Meiji Japanese Cafe

105 Little Bourke Street
Phone: 9662 2899

The ramen hunt continues. I’ll keep updating the table with results as new ones come in. I stopped in here on my own to keep the dream alive.The place was pretty quiet, as it was early; pre 6pm in fact! I forgot to pack my gym shorts that morning, so went to eat instead. The irony was not lost on me. As it was so quiet, service was impeccable, if a little too attentive. And the solitary dining experience was buffered by a television up one end of the restuarant. If that wasn’t a giveaway of Chinese ownership, the staff speaking both Mandarin and Cantonese surely was! Now Chinese ownership of Japanese restaurants isn’t always a bad thing – it’s certainly rife in Melbourne – but there’s a certain un-authenticity that grates a little.

I was hungry, so I started with a mini entree of takoyaki (octopus croquette) which I have to say, surprisingly, was the best example of it I’ve tasted in Melbourne. Crispy on the outside, melty-gooey on the inside, and the right amount of sweet sauce and eerily-moving bonito flakes on top. It looks like an extremely small serve, yes, but then it’s only $3.90.

On to the main event. I had the Meiji ramen, which came with chashu, half a tea-egg, bamboo shoot, gingko nuts, snow peas and a little slice of the spirally fish cake.

The broth was good, for shoyu. Tasty, with well-rounded flavours, and complex enough to keep me going back for more. That might have been the MSG, but there wasn’t the slightly metallic twang, and I wasn’t left thirsty, so I would judge it as judicious use. The noodles themselves were pleasantly springy, and there sure were plenty of them! I think what let the dish down was the toppings. The chashu was a little on the tough side (they should have used fattier meat), and the rest of the toppings were likewise rather forgettable.

All in all, Meiji serves up a pretty decent bowl of ramen.

Broth 4
Noodle 3
Toppings 3
Total 10 / 15

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2 Replies to “Meiji Japanese Cafe”

  1. I totally know about the "eerily-moving" bonito flakes on top! Totally freaked me out when I first had agedashi tofu with same. We kept saying, "Is it alive?" "It can't be." "It is!"

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