Thursday, October 2, 2014

Little Ramen Bar, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Having enjoyed my first proper ramen at Shizuku Ramen in Abbotsford, I was keen to eat more ramen.  The Little Ramen Bar is indeed little and has an impressive, fairly constant queue of diners waiting to get their ramen fix. The four of us were seated at a high table that would, in other less cramped places, fit two people.  Arriving just before 12pm meant that we only had to wait one minute for our table. 

We got a serve of gyozas to share while we waited for our ramen.  Nicely pan fried but nothing exceptional.

Messieurs P and A both got the spicy miso ramen, with Mr A getting the extra spicy version.  The ramen came with slow-cooked pork soup, minced pork and mixed veg, and was topped with a slice of BBQ pork, spring onion and roasted sesame seeds.  They seemed to like it.  Mr A enjoyed the spicy kick of the broth, and we all learnt from him that the hot, spicy broth is really good at clearing blocked sinuses…tmi!

Mr G went for the soup-less ramen option, Kazu's Abu ramen.  A bowl of ramen noodles, sans soup, w spring onion, seaweed, bamboo shoots, three slices of BBQ pork and seasoned egg.   As Mr G wasn’t terribly keen on having ramen for lunch he tolerated the meal – he didn’t hate it but he didn’t seem too enthused about it either.  With the absence of the soup, the ramen looked underwhelming.

I went for the gluten-free Shoyu ramen.  I was pleased that they offered gluten-free noodles free of charge.  So I was wondering what gluten-free ramen would be like.  However, I soon found out that there ain’t gluten-free ramen.  Instead, I got rice vermicelli noodles instead.  Ordinarily, I love rice vermicelli noodles, however, they don’t make for a proper ramen experience – it felt wrong.  It felt like I was eating a weird fusion of Vietnamese/Japanese noodle dish. 

The soy and chicken broth was okay – definitely not as deep and savoury as the one at Shizuku Ramen – but adequate.  It came with a single slice of pork (dry and a bit bland), beansprouts, seaweed, bamboo shoots, spring onions and a happy fish cake slice. 

A long queue of people lining up for ramen, but you won't find me in that queue ever again...

Food – 6
Ambience – 7
Service – 7
Price – 6.5

Mixed thoughts on LRB.  Mr G and I weren’t that impressed while Messieurs P and A thought it was reasonable.  For what you get, the prices are a bit more expensive than other places.  I wasn’t impressed with the single sliver of bland pork and had hoped for the broth to be deeper and more complex in flavour. 

Definitely don’t see what the fuss is about this place – certainly not worth lining up for, in my opinion.  With Hakata Gensuke Ramen now open in the city, I’d much rather go there for my ramen fix. Also have a gander at Big Fil's review back in Sept 2013.

Little Ramen Bar
346 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne 3000
Tel: (03) 9670 5558

Little Ramen Bar on Urbanspoon

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