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Beat’s Guide to Melbourne’s best winter dishes

Slurp in. 

Melbourne's got a consummate array of laksas, phos, ramens and western broths on full display, and punters are truly spoilt for choice. As winter swarms our conscience, it’s time we dissected the best soups this city has to offer. 
 
Moroccan Soup Bar
 
There aren’t many places in Melbourne where you can get a real sense of the Moroccan cuisine close to its heart, but the pioneering Moroccan Soup Bar has vanquished all North African vacancies with its stellar, innovative design. Located a few steps down from the famous Piedimonte’s supermarket, the restaurant’s prime attraction is its verbal menu, where you don’t read but listen to your dining choices.
 
183 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North
 
Little Ramen Bar
 
Tucked away down Little Bourke Street is the aptly named Little Ramen Bar, which is small in stature but grand in imagination. Ramen begins with a broth, which at Little Ramen Bar, starts its journey at 5am each day. The slowly prepared stew then funnels in all directions as every other ingredient is constructed. A methodical process, Little Ramen Bar finally ends with a stellar range of creations, from your classic ramen, to miso, seafood and beyond.
 
5/346 Little Bourke St, CBD
 
Laksa King
 
Night after night, Flemington’s Laksa King is drenched with clientele. Since 1998, the Malaysian restaurant has been pushing the boundaries of its traditional identity and the menu has grown and grown to become quite the behemoth it is today. When it comes to soups, you have to try the roasted duck curry laksa while the har mee brings you right in line with true Malaysian dining.
 
6-12 Pin Oak Cres, Flemington
 
Shop Ramen
 
What started out as a pop-up has mutated into a fully-fledged, bumping restaurant. Shop Ramen has found its home in Collingwood and owners Pat Breen and Lydia Wegner are onto something exciting. The restaurant’s chic and simple design has punters flocking and its tonkotsu ramen has guests clinging to the chairs -- no one wants to leave. New favourite.      
 
329 Smith St, Fitzroy
 
Hakata Gensuke
 
Hakata Gensuke has become somewhat of a ramen institution in Melbourne. With four locations, and another in Western Australia, it’s safe to say restaurant executive operating officer, Sean Tan, is onto a good thing. In contrast to Laksa King, Hakata Gensuke bears just four primary menu options -- a signature, black and shio tonkotsu, with the spicy God Fire to go on top.
 
Four locations: 168 Russell St, CBD; Shop 4, 860 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn; Westfield Doncaster and 200 Lonsdale St, CBD
 
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar
 
A stalwart on Melbourne’s restaurant scene, Bourke Street’s Pellegrini’s has been a crucial to the city’s Italian identity. Every dish is a classic and never veers to far from a traditional spaghetti bolognese or lasagne, however there is a delicious minestrone. You’ll probably have to ask for it though as the menu isn’t finite.
 
66 Bourke St, CBD
 
Neko Neko
 
If you love cats, why not name your restaurant after them. That’s exactly what co-owner Saori Kawasaki did when she established her ramen canteen Neko Neko, the Japanese translation of a feline. This is your perfect lunchtime pitstop -- grab a few of your colleagues and jump on down to Neko Neko because you won’t be disappointed. Apparently, the broth includes 20 ingredients. Enough said.
 
83A Smith St, Fitzroy

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