• From a disappointing lunch to a satisfying dessert: Ramen Ya and Koko Black

I felt obliged to try Ramen Ya.  With so many positive reviews, I felt it was my responsibility as a blogger to taste its raved-about food.  Let’s just say that popularity does not equal quality, and that none of the reviewers could have been vegetarian.  At least I know there is still a place for Nouveau Potato.


There are two vegetarian options on the menu: tofu salad (which is more of a snack than a meal) and vegetarian fried rice.  Note the use of the word vegetarian rather than vegetable – there were none of the latter except in condiment form, spring onions and pickled radish.


The meal came out reasonably quickly on a wooden tray in a small bowl.  Usually I would have thought the sizing too small, but when I tasted it, I was glad it was not bigger.  The rice was salty.  Served with pickled radish, spring onions and seaweed, the flavours did not blend well.  A cold, hard, half egg went with it.  I was hungry and forced myself to finish it, but was thinking about which chocolate shop to visit afterwards to get rid of the taste.

The lady who kindly let me share a table with her (who had also ordered the vegetarian fried rice) left with her bowl half full and commented on it being too salty.

The only things I liked about this restaurant were the origami papers and instructions used as business cards, and the selection of Japanese soft drinks.

Luckily Koko Black was not far away.  The lady at the counter sympathetically took my order as if she knew I needed a strong dose of quality chocolate.  I ordered the chocolate mousse and asked for it takeaway.

The chocolate mousse was incredibly rich.  Served with glossy dark chocolate swirls, milk chocolate curls and praline sprinklings it was decadence that not even I could finish.  Luckily, I ordered takeaway so I could enjoy it at my desk for the rest of the afternoon with a peppermint tea.

When Koko Black first opened on Lygon Street, my friend and I  would go there weekly in uni breaks and share a Belgian Spoil.  It was our treat and committed date to see each other.

I like Koko Black more than some of Melbourne’s other chocolate houses for its focus on darker (rather than milk) chocolate.  The setting is also lovely.  The only problem is that it closes early in the evenings, even before dessert time.



The details:
Ramen Ya
Shop 25G
Melbourne GPO
350 Bourke St
Melbourne 3000
03 9654 5838
Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

Koko Black
335 Bourke St, Royal Arcade
Melbourne 3000
03 9639 8911
Koko Black on Urbanspoon

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