top of the cap and use it as a tool to push the 'marble' down from the tight blue cap.  And walah, you have a rattling marble ball in the neck of the bottle when you're drinking.  Because we were sitting on one of the high tables, it was hard to get leverage to push down the marble so I had to do it on my lap.  It exploded and the fizzy drink bubbled up everywhere but luckily none of it got on me and I avoided looking as though I had an accident XP
Ramune (grape flavoured) $4
Our ramen came not too long after our orders were put in.  MerlinFan and I love our gooey eggs, so we both tried the Chashu Tamago.  This was basically the Tonkotsu Ramen with extra slices of BBQ pork and a gooey soft-boiled egg.

Chashu Tamago (shio) $12.90

With the Chashu Tamago, it came with Shio (light salt base) Tonkotsu broth which I had. You could request for it with shoyu (special soy sauce) or miso (soybean).  MerlinFan asked for miso but I think the waitress heard wrong, for it came to her in a shoyu base.
Chashu tamago (shoyu) $12.90
The soup was rich and deep in flavour, and as with most tonkotsu broths, got saltier the more you slurped it.  The tonkotsu broths tasted similar, although the Shio had more of a seafoody flavour compared to the Shoyu base which I think was made from soy and chicken.  There was a good amount of seaweed, bamboo shoots and spring onion.  The noodles were nicely done with just the slightest bite to it.  I liked the half-done egg, however it didn't taste as though it was seasoned, rather just like a regular gooey egg.  I would have to say I prefer DonToo's version of marinated egg.  The BBQ pork was paper thin and melt-in-your-mouth with a nice flavour.  I think MerlinFan and my dishes had mostly pork belly slices because although juicy, it was extremely fatty which did make me shudder a bit.  Now, some people may love the fattier cha shu but it's personal preference, I never liked the gelatinous texture of the fat nor the health implications of eating it straight up, but each to their own.

AS had the Shoyu Ramen.
Shoyu ramen $10.90
This was their special Tokyo-style soy and clear chicken broth topped off with bean sprouts, seaweed, bamboo shoots, spring onion, BBQ pork and a happy fish cake slice.  AS just commented that it was very salty but otherwise no complaints and she finished it.  I tried some of her broth and I felt it didn't quite have the depth of flavour as the tonkotsu.

AJ had the Classic Tonkotsu Ramen which was seaweed, bamboo shoots, spring onion and BBQ pork in their original tonkotsu soup, which was cooked over 10 hours to extract that rich porky goodness.  You could choose from the 3 varieties, shoyu, miso and shio.  AJ chose the Shoyu.  

Classic Tonkotsu Ramen $9.90
AJ finished it too, so I assumed she was happy with it.  (BTW apologise for wonky dodgy photo - we were waiting a while and everyone was eager to dig in although I did try to take photos of their food before mine!)

Overall impression was good.  With nicely flavoured broths and bouncy noodles in adequate amounts, I would have to say pretty good value for your money and a nice joint to have a comforting hot bowl of ramen on those chilly winter days.  

Little Ramen Bar on Urbanspoon

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