Melbourne is saturated with Japanese restaurants and one of things I can't get over is that Melbourne doesn't seem to do ramen so well. Ramen is the epitome of Japan's quick and affordable go-to comfort meal and the variety in Japan can differ not only from region to region, but even from one store to another next door. Little Ramen Bar has opened quietly on Little Bourke Street and the adoration for ramen has already attracted a crowd hoping to find Melbourne's best new ramen. Little Ramen Bar is a tiny spot, catering for 30 hungry diners and having just been opened for a couple of weeks, they are cash only and unlicensed for now. Both of which they seek to rectify as soon as possible - the liquor license should hopefully be coming in sometime this week; Mr A and I both agreed that a beer would have totally hit the spot with the ramen.
To eliminate any confusion, they have a 'Ramen Guide' to explain all the varieties and walk you through their menu.
Although ramen is a meal in itself, gyoza are typically served as a side dish so we couldn't pass up trying Little Ramen Bar's dumplings. Dipping them in vinegar, the house-made gyozas are one of the best I have sampled. I don't usually rate Japanese dumplings (the Chinese do them so well) but these gyozas were juicy and plump with a well-seasoned pork mince.
Mr A liked the tonkotsu broth which was full of umami goodness and was not too heavy from simmering the pork bones over 10 hours to produce the rich and creamy broth. The pork slices were tender and all the other ingredients made for a good classic bowl of ramen.
I went for something different and opted for the crowd favourite, the miso ramen. The rich, salty miso broth enveloped the bouncy and chewy noodles. I was slightly dubious in regards to the chopped cabbage but they actually played well against the saltiness of the broth. The only minuscule let down of our meal were the 'gooey eggs' - which weren't all that gooey and un-marinated like they typically are so they did not absorb a salty, sweet flavour. There is an option to add spice to the miso broth which I neglected to take notice of until afterwards but would have appreciated a mild spiciness to it.
Gooey, marinated eggs next time please! This is the only improvement I'd ask for.
Little Ramen Bar are serving up some nice bowls of ramen with a wide variety and topping options. They even offer a 'Godzilla' size bowl (extra $3) for those up for the challenge of consuming copious amounts of ramen. Do I believe it's the best ramen in Melbourne? Yes, it possibly could be as it is definitely one of the best we've had so far, so make your way down here and check it out for yourself. Best to check their Facebook account as I know they will be having Sapporo beer on tap and thus, will be offering a celebratory promotion. Ramen, gyoza and beer - what a fantastic combination!
Will I return? Yes, best spot for ramen so far on our search.
Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9670 5558
Everyday 12pm - 2pm & 6pm - 8pm