Kokoro Ramen

157 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
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.
Rating: 12/20 – predictability in a bowl.

Kokoro Ramen on Urbanspoon

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  • Reply Christine @ Cooking Crusade 27/09/2012 at 9:58 am

    Love the interior of this place – so cute :)

    • Reply ming 30/09/2012 at 6:12 am

      It is very adorable and cosy, shame the ramen isn’t so good :(

  • Reply Catherine 28/09/2012 at 12:28 am

    I feel the same way about Kokoro Ramen, sadly I’m still yet to find a great ramen place in Melbourne :(

    • Reply ming 30/09/2012 at 6:12 am

      Have you tried the ramen and dontoo at night? I’m not sure how authentic it is but it’s my pick for best ramen in Melbourne :D

  • Reply Peach 28/09/2012 at 9:28 am

    I actually quite like kokoro ramen.. or… is it because i’m not a picky eater? :P

    • Reply ming 30/09/2012 at 6:13 am

      Hey Jan! Haha I think that’s a good thing, because it means that now you have a good place to go for ramen in Melbourne! Plus your massive bowl of noodles did look amazing

  • Reply Anonymous 29/11/2012 at 7:17 am

    I’m a ramen fan myself and one thing good about Kokoro Ramen is that they do not use MSG.. hence the lighter taste.. but the more you drink it the better it gets! :)

  • Reply Dominique 17/09/2013 at 5:32 am

    I really enjoy Ajisen Ramen…is that really unauthentic? I’ve tried other places but the flavour just wasn’t as good…

    • Reply ming 17/09/2013 at 7:40 am

      Hi Dominique, thanks for dropping by! I found that Ajisen Ramen tasted nice enough but… I just came back from Japan, and nothing beats the ramen there!

  • Reply Dominique 24/09/2013 at 12:33 am

    See I’ve never been to Japan. Maybe I should never go. Since I’ve been to Shanghai I’m picky with my Xiao long bao though!

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