This takes me to Kokoro Ramen. This ramen shop opened up recently on the corner of Victoria and 49th. I’ve been here twice as of writing this post – once a week or two after they opened and once again about a month after they opened. It’s difficult to write posts about places that are newly opened, as they should have the majority of kinks out of the way, but may still have some hiccups. Kokoro Ramen it seems are open to public feedback and I think that’s really important for a restaurant.
Kokoro Ramen focuses on fresh ingredients and healthy ramen. You’ll find your favourite miso and shoyu ramens here, so no worries no that. But for the health conscious, there are some great items on the menu- including control over the saltiness. They still have a couple ramen bowls on the menu that they have yet to release (including a salmon one), so I’d love to come back to try that one.
My first experience at Kokoro Ramen was much like many other ramen shops – busy! We waited for a little bit because we had a bigger group, but we managed to sit down and order. The ramen bowls are priced pretty similarly to many other places in the city ($12ish a bowl). They have items you can add on the side including karaage, sashimi and salad.
I ordered the Miso Ramen which includes pork chashu, napa cabbage, green onion, bamboo shoots and seaweed. Miso broths tend to be a bit on the saltier side, but I found it to be a bit too salty for my tastes. The chashu was good, it had a nice light smoky taste to it and was on the fatty side (which I like). The soy egg was a little overcooked for my liking. I felt that the ramen noodles were cooked perfectly (al dente!). The broth like I mentioned before was a bit on the saltier side and a bit thin.
The sides that came with the ramen range in price, which are a little on the pricier side. I think for the sashimi/seafood salad, it would be great to brighten the fish up with some citrus flavours.
Our chicken was ok, but I felt the breading was uneven and a bit undercooked in some areas.
NOW we can fast forward to my recent experience – which is a world of difference. And why if you’re going to visit a new restaurant, give it two chances or come after one month.
I ordered the Tonkotsu Shoyu ramen which is typically a rich tonkotsu pork broth. Here they serve it with pork chashu, bamboo shoots, minced onions, green onions and seaweed on the side (you can also get it with or without the egg). As you can see in the photo, their egg is significantly better – perfect for the ramen. I think the soy egg itself could have a bit more soy flavour to it, but I’m glad they have the inside of the egg down pat.
The chashu still has that nice smoky flavour and fattiness that I enjoyed. The ramen noodles are al dente and the broth is better – less salty, a bit more heartiness and smoke to it which is good. I added fried garlic to my ramen, but I felt that they didn’t give enough to warrant the $1 addition.
The chicken karaage was much crispier and breaded better this time, also piping hot and enjoyable.
While they still have a bit more to go to stabilize the consistency of their bowls of ramen, it’s looking very hopeful and I do want to come back and try their other ramen bowls when they are available. For a place that isn’t located downtown, it’s still a solid choice and I would take it over many of the other non-downtown ramen places that isn’t a chain.